Friday, 30 April 2010

Stumpwork mini-book inspired by an Elizabethan Girdle Book

Here’s my reproduction version of a tiny (Secular) Girdle Book.  As you can see, what started out as small doodle of a heart became 2 hearts,  which were then stuffed and mounted onto cardboard…and the rest is history, as they say…

It measures exactly 2 inches by 2 inches and is 1 inch in depth.  It is covered in (fake) gems because in Elizabethan times different coloured gemstones had a Talismanic signficance e.g. gems to guard you against being food poisoned, others to keep your lover faithful , etc.  This idea began in the Middle Ages or possibly before.  The design on the front is padded Detached buttonhole base, embellished with a whipped running stitch chain rose stem with tiny leaves leading up to each gemstone 'rose' with gold buttonhole petals.  Elizabethans did not use prongs to hold the gems in place, but instead little petals, like I've done on here.  I have used pronged rhinestones as I needed these particular colours.     


And Pictured below is the reason why the thing took so long to complete:
Grid design + Moulded Shape = Much Brow- Furrowing !!!

Cost in materials = £5.50
Time spent = 11 hours +

The book has 4 pages and 6 sides of detail, made of fabric and other materials. 

The historical Girdle Books usually contained prayers and words of solace.  They were made of a metal casing and contained little pages.  They were so richly decorated that they eventually became highly desirable fashion items in their own right.   

All it needs now is a neck on the cord - the original historical design would have had a very long chain and would have hung from the waist, way down around the knees.  Perfect for dipping into whilst walking around your cloistered garden.  I shall also be adding a proud Turks Head Knot (purchased and not toiled over!!)

All that remains then is for me to reveal to you the INNER pages………….bet you can’t wait !!!!!
Have a great Bank Holiday!


  1. Beth Lea, this is just beautiful, and how interesting to read the history relating to this lovely piece. You really do know your Elizabeth history.

  2. Thanks a lot Shirley

    They are fascinating little things these Girdle Books. You see them in paintings and could mistake them for just ornament.

    This one, I should add, is extremely sentimental and personal...