[As my Barony’s A&S Champion, I have been asked to coordinate the making of at least 25 favors for this year’s Pennsic War. Below is my call to action for my fellow members of Cynnabar!]
Pay heed, good gentles of the Barony of Cynnabar, for we have been charged with a task by Princess Arabella. Her Highness requests that we make 25 favors for the coming war at Pennsic. The design, pictured here, symbolizes the joining of forces between the Midrealm and the East to take over Aethelmearc. To help our populace answer Her Highness’ call, I have prepared kits with the right size linen, good amounts of floss, and an embroidery needle. I also have embroidery hoops for anyone who needs one. Favor Kits will be available at the weekly business meetings starting tonight, as well as at Sunday practices and our Spring Revel. To encourage the productivity of the favors, I will reward the Cynnabar member who makes the most favors by the day of Coronation (May 2) with a hat or cap of their choosing, made by me. If you are new to embroidery, this is a simple piece and I am happy to teach you how to do it. Any straight stitch, such as outline, stem, or chain, works well. I made this first favor with an outline stitch with just one evening’s work. Please let me know are able to help by posting here, emailing me, or speaking to me at one of the above-mentioned places.
Here is the instruction sheet I am including with the favor kits: favor-kit-directions
How to Embroider the Favors
For those who are new to embroidery, here is a step-by-step photo tutorial on how to embroider these:
1. Take your kit and a pair of scissors to a comfortable spot with good light. If you don’t have a kit, check the favor-kit-directions for the list of items you need.
2. Put your material in the embroidery frame. First loosen the thumbscrew on the outer circle. Then push the inner circle out of the frame and put it under your design, centered. Then place the outer circle of the frame on top of your material, centered over the bottom circle, and push them together. Tighten the thumbscrew.
3. Take your embroidery floss and cut off a length about 18″ long. Note that you can use ALL six strands of the floss together, or you can divide the strands so that it is thinner (as shown in the photo below). I personally like how bold it looks with the full floss (all six strands) and I have NOT divided mine into fewer strands for this tutorial. You may do as you please.
4. Thread your embroidery needle, pulling about 5″ of the floss through the thread. Tie a knot at the end.
5. Now let’s learn a simple, period embroidery stitch: the Back Stitch. Hold your embroidery frame in one hand, and, with your dominant hand, push the needle up from the back of the material to the front so that it comes out on the outline of your traced pattern on the fabric (as shown in the photo below).
6. Push the needle up and out and pull the thread through the material until it is stopped by the knot.
7. Push your needle back down into the fabric about 1/8″1-/4″ away.
8. Pull the thread down through the fabric until your thread lies flat. Do not over pull, as that will place too much tension on the fabric.
9. Push your needle up from the back of the material to the front about 1/8″-1/4″ ahead of the stitch you just made.
10. Push your needle down into the material back at the very same point you came up in step 6. This is the back stitch, which is ideal for following both smooth and complicated outlines like those in our pattern.
11. Continue like this along the line of your pattern. Once you feel comfortable, you can simplify and speed up the stitching by doing both the pushing in and out of the needle through the fabric at the same time, as shown in the photo below. As you can see, I pushed the needle in at the end of the preceding stitch and immediately came back up along my pattern line ahead of the thread.
12. You can do the back stitch around corners easily — just make the corner the start/stop of your stitch, as I’ve done in my next stitch here:
13. Keep going until you have only a few inches of thread left. Push your needle in and pull it through to the back of the fabric.
14. Flip your frame over and weave the needle (with the floss still threaded in its eye) through the stitches nearby. You want to go between the stitched floss and the fabric. Do this several times.
15. Once your floss is securely woven into the stitches on the back, unthread your needle and cut off the tail. Go ahead and cut off the tail of the knot on the other end of stitching, too.
When you’re done, the photo below shows what it looks like on the back of your fabric. Simple, neat, and secure.
16. Now just go back to step 5 and repeat until you’ve stitched along all the lines in your pattern! There are two other stitches that I think work well for this pattern: outline stitch and chain stitch — if you want to learn how to do these, let me know and I’ll take photos for you. When you are all done, mist your fabric with water or dampen it slightly to remove the blue pen lines.
17. With your blue lines gone, iron your embroidered fabric until it is nice and flat. The material can now go back in the bag and you can give it to me (Genoveva) for sewing!
How to Sew the Favors
If you are finishing these favors yourself, here’s what you do:
1. Fold the fabric in half along the vertical center line, wrong side out.
2. Sew 1⁄2” seam down and press open so that the seam is centered.
3. Sew a 1⁄2” seam along the bottom edge.
4. Sew the seams a second time to reinforce edges.
5. Clip corners and turn right side out.
6. Iron flat. The image should now sit 1” above the bottom hem and 1⁄2” from each side.
7. Fold the top SA inside and stitch closed. You should now have a 5” x 12” rectangle.
8. Fold 3” down the back and stitch, forming the belt loop.
If you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to ask.