How to Embroider the Sweet Pea

The Sweet Pea was a favorite flower of Victorian women to embroider. With the right knowledge, the finished piece could be just as lovely as the real flower, but last so much longer!

Below you will find the instructions that Victorian embroiderers used in 1899.

Sweet Pea Embroidering Instructions

Keep the stems dark because they are more or less the framework of the design. Work calyxes which are to come up against the light flowers dark, and those against the dark flowers, light. The first row of Long and Short stitches is shown in Fig. 1.

Sweet Pea Illustration 1 and 2

Sweet Pea Illustration 3

Sweet Pea diagram 4 and 5

The keel should be embroidered in the deepest shade and that part of the petal back of it in the fourth shade. See Fig. 2. It will be at once seen that the stitches of all these petals bear the relation of radii of a circle of which the stem base is the center. See Fig. 3. The full view sweet pea has for its center the point A in Fig. 4 which is opposite the stem base. All the stitches will slant to this point with the exception of the curled over petals which will slant in the opposite direction. The turned over petals should be worked in the lightest shade and raised a little. These raised portions and the keel should be finished before the stitches in the background petals, that is the “wings,” are put in. The leaves are worked in Long and Short stitch using one shade of silk for each pair of leaves. See Fig. 5.

For coloring and stitch direction, see Colored Plate below.

Sweet Pea Color Plate

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The Last and Best of Art Needlework, 1895
Over 100 pages of authentic Victorian instructions and patterns from 1895!

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