Friday, 21 August 2009

Dorset feather stitchery

I was very pleased to pick up this apron in town the other day; a real find in the charity shop, for £3! More than I'd usually pay for a secondhand apron, but this one just had to come home with's very special :)
After WW2, women were encouraged to work this emroidery as a way of brightening up their clothes and lives after teh austerity of wartime. I think I'm right in saying it was done through the WI, and the woman who started it was Olivia Pass, whose book on Dorset Feather Stitchery is the classic one to buy if you're interested, and not too hard to get hold of. There's not much ifnormation on tne net as such, Google more or less just comes up with details of the book.
Yous hould ge tsome idea of the style from the photos, though - curving stitching resembling feathers, designs resembling the Paisley pattern, couching; sometimes ric rac braid was incorporated too. This one has small areas of smocking under the waistband. The ends of the gros grain ribbon ties are couched as well, such attentiont o detail, and the standard of stitching is high.
This apron is completely hand stitched as far as I can see; it's enver been used/worn, which leads me to suspect it was made for a show or exhibition, or as an illustrative piece; maybe even as an exercise in school - I suppose I'll never know, but I know I'm fortunate in that it has come into my possession, where it will be well-looked after for the future.


Bovey Belle said...

Oooh deeply envious here! That's gorgeous. But it's given me the idea of making one for myself over the winter months - a good way of practising the stitches. BB trots off to find some suitable material . . .

MoominMama said...

What a lovely find.
I actually thought it was a vest style top at first glance, a top with kind of fancy stitching would make a nice 'going out' top I think. :)

MrsL said...

MIght join you in that, BB; I haven't doen much, just little bits and pieces; to make an item would be a good winter project.

MoominMama, the embroidery was sued on clothing too - hems of skirts, bonnets, childrens' clothes etc. I'd quite like a go at using it in a modern application, wo will get my (feather-stitched LOL) thinking cap on!



Carolemc said...

What a gorgeous apron - very envious here too!


Leanne said...

ooh its lovely! well done!

Leanne x

Quilting Cat said...

If, like me, you went to school in Dorset in the 50's, then Dorset Feather Stitchery was part of your education. I love to see it in modern zingy colours but I guess traditionally is should be more muted, you have a gem there.

Jayne said...

I love this one - and its pink - my favourite!