Instruction in Traditional 16th Century Hand Embroidery Techniques

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Group and Individual Instruction

At Gutter Lane Embroidery, we teach a wide variety of historic hand embroidery techniques for all levels of skill. All our projects are based on extensive historical research, specializing in the techniques used for 16th century English embroidery. We can help you master working with the fine silk and gold threads that were used in the exquisite decorative patterns seen in the portraiture of the time.

For more information about private or group instruction, please contact us at [email protected]


The following projects are based on techniques used in 16th century embroidery.  They can be taught in groups from 10 to 25 students.  If your group is interested please email [email protected] for more information on availability, teaching fees and kit costs.

The delicate Sweet Pea flower is worked in purple silk and silver plate.  The leaves are layers of gold threads and green silk and the stems and fine tendrils are various sizes of lizerene.

The seed pods are worked in satin stitch, padded satin and circular couched passing, partially covered in rows of laid gilt silk twist. It is a beautiful companion to the Eglantine.

Fruit and Flower Roundel features a garland of strawberry fruit and blossoms and larkspur flowers.

Worked in a wide range of metal threads and coloured silks, this is a very challenging project for advanced embroiderers.

Cherry is a new addition to the series of 16th century fruits and flowers. The delicate cherry blossom and delectable fruits sparkle with highlights of silver and hints of gold.  Cherry is a companion piece to the strawberry below.

Layers of colored silks worked in simpleembroidery stitches are combined with 16th century metal thread layering techniques including the use of lizerene and plate. The project will be embroidered on an ivory silk ground.

The Mariners’ Compass and Armillary Sphere were popular motifs during the late 16th century when exploration and settlement of New England was beginning in earnest. These three-dimensional designs are inspired by the embroidery on a mariner’s scarf made for Sir Francis Drake.

Both designs use a variety of metal threads, beads and gold leather. The directional needle on the compass is fully articulated. These two scientific instruments will soon be joined by a third, the astrolabe. On a black satin ground, they can be worked separately or together in a group of three.

Strawberry is a two day class based on a 16th century botanical depiction and developed for embroidery using traditional 16th century layering techniques in silk and metal threads.

Tudor Rose and Pomegranate is inspired by an illuminated manuscript from the early 16th century. Threads used include bright check, lizerene, pearl purl, smooth passing and coloured silks. It is a three day class

Eglan​tine is inspired by a 16th century botanical illustration by the French artist Jacques Le Moyne.   ‘La Clef des champs’ was published in London in 1586 as a book of models to be used for painting and embroidery. The volume was dedicated to his patron Lady Mary Sidney a writer and accomplished needlewoman.   Eglantine is a three day class.

A Garden of Tudor Delights   combines the use of fine embroidery silks with a variety of unusual gold and silver threads.  All of these unusual techniques are featured on the Broderers' Crown, a 16th century embroidered garland of popular fruits and flowers.   This is a four day class.

Velvet Rose Roundel is stitched using the traditional 16th century embroidery techniques found on the Broderers’ Crown. The roses, leaves and crescent on are worked initially on a cotton ground in layers of silk and metal threads.

The individual elements are trimmed from the cotton and appliquéd onto a velvet ground mounted on cotton. The gently curving stems are stitched directly on the velvet connecting all the elements.  Velvet Rose Roundel is a four day class.

Tudor Embroiderers and their Work

Tudor Embroiderers and their Work is a two day workshop which begins with a PowerPoint presentation, followed by a discussion of how the embroidery guild was organized in the Tudor era including what they produced and for whom. The afternoon is spent learning about the designs and materials they used to create very intricate embroideries and trying out the techniques on a practice cloth. The following day is spent using the techniques and materials to complete a small project such as this exquisite little elephant.

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