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My Custom Embroidery Designs

Today please let me share with you how I came to embroider and a little bit of my heart (I promise in the coming weeks to share with you my background in heirloom sewing). In 1993, I began working for and making heirloom items for Sarah Howard Stone. A few months into my employment I took a class taught by Sarah’s daughter-in-law on how to embroider. I was COMPLETELY hooked!! LOVED IT!! From that point on until the close of Sarah’s shop in 2012, I completed most of the embroidery designed in her shop. If you purchased an item which included embroidery from Sarah during this time frame, the chances are I embroidered it.

As my confidence grew in my own skills, I began sketching and “doodling” often. My journals, church bulletins, and notebooks are always filled with doodles. Some sketches may never see the light of day, but others make it into my heirloom designs. Some are original while others are influenced or incorporate Sarah’s embroidery designs. To remove Sarah’s influence is simply impossible. My entire heirloom sewing experience has been guided by her and those from her shop. For nearly twenty years, the heirloom items that I created were for Sarah and sewn to her specifications. That influence carries on into my embroidery designs.

For instance, the embroidery design (picture above) incorporates Sarah’s original design from her book, French Hand Sewing, Volume 1, page 74 (picture below). For a more feminine look, I switched out the daisies to roses. My adaptation (picture 1) of this design was for a yoke of an heirloom dress and I needed additional width for the spacing allowed on a yoke so I added the two roses on either side of the design. I have used this design and embellished it even further on bodices and center panels of bubbles and shirts.

In regards to the embroidery that I use for my heirloom business, please let me share with you the following. First, I do have Sarah’s permission to use her embroidery designs in my professional business and to embellish and adjust them. Second, many of the embroidery designs that I incorporate in my heirloom items are my own original designs and are meant for my exclusive use. It has come to my attention that another heirloom business has chosen to copy my version of the embroidery design pictured and it truly breaks my heart. I am often told that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, but as hard as I try, I find it difficult to feel flattered. Instead, the feeling that I have is the same one I experienced when our home was broken into a few years ago. A sense of violation. We had worked hard to acquire the possessions that we had and in a few minutes they were gone. Someone felt that could come into our home and take whatever items they wanted to sell and to profit from them. In this case of another heirloom business using my embroidery design, I see no difference. It is a shame and in this fallen world I know that I should expect nothing less.

For those sewing for loved ones, I WELCOME your questions and I would TRULY love the opportunity to help you create heirloom items for those special children in your life. It is my deepest desire to share my knowledge and to keep this amazing art form growing. A huge THANK YOU to those individuals who have asked my permission to duplicate a design and to those fellow heirloom designers/businesses who have chosen not to copy my work (even when asked) and who instead have chosen to stand firm on their own unique skills, design sense, and talents!!


Until the past few years, I had little knowledge of the heirloom world that is out there. My world consisted only of Sarah Howard Stone and those around her. To those new friends that I have come to know and love THANK YOU for your support, love, and encouragement!! You are an amazing blessing!!!


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