Friday, August 2, 2013

Summer Bloggin' - interview with Sophie Long

Summer Bloggin' on &Stitches

Another Summer Bloggin' post - this one with a teeny bit of a royal flavour! Thank you to Christine from Chrissie Crafts for putting together this interview with Sophie Long where she talks about making a career out of embroidery.

Chrissie lives between the North and South Downs in the UK and blogs about her creative pursuits with embroidery, crochet, sewing and baking.

Blog: Chrissie Crafts

Sophie granduated from the Royal School of Needlework in 2008, with expertise in more than 30 hand embroidery techniques, including silk shading and goldwork. Find out more about Sophie, her courses and her work at has a keen eye and a very steady hand for stitching. Steady enough that it was part of the team that embroidered the wedding dress worn by Kate Middleton when she married Prince William! 

CC: How did Mastering come to be, and what do you hope to achieve with it?
SL: Mr X Stitch recommended me to write the book, and the publishers contacted me. The whole process was pretty quick – the publishers provided me with a contents page, which I adjusted to ensure that it contained all of the most important stitches. I then spent time writing the book and researching the images to use. I also had an image researcher to ensure that we included the best embroiderers from around the world. My dream was to write a book, but I never imagined it would happen while I was in my 20s!
I hope that my book inspires a new generation. The aim was to show traditional techniques in more contemporary applications – often this is done with contemporary designs and colours.

CC: I know you are sworn to secrecy and cannot divulge all the details involved in creating The World’s Most Famous Wedding Dress (Sophie wasn’t even able to tell her mother about the project until the day of the wedding!), but what can you tell us?
SL: Tiny pieces of lace were appliqu├ęd onto the fabric of the dress to create the design. The team worked on large frames, with a number of embroiderers working on each frame. It is a huge privilege to say I worked on the dress! Everyone at the RSN is very proud of what we achieved.

CC: Back to reality after all the fairytale fun of the wedding dress – tell us about your day-to-day work.
SL: My working life changes every week. I split my time between teaching and working commissions. My teaching takes place around the London and Surrey areas, for private groups and organisations. Some classes are one day, others run for weeks or months.

Embroidery has allowed me to travel a lot, more than I ever expected. I have taught in the US, and on board Swan Hellenics cruise ships, travelling to a range of places, teaching passengers along the way!
As for commissions, my work has included repairing a vintage wedding veil, designing the embroidery for a wedding dress, fixing antique embroideries and a recent commission for a giant piece of ribbon work.

The latest embroidery book on the shelves is a modern tome that sings out to the new generation of stitchers worldwide. Mastering the Art of Embroidery was compiled and written by Sophie Long, a graduate of the Royal School of Needlework and professional embroidery instructor.

The comprehensive reference book is chock full of stitches, from surface embroidery and embellishment to stumpwork and three-dimensional embroidery. Complete with well-illustrated techniques, detailed explanations and contemporary photographs, it is a fresh and welcomed addition to books on the topic.

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