Hand Embroidery Design for Altar Linens

Summertime is a great time for enjoying the out-of-doors, sunshine and blue skies. Today, I happen to be enjoying all of the above from a scenic vantage point in the mountains. I had been looking at a few photos before we left for Montana of some vintage embroidery designs on altar linens. And of course, that is a sure way to get thought jumping miles ahead with all sorts of possibilities.

I love hand embroidery and have not had time to work on that recently.  I like to have a little something to do when there is a bit of downtime on long road trips. While we were traveling, and the ideas were perfect, I set about with a little project to create a set of hand embroidery designs for altar linens and church vestments. It has been far too long since I have worked on new embroidery designs.

I am pleased to say there are several great designs in the works and they will all be shared at some point in time. But linens and whitework are where we will start.

The design shared today is called a scrollwork cross. The cross is a creation taken from part of the vintage embroidery designs in my collection. I love taking various vintage designs apart and putting them back together in all sorts of different ways. Sometimes the ideas work out great, and other times, they need a bit of work. This was a case where I have been pleased with the final results. This cross is similar to many vintage hand embroidery designs. I could see quite a number of embroidery stitched being employed to make it up. Satin stitch would be nice around the center diamond shape and the four dots just outside of that. The Scrollwork could be an outline or stem stitch or trailing stitch. The tiny tendrils could be back-stitched or a small stem stitch. The three clover shapes at the cross ends could be stem stitched and filled with seed stitch or satin stitched. The very center of the large diamond could also be filled with seed stitch. It would take only about 3 or 4 stitches to work this little design up.

As I look at this more, I also think about color. The usually thought would be to stitch the design all in white for use on linen. But how about mixing the colors of the whites, and including an ecru, or a very light tan? or mix in a very pale gray or blue with the white and ecru? Altar linens have not always been and do not always need to be white.

Fortunately, with many of the modern computer programs, it is easy to take a design and test out the color options before the needle even touches fabric.

You can find the Scroll Cross pattern here.

Soli Deo Gloria


Filed under: Ecclesiastical Sewing Tagged: Cross hand embroidery design, Ecclesiastcial Embroidery, Ecclesiastical Sewing, Liturgical hand embroidery pattern


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