Versailles Chatelaine by Susan O’Connor
22nd March 2019
That moment when something you’ve been keeping somewhere in your needlework stash for years turns out to be exactly what you need for a project you’re working on right now. And it’s perfect.
If you’ve ever had the joy of experiencing this feeling, you’re in good company. This is exactly what happened for Susan O’Connor when it came to adding a wonderful finishing touch to her design ‘Versailles Chatelaine’ from our book A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII.
‘I developed this design and chose the colours when I was overseas, away from my threads. I particularly love the gorgeous grey-blue which is so different from the blue-violet that I usually gravitate towards. I think that in the back of my mind I remembered that I had some beautiful French silk ribbon at home that was this colour and when I returned, I was delighted to find that it was a perfect match!’ Susan thinks she might have purchased the ribbon 20 years ago at one of the first Martha’s Markets in Arlington, Texas. What a memory!
Susan’s design for this chatelaine is simply beautiful.
‘My concept was to create an overall design rather than a motif-centred one.’
‘I’ve always loved stripes and flowers together – I think it is the wonderful contrast between the rigid formality of the stripes and the voluptuous curves of the flowers that appeals to me.’
The result is an exquisite embroidered fabric in the tradition of timeless French textiles for adorning the pinwheel, scissor sheath and needlebook.
The embroidery is a delight to work using silk threads in a refined colour palette that, in the best enigmatic French style, is simply perfect. Gentle touches of colour that allow the flowers to sing sweetly in harmony with the soft stripes, each element complementing the other.
The bouquets feature a rose surrounded by daisies, forget-me-nots, tiny buds and delicate sprays of golden foliage. To help you achieve the appearance of identical bouquets, Susan’s stitching sequence is set-out in A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII in step-by-step diagrams.
The stripes, although formal in line, add to the sense of lightness with a lace-like base of trellis stitching edged with interlaced chain stitch and finished with single, white daisies spaced evenly down the length. The stitching sequence is, as for the bouquets, shown in diagrams to help you to establish a happy rhythm for working each stripe.
The edging of the stripes also surrounds the elegant monogram on the needlebook – an entire alphabet for which is included on the pattern sheets – along with sprays of gold foliage. The shape of the monogram medallion is echoed in the oval scissor fob that is embroidered with a large rose in the same shades of pink as the rose on the bouquets.
Apart from being a collection of beautifully embroidered pieces, the chatelaine has been designed for use. Each piece is edged with a knotted stitch worked in silk thread, like touches of gilding, and the pieces are held together with twisted cords made from perlé cotton in the same colour.
Keeping with the French theme, the scissor sheath has an ornately curved edge, reminiscent of Louis XIV furniture, and the twisted cords are embellished with mother-of-pearl rings and finished with *the* silk ribbon. This fabulous chatelaine is aptly named after the opulent French palace and would make a wonderful addition to any needlework tool kit.
Make Your Own Versailles Chatelaine
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions
Versailles Chatelaine by Susan O’Connor is an elegant silk needlebook with a monogram, pinwheel, scissor sheath and fob.
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit
The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Versailles Chatelain includes everything you need to re-create this beautiful chatelaine: Fabrics (unprinted), mother-of-pearl rings and buckle, pins, ribbon, wadding, bead, paillettes, embroidery threads and needles.