Thursday, 17 May 2018

STUMPWORK TUTORIAL - Behind the Neck and Clothing

Previous parts of the tutorial can be found here:

Part 5 - Behind the Neck and Clothing

Here is the fifth part of a tutorial for stumpwork portraits, inspired by Fay Maxwell, whose excellent book Ladies with Hatitude I warmly recommend.


If you want a scarf, necklace or collar to go behind the neck, this is how to add it.

 Tie a short length of banana silk around the neck,

or a bit of ribbon,

or a string of beads.

Here is how I used a scrap of fabric.
Place it behind the neck,

  fold it over,

and fasten with a bead.

To make a coat with a collar,
fold the 'collar' and turn over

 Insert another piece of fabric for a dress inside the coat.

Turn in the raw edges. 

(As you can see, there is no need to cut the scraps to shape. By turning in the raw edges you will get a bit of bulk and that adds to the 'padded stumpwork' look.)

Make a simple ruffed collar by gathering a strip of fabric.

I finally dressed this portrait like this:
I took a scrap of fabric in an odd shape,

 folded in the raw edge at the top and made a V-shaped fold for the neckline.

 I pinned in the raw edges on the sides to make 'shoulders'.

I slipped a ribbon behind the neck.

Before doing anything else,
I finished the face by stitching down the neck and the chin to the background fabric, 

 and evened out her chin line. The lady got a facelift!

Then I stitched the sides and top of the 'dress'.

A smart way to decorate the clothes is to use embroidery stitches.
I selected the Basque Stitch

to make a fringed edge at the bottom.

The ribbon was fixed round the neck with a French Knot, and cut.

Next Up, Part 6 - Hairdressing. The lady has an appointment with the hairdresser's on Saturday. Until then, have fun with the clothes.


  1. Adding fringe was a great idea!

  2. Replies
    1. A smart way of using up your odd pieces of scrap fabric, don't you think?

  3. Love that she had a “face lift”!
    Loving all these finishing touches!
    The lady with the hat looks like Prunella Scales in Fawlty Towers!
    Barbara xx

    1. Ha, ha! Yes, I remember Sybil Fawlty and her nylon wigs, endless telephone calls and sarcastic quarrels with John Cleese!

  4. It's astonishing to see what ingenuity and tiny scraps of fabric can produce - and it's such fun to exercise that ingenuity, isn't it!

    1. Yes, I love to transform a bit of 'good-for-nothing' waste fabric into a make-believe garment.

  5. Thanks for all the examples of the fabrics you could use for the clothes. I have been hunting for my book since you started this tutorial. It miraculously appeared yesterday.
    xx, Carol

    1. Oh, that is good news! As you can see in the book, Fay uses the smallest, most frayed pieces and just scrounges them up into collars. My portraits are usually more 'properly' dressed, sometimes with realistic clothes (e.g. the portrait I used for the chapter on lips, where she is wearing a folk costume).
      I hope you will make use of your book!

  6. Truly a work of art! This is my first encounter with stumpwork, but now I'm intrigued.

    1. Hi! I hope you have noticed how easy it is to make a free-form stumpwork portrait. Why not give it a try!

  7. You have the patience of a saint to make that.

    1. Making the tutorial? with the photos, you mean? Yes it was time consuming. To make the portrait was easy-peasy!


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