Sunday, February 11, 2024

Weekend Review: Creative Embroidery: mixing the old with the new


Creative Embroidery / Christen Brown
Lafayette, CA: C&T, c2023.
159 p.

I picked up this new book on creative embroidery via my library; Christen Brown is a well respected and prolific embroiderer and author, and so I was intrigued. 

The book itself is quite well done. It has 19 project ideas, 3 step-by-step projects, and a ton of inspo pictures. The approach in this book is to use your 'stashed treasures'. By this, she is referring to vintage buttons, lace, doilies, trims, notions, hankies and more. If you love Victoriana or country styles, you may really connect with this book! 

Unfortunately the projects are a bit too fussily vintage and whimsical for my own style, but even if I'm not intending to copy any of these actual projects, I still enjoyed reading the book. The techniques are interesting, and alongside the photos and projects, she includes a stitch guide (pretty standard but well illustrated) and of more interest to me, there is also a guide to using trims and buttons in new ways. 

This covers rickrack flowers, zipper embellishments, braids, rosettes, yoyos and more. And the button section shows different stitching and combos to really use buttons creatively on any project. These guides take up a large part of the book and are useful to anybody who can adapt them to their own kinds of projects. Brown is an expert on embellishment and it really shows here. 

There is one simple project from the book that I am planning on adapting however -- she has used vintage buckles and ribbons to make bookmarks, which I think are so cute, especially since I have quite a few old buckles in my stash from thrift store trips. She puts buttons on the ribbons, which makes them unusable as actual bookmarks, so I'd simplify and just use a nice flat ribbon or fabric scrap.

Anyhow, this was a book I enjoyed and sifted out some interesting ideas, despite the style of the stitching and projects not really being my thing. It's a well designed and thorough book, however, so if it is YOUR thing, you will love it. Fun to browse through in any case! 


  1. I had a very large, elaborate vintage buckle. I pulled a length of wool through a bar of the buckle then stitched the ends of the wool together beneath the buckle area to make a hanging pin cushion, very handy over my ironing station.

    1. That is a very clever idea! And it must have looked quite pretty while being so useful :)


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