In a word – don’t. This is what happens when you do

Bad Stitching

The annoying thing is, the stitching was ok on the other side but had to be unpicked

Good Stitching right side

So I went to bed and started again in the morning with better results ha ha

Dorset Feather Stitchery worked sample close up

As you can see from the photos below I have been working from a book by Olivia Pass printed in 1957. A group of ladies from a Dorset WI (Womens Institute) had fun reviving simple stitches in a new form that they called Dorset Feather Stitchery.


Mostly they were inspired by the stitching decorating English smocks worn mainly in the Nineteenth century although they were worn as late as WWII in a few cases. Principally worn by male agricultural workers they were a practical and beautiful coverall – I intend to make one myself as I have another lovely old book by Alice Amess called English Smocks with Directions for Making Them. I particularly like one worn by a milk maid from Essex. As I am from Essex and have milked a few cows I think I can wear one!

You can find more about them here

Before that though, I will pop over the Slow Sunday Stitching to see what everyone else has been making, why not see for yourself!

20 thoughts on “Midnight Stitching

  1. craftycreeky says:

    Been there, done that! I still remember as a child sitting concentrating for ages on an embroidery, only to stand up and find I’d stitched it to my trousers!! I love the border you are stitching, very neat! As a member of the WI I’ll keep my eye open for the book, looks interesting 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kay says:

      I’ve done that too lol. I don’t think it caught on much as that seems to be the only book on it. I got it on EBay and I have seen other copies on there since. If you are lucky it will have the original transfer sheets too


  2. craftycreeky says:

    Just ordered book on line 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Warm Quilts says:

    The sampler is beautiful! Thank you for including the link to the book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kay says:

      Thank you, I saw the book on EBay and loved the look of it


  4. Your stitching is lovely. And I enjoyed the history lesson!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kay says:

      Thank you. It will get a bit fancier as most of the stitches will be whipped too (that sounds a bit weird lol)


  5. LOL because I did that to my applique block just a few minutes ago. Silly little edges sneaking in where they are not wanted! I love your sampler.

    I did know about the smocks as a man’s garment, but didn’t realize that they had been around so late in history. For some reason, I thought they fell out of favor after the Middle Ages. They certainly did not make it ‘across the pond’ that I know of. I wonder why not?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kay says:

      The embroidered smocks were mostly in the South of England and were deisgned to be worn as an outer garment rather than underneath as smocks were previously. some of the fabric was very thick, like cotton duck which is why they have survived so well. Maybe there wasn’t as much emigration to the US from the South? Or people wanted to leave agricultural work behind and left any reminder of it? Hard to say


  6. debrapugh says:

    WOW your stitchery is lovely 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. cathytomm says:

    I also stitch late at night, kind of laughed with you. Lovely stitching!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kay says:

      I always think – I’ll just finish this little bit…..


  8. Your stitching is beautiful and I enjoyed the smock link 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kay says:

      Amazing that these beautiful garments were coveralls, although there are white on white stitched ones that were for Sunday best too


  9. nanacathy2 says:

    Oh yes we have all done that. I love the old English smocks, such labours of love. Your sticthing project is very pretty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kay says:

      Thank you. It’s good that so many survived – they were clearly prized


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