This year I’ve been working on a very special project for our wedding. Tom’s Dad, Keith, is a methodist minister and he took our marriage service, which was wonderful! As lots of you know, I made waistcoats for the dads and groomsmen, but wanted to make something extra special for Keith – so I decided to make a stole for him to wear during the service.
A few months ago, we secretly measured one of his stoles so that I could get the size right. I think the most difficult part was getting the angle of the neck just right, but thankfully Tom is good at that kind of thing! I made a template for the outer shape, pinned it onto some material (Macao in cream from John Lewis) and cut out two using pinking shears.
Then I needed to work out where the hems would be and a ‘safe zone’ for embroidery. I’d marked it out on the original pattern, traced it (in case I ever need to make another stole!) and then cut it out. This inner patter was then pinned on to the stole pieces so that I could tack around it to show where the embroidery needed to go.
At the bottom of each side of the stole, I decided to embroider a cross, as this is often part of the design. Tom suggested that I use the leaf design to match with the waistcoats to embroider the outline, and that turned out to be a brilliant idea! I used a dotted notebook from Leuchtturm1917 (which was very kindly given to me after I won a competition through National Stationery Day last year) to draw the design, measuring out the exact dimensions to be able to make a template.
Once I had finalised the template, I was able to trace it onto some tissue paper and pin it on to the material. This seemed like the simplest way to do it and it actually worked really well – I’ve also discovered that greaseproof paper is also very good for templates! I stitched short sections of the stems around the template first, before adding the leaves. I used split stitch for the stems and the leaves as I find that the easiest and quickest stitch to do.
The next stage was to work out what the rest of the design would be like. I wanted it to be related to the waistcoats and include some other little designs. We laid it out on the floor and used some wool to mark out a wiggly line where the leaf and branch motif would go. Initially, we thought that the spaces in between would allow for extra designs to be embroidered in, but when I had finished sewing I discovered that it looked great without it (and that I was running out of time anyway!)
When the embroidery was finished, I sealed the back with fusible interfacing before using tailor’s chalk to draw the outline of the ‘safe zone’ so I would know where to sew. Then I cut the back panels out of Duchesse satin in champagne (also from John Lewis) and made some little pockets for the rings, stay stitching them on to the back panels. The next stage was to put right sides together and then sew!
After turning the right way round and pressing, it was time to do the most complicated bit: the angle behind the neck. This involved Tom measuring with a protractor and me getting a bit stressed, but the end result was really good! I stitched the outer side on the machine and then finished the inside using slipstitch.
And this was the finished stole, complete with ring pockets!
I’m so pleased that Keith loved his stole – and that I managed to keep it a secret for so long! 🙂