If you like the gentleness of dainty embroidery and pretty decorator accents, you'll love this shadow-work pillow designed by Trudi Clarkson.
Shadow-work was developed in the mid-18th century, when fine cotton muslin from India was all the rage. Some of these Indian fabrics were embroidered with delicate decorative motifs. Today, it is done on sheer fabric, such as organdy or cotton voile using a darker coloured thread and closed herringbone stitch. This stitch makes its own border and filling, and because it is worked from the back of the fabric, the colour is muted on the front, creating a soft shadowy effect perfect for lingerie, table linens or this pillow.
.50 in blue batiste, 115 cm wide
.85 in white organdy, 115 cm wide
1 m French lace edging, 30 mm wide
Anchor embroidery floss #0214, #0119, #0291,#0121
40 cm square pillow form
Water-soluble fabric marker
Note: Use a 6 mm (1/4-in) seam allowance throughout.
1. To cover pillow form; cut a piece of batiste 41 x 81 cm (16 x 32 in). Fold in half so short ends meet. Stitch around raw edges, leaving a 20 cm (8-in) opening on one edge. Turn right side out. Press. Insert pillow form. Slipstitch opening closed.
2. For pillowcase, cut a piece of organdy 42.5 x 82.5 cm (16-3/4 x 32-1/2 in) and another piece 30.5 x 40 cm (12 x 15-3/4 in) for pillow flap.}
3. On one short end of large piece of organdy, turn under 6 mm then another 6 mm and hem. On opposite short end, draw a line 13 mm (1/2 in) from raw edge. Fold in half so wrong sides are together and hemmed edge meets drawn line. Stitch side seams. Press and trim seam to 3 mm (1/8 in). Turn wrong side out, press and stitch again, enclosing previous seam allowance. Turn right side out.
4. For pillow flap, fold 30.5 x 40 cm piece in half so short ends (sides) meet. Press. Draw a line 13 mm from one of the long edges (top edge), then fold sides in toward centre forming a V from centre point to marked line (Diagram 1). Press. Machine-staystitch along V-fold lines. Centre and trace embroidery design onto wrong side of flap with a sharp pencil.
5. Using 2 strands of floss, embroider design using closed herringbone stitch (Diagram 2) on wrong side of fabric as follows: Knot end of floss and insert needle from top to bottom into fabric 7 cm (2-3/4 in) from design area. Bring needle up at beginning of design, point A. Go down at B and up again at C, down at D and up again at E, down at F and up again at G, down at H and up again at I and so on, making sure the backstitch outline on the right side is unbroken. When finished with one colour, thread end of floss through back of work. Snip knot and thread beginning of floss through back of work.
6. With wrong sides together, stitch 13 mm extension on flap to extension on body of pillowcase. Press; trim seam to 3 mm. Turn so right sides are together, press and stitch again, enclosing previous seam allowance. Press seam allowance toward body of pillowcase.
7. On one end of lace, fold under 6 mm, then another 6 mm. Secure with tiny running stitches. Pin-stitch lace to staystitching down one edge of V as shown in Diagram 3. Approximately 2.5 cm (1 in) above the point, pull up the gathering thread in the lace heading and gather it slightly around point. Continue pin-stitching lace in place up other side of V. Cut off any extra lace, leaving 13 mm to turn under and double hem as before. Carefully cut away excess fabric on back of flap close to pin stitching.