Macaron Magic by Merrilyn Whittle
30th July 2021
There are all kinds of subjects that we can embroider. Throughout history, embroidery artists have drawn from the natural world, rendering flora, fauna, vistas and landscapes in thread. They’ve also looked at humanity, be it human figures or human creations, and allowed their creativity to flow from there.
But food? Who was the first person who decided to use food as a subject? We tried to do a bit of research, but information concerning the history of embroidered food was scarce to say the least! Whilst the history of stitched food may yet to be documented, we’ve seen plenty of it on social media in recent years, so we’re hoping the same search in the future will produce a more favourable result.
Regardless, any object which carries some measure of inherent beauty is ripe to be utilised as a subject for needlework. And any gourmet will tell you that food doesn’t just tantalise the senses of taste and smell, but good food will be a feast for the eyes too.
Master chefs and pâtissiers spend as much time on how their creations look as they do on combining flavours.
They are often referred to as artists, so it makes perfect sense that the products of their art should be honoured by an alternative artform. The result is a wonderful explosion of embroidered food and this week our featured project celebrates the delicious treat, the macaron.
The macaron is now accepted as a sweet French delicacy, although some historians say that the original recipe was brought to France from Italy by Catherine de’ Medici. Apparently, they had been baked in Italy since the 8th Century, although there they had been humbly known as ‘priest’s bellybuttons’ due to their shape.
Whatever their origin, the macaron morphed over the centuries from a fairly simple confection, through to the sweet sandwich we know today, held together with butter cream and available in a dizzying array of colours and flavours.
Their perfect shape and fabulous colours make these sweets a perfect subject for needlework, which is exactly what Merrilyn Whittle has done in her latest creation, Macaron Magic from Inspirations magazine issue #111. However, Merrilyn hasn’t just created an exact replica of these luscious biscuits; she’s combined her skill at beading with the practicality of a cleverly constructed coin purse to create a unique project that is sure to delight everyone who sees it.
Macaron Magic features a selection of bright colours that makes these purses almost indistinguishable from the gustatory wonder on which they are based.
Although unlike a real macaron, each purse boasts an intricate flower design that makes them truly unique.
Using her trademark technique of working traditional Japanese-style bead embroidery on top of printed fabric, Merrilyn has sourced the perfect intricate floral print cotton also available in four different colour ways. Using this design as a base, you then work your stitches embellishing the existing pattern to create the beaded flowers and motifs.
Now the good news is the instructions for Macaron Magic will teach you the basics required to achieve a stunning beaded finish utilising the techniques and stitches traditionally used in Japanese-style bead embroidery, which you can then replicate on any printed fabric.
If, however, you had your heart set on re-creating these magic purses exactly as they appear in the magazine, you’ll need to source the exact fabric Merrilyn has used, which we can tell you from experience is not easy! Thankfully, we have sourced a limited supply of each of the 4 different colourways which are included in our Ready-to-Stitch kits for this project.
When creating your beaded purse, it is best if the project is worked in a hoop that is secured in such a way that you have both hands free to do the beading. Embracing the Japanese style of working with two needles will make the project even easier to achieve.
We instantly fell in love with Macaron Magic when we first saw it, and that wasn’t just because we’re fond of macarons with our coffee as a special afternoon treat! Rather, it was because we couldn’t wait to hear what people would say every time we took one of these little purses out of our handbag, or laid it down on the table.
As cute and unique projects go, this one is definitely up there with the best of them and making all four colourways is a must. Our suggestion? Once you’ve completed this project, book yourself a special afternoon tea at a French patisserie and wait for the smiles of pleasure you’ll see when you take out your purse to pay. Food is a perfect subject for needlework after all.
Make Your Own Macaron Magic
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions
Macaron Magic by Merrilyn Whittle showcases Japanese-style bead embroidery with these cute macaron purses in four colourways.
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit
The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kits for Macaron Magic includes everything* you need to re-create these delightful purses: Fabrics (including with pre-printed design), purse shell set, fusible wadding, interfacing, zip, sewing threads, beads and needles.
Macaron Magic: Blueberry – i111 Kit
Macaron Magic: Pistachio – i111 Kit
Macaron Magic: Raspberry- i111 Kit
Macaron Magic: Sherbet – i111 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 magazine.