A Commission for an Embroidered Panel – “Evelyn Rose”

Earlier this year a dear friend and his wife produced a baby girl, who they’ve named Evelyn Rose. We were, of course, thrilled for them, and sent many congratulations, and even managed to speak to them (they’re in a different time zone). During that conversation, they said, “We love what you do, and we’d love you to do something for Evelyn!”.

Design Sketch
Design Sketch

Well, I didn’t have another commission looming, and the Faience Necklace wasn’t framed up ready to go yet, so that fell very pat. I asked what they had in mind, and this is the sketch that came back.

Painted Roses
Painted Roses

That gave us a lot to think and talk about. I played with a variety of typefaces, and finally settled on a cursive style. Then I thought about roses. My first thought was stylised canal art roses, but they never have stems, so I thought some more. Unusually for me, at this point I got out my paints, found some photos of roses, and started experimenting with simplifying them and really understanding the forms of them and the way the petals fold.

Design for Evelyn Rose
Design for Evelyn Rose

I ended up with this basic design – the name in an elegant cursive font, and the “l” replaced by a single stemmed half-open rose. Then I thought of the embroidery on gauze I experimented with a few years ago. It seemed to me that this was a perfect opportunity to play with this technique, and it has the advantage of producing something sufficiently grown up that in 20 years time, Evelyn probably won’t be embarrassed to have it on show…

Episode Six of “Slow TV Stitchery” is now up. Please take a look, and ask me any questions that occur to you…


  1. Catherine says:

    What a lovely design you have come up with based on what they liked! I love your positioning of the stem, and I’m intrigued to see your process of stitching on gauze.

  2. Sue Jones says:

    I like the “rose-ness” of the rose sprig. You have captured the spirit of the rose without overloading it with details or distractions, and it is very close to your brief. I look forward to seeing its progress.

  3. I love that comment of yours – “always a challenge wrangling a lively thread” – it brings a curious confluence of images to mind, wrangling being more associated with cowboys roping steers than with beautiful embroidery, in my mind! Also would I be right I thinking you are a fan of early music – I was trying to identify the singing in the background, the voice sounded familiar, but not the music.
    I’m very intrigued by Evelyn Rose’s embroidery, and will very much look forward to seeing it grow, especially if you are stitching on gauze – nowhere to hide those thread ends!!! How lovely for her to grow up knowing it was stitched especially for her

  4. Lin Tarrant says:

    Many years ago I worked for Crabtree and Evelyn and while there we realeased a new perfume called Evelyn Rose. I just checked and they do still make it, thanks for the reminder. xx

  5. Meredithe says:

    Oh Rachel, that final design is just perfect! I’m sure Evelyn will love it well into her years.

  6. Lady Fi says:

    How lovely!

  7. Jen Mullen says:

    A wonderful way to celebrate a baby’s name!

  8. Carolyn Foley says:

    I look forward to seeing this develop.