Moroccan Embroidery

Though most people think of rugs when you mention Morocco, embroidery is also beautiful and plentiful. Fez (or Fes) is considered the embroidery center. Stitching is usually done in silk and can be quite detailed and delicate. The photo below shows a sample of some embroidery.

MEmbroideryEven in the embroidery you can see the 8-pointed star motif. So I decided to try a design based on embroidery and started with the star. It was stitched with #5 perle cotton that is overdyed. I left a space between each of the chevrons used to create the star. I used a brown floss to fill the space – long, straight stitches.

Fez-1The brown diamonds are backstitched. I pulled #5 perle colors to go with the overdye and then decided as I started stitching that the perle cotton was too thick. So I used floss for the rest of the design. The Rhodes stitch inside each diamond has a bright yellow that was stitch using every other hole. Then I filled in the remaining holes with orange. I like the way this looks, imitating the overdye but only using two colors.

Next I worked on another motif just two stitches away from the edges of the diamonds. I started by stitching long, brown stitches. You can see where I started with a pin stitch in the middle to secure the thread. This will be covered up later. Though I’m enjoying designing and stitching this piece, I’m finding it hard to start and stop threads because I don’t want them to show through the canvas. Most of the stitching is started using this pin stitch.

Fez-2Then I stitched the half Scotch stitches using 4 ply light rust floss for the two that are closest to the center of the piece, and darker rust for the other two. To finish the motif, I used 2 ply of light green floss with #8 Kreinik braid to finish the Scotch stitch closest to the center of the piece, leaving an empty space where the longest stitch would go. I repeated the floss and Kreinik in a darker green for the last two. The center Smyrna stitch was then done in orange floss.

In my next post, I’ll show you the rest of the design and a photo of the finished piece. I will also let you help me decide if it should be framed as is, or on point. Stay tuned.



6 responses to “Moroccan Embroidery

  1. I really like the Rhodes stitch with two threads. I am working on a piece in silk right now and might try that for more visual interest. Thank you for the idea.

    • bonjour je suis marocaine de fes d origine, et ma grand mere faisait de tres belle choses mais malheureusement j ai rien appris de tout ce qu elle faisait mais maitenant que je suis maman et loin de mon pays j aimerai bien apprendre. merci

  2. Hi Jane, my grand mother was a pro in fes embroideries, but unfortunately I didn’t learn anything of her beautiful stitches, I would love to make something similar to what she use to do. any idea how to start. thanks

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