Sunday, 15 April 2012

Heritage Sampler

Myself and several friends have been helping Dacorum Heritage Trust with a project over the last few years.  The Trust have a number of samplers in their collection and they were not being stored as well as they could have been.  They asked us to mount some of the samplers so they could be put on display or used as part of their education programme but the two oldest samplers were too fragile to take out and about.  The Trust managed to secure funding to have them professionally conserved and mounted in order to keep them safe for the future but to enable them to still be useful for educational purposes they asked us to make copies of the samplers.  This involved us in many hours of carefully counting stitches working both from the original sampler and from photographs.  We had to make educated guesses of what should have been there when stitches were missing too.  Today I have stitched the last sampler on to it's board and placed it in it's box ready to go into the Museum Store.  If you want to view either the original sampler(s) or the replicas please get in touch with the Curator . 

This is how to mount an embroidery.

First the board needs to be prepared ready for the sampler.  Measure a piece of acid free mount board and cut to size.  Cover the board with cotton batting and pin in place stretching slightly to smooth out the creases.

At this stage it doesn't look too promising but never fear, it will all work out ok in the end.  When you are happy that you have placed the batting correctly begin to sew across the back using long lengths of thread so that the opposite ends are strung together and the batting is under tension.  Once this is done sew the mitres to neaten them.  (see two photo's below)

Once you have done all this foundation work it's time to repeat the process with the sampler.  Make sure the sampler is clean (if necessary wash it in a weak solution of soap flakes and rinse well) and dry (leave to dry on a clean towel on a flat surface, try not to iron the item unless absolutely necessary).  Begin pinning the sampler onto the batting covered board.  Work from the centre of each side. 

When all the pinning is done turn the sampler over to check that it is centred and that you are happy with the result then begin stringing across the back as before.  

The Trust want to be able to take this sampler into schools as an aid to their Victorian education scheme so I shall back it with a piece of calico so that the stringing doesn't catch on things.  I shall also attach some tape to make it easy to get the sampler out of it's storage box.


  1. This looks fab Stella was this the one you were working on before in the Summer?

  2. My input on this one was working out the pattern in the first place which took some doing and it never was finished completely. Audrey has done the stitching and has sometimes worked from photographs as well as the paper pattern. I then took over again to mount it. I can't claim all the credit!