Sunday, 9 March 2014

Stitch Your Way Around the World: Turkish Embroidery

Yesterday was the second in the series of embroidery sessions being offered by Jan and me through the Calgary Public Library where we featured the basics of Turkish embroidery.


We had a full house, including our first two men in the many sessions we have taught. In some cultures stitching by men is not unusual and one of our participants yesterday commented that in India boys as well as girls, are taught to sew when they are young.

Couched gold thread
Turkish embroidery is defined by a number of features: gold thread work, couching of threads onto the surface of the work, animal and floral motifs and the recurrence of reds and greens in the colour palette.

Sarma is a type of satin stitch that may be done over a bed of other stitches or over a piece of felt giving the embroidery a raised look.

Gozeme (outlining) stitch
As our time is limited in these sessions we opted to use just the felt and not complete the satin stitch, though some of the stitchers were going to do that at home.

Sarma may be completed with or without the use of the gozeme stitch, which is used for outlining. A common colour for this stitch is a rich dark brown.

Gozeme is a type of running stitch with one thread of the fabric between the stitches not evenly spaced as we are used to seeing a running stitch.

Ready to be frayed

Neatness counts!
The final step was to fuse a piece of iron on interfacing to the back and fray the edges.

Thanks to all of our stitchers and hand models!


  1. Good on the men for showing an interest.
    A unique twist to the usual embroidery for sure.
    Keep on having fun!

  2. A goal this year is to do more hand work. Great stuff!

  3. Elle, I don't make the traditional New Year's resolutions, but instead try to set a goal that challenges me. A couple of years ago it was to improve my hand stitching and I have been enjoying the challenge a lot. I find that I am incorporating hand stitching into many of my projects now.

  4. Love this Turkish embroidery project especially this dark brown colored stitching. I think it would be interesting to use variegated threads on some fabrics.

  5. Phyllis, yes the brown was a nice departure from outlining in black threads - a much softer look. I hand dyed some white crochet cotton in variegated colours and am just deciding which project to use it on.