Padded metal work embroidery: the stag pouch

THL Lucia Thaylur


Winged Stag created for HRH Anne Marie. Presented to Her at Baronial Border War ‘07 in the gift basket from the Middle Kingdom Textile Artisan Guild of Withie and Woolmongers.


This pouch is made from green and white dupioni* silk and embroidered with blue silk in split and outline stitch for the fleur-de-lis. The winged stag was done in jap thread #3, size 1 ½ gold twist and hand crimped broadplate. The lining is white silk. With the exception of serging the raw edges of the silk, the pouch is handsewn-including buttonholes. Cotton embroidery thread was used to make a 5 strand braid for drawstrings.

Historical Inspiration:

The inspiration for this piece came from a winged bull which is part of a chasuble found at the Convento de la Ordern Cisterciense, Osek.


I found this picture in La Riqueza del Bordado eclesiastico en Checoslovaquia. (P. 60)

Date of Extant Piece:

The date of the chasuble is not known at this time, however, the text mentions "SIGLO XVI" which would indicate sometime during the period from 1501-1600. (La Riqueza, p. 60)

High relief metalwork

I used three layers of gold commercial wool cut in various shapes to achieve the raised haunches and foreleg of the stag. Each layer was cut a little larger than the previous layer and hand stiched in place to prevent slippage while I laid the goldwork.

Other extant pieces using the high relief metalwork technique include: the Shield –shaped panel, c 1500 Bayerischesmuseum, Munich (Wark, p 59), St George and the dragon (Schutte p 179), and Seal purse of Elizabeth 1, 1560 (Saunders, p. 112). While slightly out of period for the SCA, the replica of a crown for the Worshipful Company of Girdlers should not be dismissed (Saunders, p. 115)

Use of Broadplate on the wings:

I posted to the West Kingdom Needleworkers Guild e-group and enjoyed correspondence with several of the Laurels-none of whom could say what might have been used in period. The "feathers" of the winged bull appear to be somewhat more flexible than the broadplate I chose to use on this piece but it is very difficult to tell due to low resolution of the original photograph.

*It is beyond the scope of this paper to debate the controversy concerning the use of dupioni but I believe the silk reliquary pouch from Augustiner Klosters dated between 1278-1589 at least justifies it.


(Banks, p. 175)

(Image from Banks, p174)

Works Cited

Banks,Bank, Johanna. Die Mittelalterlichen Textilfunde aus der Latrinengrube des Augustiner Klosters in Freiburg in Breisgau in Tidens Tand Nr. 5, 1992 Archaeological Textiles in Noerthern Europe. Report from the 4th NESAT symposium 1.-5. May 1990 in Copenhagen. Denmark

Drobna,Zoroslava . La Riqueza del Bordado in Checoslovaquia. 1949. SFINX_Praga

Lemon, Jane. Metal Thread Embroidery: Tools, Materials and Techniques. 1987 BT Batsford, Ltd. London

Lifka, Bohumir. La Riqueza del Bordado Eclesiastico en Checoslovaquia. Sfinx-Praga, Czechoslovakia. 1949

Saunders, Sally. Royal School of Needlework Embroidery Techniques. Batsford Ltd., London 1998

Schutte, Marie & Sigrid Christensen A Pictoral History of Embroidery. 1964 Praeger, Inc USA

Wark Edna, Metal Thread Embroidery. 1989 Kangaroo Press Pty Ltd, Kenthurst

Photograph Credits
THL Donegal of Middle Kingdom

To THL Femke de Roas for introducing me to metalwork a few years ago, West Kingdom Needleworkers Guild for endless inspiration and THL Cassandra for once again making her library available to me.

Last updated: 8/17/2008