Sunday, December 22, 2013

NY City Tambour Embroidery Class

Last weekend I traveled to New York City to teach a two day intensive class in tambour embroidery.  I spent some time stitching up a sampler piece for the class to examine and work up and also a class piece to work on some in class and the rest on their own.  The class piece is pictured above, a heavily beaded piece I found in a book of French embroidery designs.

Here are a few shots of the sampler-- tiny green beads worked in vermicelli stitch in a small, tight square.

Bugle beads in a pave rectangle, single strand DMC thread worked in a brick stitch, single lines of beads and sequins, and samples of how to turn a corner with a nice sharp 90 degree line in thread and bugle beads.

Above, some beautiful moonstone seed beads worked in a padded pulled stitch.

This is on a different piece, but I loved the sequins so much, I wanted to add it to this post.  3 mm pale turquoise sequins that are leftover stash from Lesage worked opposite a pulled stitch line on a leaf.

Speaking of Paris, the day before I left for New York, an order I placed from a bead supplier in Paris arrived.  Look at all this luscious beauty!  Sequins in pale greens, bugles in various sizes and hues, mostly greens and teals.  And some of the prettiest pink beads I ordered just for the sheer courage of the color.  :-)  I'm so excited to start using these.  I don't know what this company does with the making of these beads, but they truly are superior beads and sequins.  They literally seem to pulse with color!

Here I am a number of weeks ago, taking a photo at the start of working up the piece for the New York class.  The small flower petals in the middle are single strands of DMC thread.  The base material is silk organza.  The piece called for a slate grey, but I chose the colorless organza for ease of learning.  These small pearls are 3mm Swarovski and I used gold metallic thread throughout the entire piece.

Unfortunately I could not get a good photo of the back of this piece but here it is anyway, in its finished state, with all ends not cut close to the stitching and glued, as is typically taught, but woven and knotted into each backstitch so the beads have zero possibility of pulling loose or pulling out.  Amazingly, this technique was not taught to me in school at Lesage or in the U.S., but by a professional couture embroiderer in the UK, a lesson for which I am very grateful, as although it is a time consuming process, it is necessary for keeping couture embroidered garments free of glues & loose snipped ends, and also for keeping a very clean finish.   I am all for hard work staying put and maybe getting a little zen meditation in at the same time.  Weave, knot, weave, knot, weave, knot-- snip!  And again on the next loose end of thread...  :-)

Here are my students hard at work pinning the silk organza to their twill tape.

And hard at work learning the stitching process..  Note I teach framing up with a large hand made slate frame and pinned twill tape lashed to the side bars.

One of the students was kind enough to introduce Dean and Deluca cookies into my life both days of class!  Nomnomnom!  Cooookiiiieees!!  OMG- so.good!

After the two days of class, I had one day in New York to run around like a lunatic, looking at everything, before taking the train home.  Instead of the tourist meccas of Times Square and Macy's and looking at shop window displays and the Rockefeller Center tree, I decided to just get off the subway in the East Village and wander.  Here is a terrific shop selling vintage architectural gems (above)...

And a fabulous bakery with Marzipan Santas and Snowmen- so cute!  I have to admit, mostly I went shopping.  I know-- so lame!  But, whatever!  I needed supplies.  So I went to Purl Soho for hand dyed needlepoint yarns and Japanese linen fabric off the bolt.  And then to another bakery for more pastries  every fabric-a-holics dream come true-- Mood (of Project Runway fame), where I was so overwhelmed that I didn't even buy that much in the end.  It was amazing just to wander.  I must say I was happy to find hexagonal cotton tulle fabric, which is very difficult to find in the U.S., for a fairly reasonable price, to use for a tambour lace class I am teaching next year in Gettysburg.  For anyone who wants to look into the online sites, here are some of the haberdashery & fabric shops I found with terrific prices and huge inventory--,, and  I went to a few others (my aching feet and back...) but they didn't have websites.  One of the better shops I found in the garment district was Sil Thread- 257 West 38th St.  

Now my husband and I are off to visit my family in the warm sun of Florida for the holidays and I can't wait to hit the road!

Merry Christmas!!


  1. Love seeing your pictures. And I'm so happy your class and time in NY went so well!! Your work is gorgeous!

  2. What a great article, i just loved it and i loved to read it. Excellent thought author,i have bookmarked it.
    Embroidery Class

  3. Thanks for wonderful to see this process! Hope you are feeling better!!

  4. I am down with a bad cold myself so I want to wish you well, feel better soon girlfriend, and Happy Pink Saturday,

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  6. hola!!! soy de venezuela. Cómo hago para obtener la herramienta de bordado??? Por que aquí, lamentablemente no la venden. Y necesito una. Mucho le agradecería si me diera información. Gracias!!!!

  7. Could you tell me what the name of the French company is that you got the order of all those beautiful beads and sequins from?

  8. A fabulous bakery with Marzipan Santas and Snowmen- so cute! i agree with you!!
    African Fabrics

  9. Thank you for sharing.I started teaching myself at home a few months ago - no classes near me in the UK.

    I am trying to find a good sized tambour frame, as I would love to make clothes incorporating tambour work.

    I loved New York when I visited years ago. Could you tell us more about your course. Your work is beautiful!

  10. Hello, do you have any classes coming up soon? Do you do one on one teaching?