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Spangles held on with purls  icon
Spangles held on with purls

Spangles held on with purls  main image

​Spangles may be stitched down in a variety of decorative ways, either individually or in lines, with fancy stitching with coloured silk threads. Alternatively, they can be held down with chips, looped chips, beads or, invisibly, in fish-scale stitching which results in the overlapping spangles concealing the stitch that holds down the previous spangle.

Spangles have a long history across the world: excavations of 6th century royal tombs in Korea have shown that they were used to embellish royal crowns.  European artefacts date back to the 16th century: the Victoria and Albert Museum holds a dalmatic and other ecclesiastical garments embellished with them from this time.  They continued to be used in England in subsequent centuries: the V&A also holds a burse made for Elizabeth I’s Great Seal plus various high-status garments.  Their use wasn’t restricted to garments for royalty and nobility: they feature on a revolutionary cap from the French revolution now held by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

17th century trade records between the Netherlands and Indonesia indicate that cloth embellished with spangles was unsurprisingly highly esteemed; by the 18th and 19th centuries in Lucknow, northern India, spangles and metal thread were used to completely cover shoes; 19th century rules for Madras Foot Artillery officers’ dress included spangles.

Spangles held on with purls is generously sponsored by Patricia Nelson

Method

Use wax to smooth the fibres of the sewing thread and prevent the purl chip from catching as it travels down the length of the thread.

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Spangles held on with purls  method stage 1 photograph
1

Cut a good number of small chips from a length of metal thread, this example shows Bright check

Spangles held on with purls  method stage 2 photograph
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Using a double waxed thread, bring the needle through to the surface of the fabric from underneath

Spangles held on with purls  method stage 3 photograph
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Thread on a single spangle

Spangles held on with purls  method stage 4 photograph
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and gently manoeuvre it to the base of the thread. Ideally without touching it with your fingers to prevent it tarnishing in the future.

Spangles held on with purls  method stage 5 photograph
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Thread a purl chip onto the needle

Spangles held on with purls  method stage 6 photograph
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and gently manoeuvre it to the base of the thread on top of the spangle.

Spangles held on with purls  method stage 7 photograph
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Stitch the purl chip in place by taking the needle back down through the spangle centre

Spangles held on with purls  method stage 8 photograph
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leaving the purl chip on top to hold the spangle in place.

Spangles held on with purls

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques

References