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ONL100 The Lost Dress of Elizabeth I: Mistletoe – inspired by the Bacton Altar Cloth

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Weekly, from Wed 25/11/2020
Wed 09/12/2020
18:30pm - 20:30pm each day


SKU: ONL100 Category:

Please note that this is an online class. Please click here to view important joining information about online classes.

Session 1 – Wednesday 25 November 2020, 6.30-8.30pm
Session 2 – Wednesday 2 December 2020, 6.30-8.30pm
Session 3 – Wednesday 9 December 2020, 6.30-8.30pm

For the Rest of the World bookings will close on Thursday 12 November.

For UK and Europe bookings will close on Friday 20 November to allow for the kit to be posted out in time for the class.

Please note that the cost includes the necessary kit but does not include shipping, which will be added automatically at the checkout.

The richly embroidered altar cloth was found hanging in a glass case in St Faith’s Church, Bacton, having been retired as an altar cloth over a hundred years ago. Bacton was the birthplace of one of Elizabeth I’s most faithful servants, Blanche Parry, who began her 57 year service supervising the royal cradle rockers, and died as her Chief Gentlewoman of the Bedchamber. It is believed that the altar cloth was given to the church by or in memory of Blanche Parry. It is also known that the Queen would give Blanche her clothes and this piece of embroidery has motifs typical to the designs of the late 16th century and has a close resemblance to the bodice that can be seen in ‘The Rainbow’ portrait of Queen Elizabeth I, c.1600.

We worked with Historic Royal Palaces to help bring the embroidery of this wonderful piece to life and show visitors to the exhibition, what the dress might have looked like when it was originally stitched. Using the three motifs of a Daffodil, Rose and Thistle – the national flowers of Wales, England and Scotland we developed the first set of kits and accompanying classes. The designs were worked in the same stitches, Seeding, Stem Stitch, French Knots and Woven Wheels and we matched fabric and threads as near as possible to the original. The original fabric of the dress was a very special, ribbed cream silk with a silver metallic weft thread.  We matched the colour and the texture as close as we could but without the silver! We chose a good quality fabric which is a silk and wool mix that would take multiple strands of stranded cotton being passed through the rib along with the thick end of the metallic thread.

We have taken further inspiration from other motifs featured on the Bacton Altar Cloth - The Mistletoe and Snail –  in order to create this special Christmas kit. We will be using and teaching the same techniques and stitches and have added extra gold by working the snail in a Goldwork technique known as Italian Shaded Couching.

This online class will give you a chance to stitch the design in exactly the same way as the 16th century piece would have been embroidered.

The class kit will be posted out to you. The kit includes all the materials you require to complete the project. It would be useful to have a pencil and paper in case you wish to take extra notes and a pair of embroidery scissors  and a 8″ hoop will be needed.

Attendees Outside the UK
This class will run from 6.30 to 8.30pm (18:30 to 20:30 hours) UK local time on each day. If you are outside of the UK please check your local time, particularly if your location changes to/from Daylight Savings Time on a different schedule to the UK during October/November and March/April. To check and convert times please visit We cannot be held responsible for incorrect time attendance. Thank you.

Images of Bacton Altar Cloth © Historic Royal Palaces Courtesy of St Faith's Church, Bacton

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SKU: ONL100 Category: