Box of Delights by Helen M. Stevens

6th October 2023

Christmas brings out a range of different emotions and expressions in us all. Whether it’s celebrating the birth of Jesus, cherishing time spent with loved ones, or perhaps embracing the mantra that it is better to give than receive, Christmas holds special significance for many of us.

For UK designer Helen M. Stevens, one of her favourite aspects of Christmas is recollecting the childhood wonder of the season, and for Helen this centred around a particular book she grew up reading.

She fondly remembers ‘The Box of Delights’ by John Masefield, published in 1935, which Helen enjoyed reading each Christmas, and now it has provided inspiration for her latest project of the same name Box of Delights from our new book The Design Collective | Christmas.

Box of Delights is the perfect name for this wonderful, embroidered panel inset, designed for a wooden box lid, which then opens to reveal another three smaller stitched delights!

Encompassing four designs in total, each embroidered panel depicts a different floral wonder.

The box lid features the hellebore, commonly known as the Christmas rose, where in the Northern Hemisphere, it is one of few plants in flower during winter. 

In this abundant posy worked in Helen’s trademark style of silk embroidery using Pipers Silks, we are treated to an array of different coloured petals from pastel pinks, vivid violets and soft champagnes.

Set against a backdrop of striking, jagged, shaded green leaves it even has a few friends dropping in for a visit – namely a gorgeous bumble bee and two beautiful blue butterflies.

Quick mention of the clever use of a shadow line that Helen has incorporated into the petals and leaves of the hellebore to help give definition and dimension.

Helen reminded us that ‘the shadow line is a suggestion, rather than an inflexible rule, and so long as it broadly suggests the underside of each element, it does not have to conform exactly to the shown placement.’

The three small delights hidden inside the box, are more of Helen’s iconic silk-shaded brilliance, stitched on a ground fabric of black, fine polycotton that, as always, creates a stunning contrast to each element.

Here you will find a trio of Sweet Pea, Fuchsia and Morning Glory which Helen points out that ‘in the traditional, Language of Flowers, they represent beauty, summer love and blissful delight.’

Special shout out again to our little visitors in each small delight – more butterflies and another bumble bee, all of which add a dynamic sense of life and nature.

All in all, Box of Delights is exactly what is says on the tin! For anyone who is lucky enough to receive either the kit or the finished piece for Christmas, it truly is the gift that keeps on giving.

Make Your Own Box of Delights

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Box of Delights by Helen M. Stevens is a large design of hellebores and small designs of sweet pea, fuchsia and morning glory.

Printed Books

The Design Collective – Christmas

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Box of Delights includes everything* you need to re-create this festive box lid insert and the three small embroidery designs: Fabrics (inc. with pre-printed design), dressmaker’s carbon, card, embroidery threads and needle.


Box of Delights – TDCC Kit

*Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to the book.

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