Embroidery Studio Scores in Football

12th June, 2020

This week should have been the start of the ‘UEFA Euro 2020’ which was to take place across twelve European cities from 12 June to 12 July…and, just in case you’re interested, the proposed new dates are 11 June to 11 July 2021. As much as football is a love-hate topic in most households, and big tournaments are when no DIY is done, many embroidery projects are completed! Symbolism in football, with emblems and badges, has its roots in heraldry, with the modern-day emblems showing allegiance to a team rather than a King.

In 2017, the RSN Embroidery Studio was commissioned, with permission from Queens Park Rangers (QPR) Football Club in London, to create a one-off bespoke hand embroidered club badge. Our client, mother of an avid life-long QPR supporter, was eager to surprise her son with this special gift. The family’s love of QPR spanned four generations dating back to pre-World War One. The football team started out playing on waste ground in the Queens Park Ward, near Harvist Road in north London and they amalgamated to form Queens Park Rangers in 1882, settling in Loftus Road in 1917. They became well known in 1967 after their promotion to the 2nd Division and subsequent triumph at the League Cup under the astute management of Alec Stock.

The original design of the early QPR badge, comprised a shield based on the crest of the Borough of Hammersmith: crosslets from the arms of Edward Latymer, a 17th Century nobleman who donated money to the education of poor boys; three horseshoes from the family crest of Sir Nicholas Crisp who donated money towards the Parish Church in the 17th Century; and a scallop shell from the arms of George Pring, a surgeon at Hammersmith Hospital in the early 19th Century. The RSN Embroidery Studio recreated this iconic emblem using Goldwork and Appliqué techniques. Coloured Grosgrain (ribbed) silk fabric were applied to a dense black wool fabric creating the base for the metal thread embroidery. The piece features metal cutwork using Purl, which is a tightly coiled hollow tube cut and stitched down by passing the needle through the tube. The skill is to cut each piece of Purl to the exact size, otherwise the cut piece will stretch or crack, and neither result is the desired effect for a finished piece. Pearl Purl was used for the outline as it gives a beaded appearance to the edge. Between each bead is a groove into which the couching thread will drop becoming invisible. Black stitched detailing was added where necessary, often sitting on top of the Pearl without causing any damage to it.


A more unusual commission was to embroider ‘Beckham Boots’, to commemorate the ‘2002 FIFA World Cup’. This was the 17th FIFA World Cup, the quadrennial world championship for men’s national association football teams organised by FIFA. It was held between 31 May and 30 June 2002 at sites in South Korea and Japan, with the final match hosted by Japan at International Stadium in Yokohama.

The embroidered boots were to be a prize for a competition in Japan during the event and the world famous footballer surname ‘Beckham’ was embroidered on the side of the boot in Japanese. On the inside of the foot is embroidered a number 7, this being the number on David Beckham’s Manchester and England’s shirt.

“David Beckham’s left foot, come to that…”

When working on leather there is no room for making mistakes, once the needle has passed through the leather it makes a hole which, unlike normal woven fabric, does not close up if a mistake is made when incorrect stitches are removed. It can really be a ‘hold the breath moment’ and the upmost concentration is needed. These boots were also embroidered after they were constructed adding another element of difficulty, in the ideal world we would have preferred to have embroidered them flat before they had been constructed in to football boots.

The stitches used were a combination of Satin and Long and Short Stitch worked in a fine thread such as one strand of stranded cotton.

We wonder where they are now and hope that they are treasured!