Introducing: For the Love of Hand Stitching with Jan Constantine

I have been a fan of Jan Constantine’s work ever since I first saw her, now iconic, “Love” cushion a few years ago. Jan launched her hand-embroidery business in 2002 after leaving a successful career in fashion design to raise her two daughters in the Cheshire, UK countryside. In just a few years, her business grew from a cottage industry, to an established brand.

constantine_lovecushion

Jan Constantine's iconic "Love" cushion, courtesy of janconstantine.com

In all of her work, she captures a sense of graphic sophistication that kind of hits you over the head with its message. Whether it is patriotism, love, springtime or a day by the sea, Jan can turn an ethereal feeling into a tangible representation that combines fine handwork with bold artistry.

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For me, what is so exciting about Jan’s work is that she works almost exclusively with felt and uses just a few basic embroidery stitches to bring her work to life. Never has the blanket stitch stitch looked so glamorous.

And while the blanket stitch is used in most of the 21 projects included in this book, only eight other basic stitches need to be mastered in order to embellish everything from a cushion, to a needle case, to bags and more.

The step-by-step instructions are illustrated with fabulous watercolors and the projects are showcased in stylish settings through the vision of lifestyle photographer, Caroline Arber.

click to enlarge

The book’s final project is one I really pushed for: a patchwork (of course!) that uses 30 of the motifs from projects within the book that have been combined into a full sized blanket.

Felt, embroidery, handwork…with all of these graphic projects that combine three of the hottest trends in decorating and design, what’s not to love?

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7 Comments

  1. lesley
    Posted August 27, 2011 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    Love this style but can never find wool fabric as beautiful as she uses….not the same with the felt I get :-(

  2. Posted July 27, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Suzanne for your lovely introduction to my new book and also your appreciation of my work. I’m thrilled to have my book published in the USA as well as the UK and so pleased to be a small part of the strong and thriving hand stitching circles of America. Love and thanks to you all, Jan Constantine.

  3. Posted July 13, 2011 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    I am an absolutely massive fan of Jan Constantine, her work reminds me of things i find in little trinket shops. Her “London” cushions are gorgeous!

  4. Posted June 15, 2011 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Jan’s work is beautiful! I was intrigued by the title of the book because I am long-time, “will-be-forever” lover of handwork. :-) I find it so relaxing and just enjoy seeing the end results and knowing it was created with my hands, not a machine. Not that I don’t like machine quilting…. I just love the beauty of handstitching!

  5. Posted June 14, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    Love that bedspread, beautiful piece. I used to work with felt for quilting and then gave it up, thinking is was cheesy, lol. I have seen some nice work with felt lately, maybe I need to finish the project I started in the 80′s;)

    Debbie

  6. Elizabeth
    Posted June 14, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    GORGEOUS! I will have to pick this one up!

  7. Posted June 14, 2011 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    lovely projects and especially like the Union Jack pillow! thanks for the introduction to this book!

One Trackback

  • By Celebrate the Diamond Jubilee! on May 4, 2012 at 8:01 am

    [...] the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee just around the corner, it’s time to pull out For the Love of Hand Stitching by Jan Constantine and start sewing. As Jan is well-known for her projects that celebrate the [...]

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