There are two stories connected to the coat of many colours, one from the bible and one from Dolly Parton. Their meaning is similar in a way, but also different.
In the bible, the coat of many colours is of Joseph. Joseph is the favourite son of Jacob because he reminds him of his beloved wife. Because of that, Jacob gave him a splendid coat of many colours. This made Joseph his brothers so jealous that they threw him in a well and sold him off as a slave, telling his father he died. In this story, the Coat is a splendid garment, also called the technicolour Dreamcoat in the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, and a reason for jealousy.
In Dolly Parton her case, the coat is given to her by her mother. The coat was lovingly made by her mom from rags because her family was very poor. Dolly is proud of the Coat her mother made for her. She feels the love of her mother in every stitch it took to sew the coat. However, her classmates make fun of her because the coat shows that she is poor.
The stories are different because one is about material riches, and the other one is about immaterial riches. Each story has what the other lacks.
However, the stories can be combined as well. The coat of many colours acts as a double-edged sword for the recipient. On the one hand, it is a show of love from the giver. On the other hand, it also causes judgement from other people. To both Joseph and Dolly Parton the judgement is worth the value of the gift of love.
The embroidery patch below is my interpretation of the Coat of Many Colours. Also, given and made with love.
How the embroidery patch came to be
First, I wanted to make an actual coat of many colours, however, my tailoring skills are limited. I decided to make an embroidery patch first and see if I will make the coat later. The design started with a coat and grew from there.
Materials and techniques used
- Fabric scraps
- Embroidery hoop
- Neglected floss, also called leftover floss from other projects
- Needles, small and big crewel embroidery needles
- A plan
I like to use scraps in all my projects. It is a more sustainable way of working and also holds extra meaning. Instead of using fabric scraps to sew a coat this embroidery patch is made from both embroidery floss scraps and fabric scraps. The red fabric is a piece of old pants of mine which suited me very well. The patch is for my boyfriend and now he will always carry a piece of me with him.
The embroidery stitches I used are: chain stitch, satin stitch, backstitch and split stitch. I used a different amount of strands of floss for different elements of the patch to create a 3d effect. Also, I used shiny embroidery floss and regular floss.
Detail pictures of the embroidery patch
This is the part I finished first. It reminds me of a dalmatian dog. The coat is made with satin stitches. The outline is done with chain stitches. I blended purple and dark blue floss for the outline for an interesting effect.
The shining star in a star
I love the stars. They symbolise hope and a light in dark times to me. The silver star is a shining star foresaying a bright future.
The embroidered name banner
A patch must be named. Now everyone knows who it belongs to.
And of course the back of the embroidery patch
Some people are ashamed to show the back of their embroidery, also called the embroidery butt. They fear a messy back must mean the front is messy as well. I don’t believe in that. Therefore, I make it a point to show my butt whenever I can. This is the last time you will ever see the back of this piece though because now I’m showing you how I covered up my butt.
How to turn the embroidery into a patch
- First I added the attachment system. If anyone knows how to call those specific pins for badges I would love to be told. I haven’t got a clue.
2. I am a quilter, and that shows even in embroidery pieces. I covered up the back of the embroidery piece with a piece of fabric. To attach the two layers I quilted through the two layers with thread matching the embroidery. I see many people glue fabric to the back to finish a patch, but I don’t own that kind of glue and I like to avoid buying materials whenever I can.
In the picture, you see how I ‘basted‘ the layers together with some pins.
3. To secure the edges I folded the red fabric to the back.
4. And here is another picture of another back. I was fighting with the red checkered fabric a bit so it doesn’t look as neat as I hoped. In the picture, you can also see where I quilted through the embroidery patch.
Conclusion: The finished embroidery patch
And that’s it! My Coat of Many Colours embroidery patch is finished. I am super pleased with the outcome. Stitching this patch was a lot of fun. Also, I loved the process of designing while I was stitching. My hope is that there will be many more projects like this in the future. This kind of pieces really suitable for commissions. If you are interested drop me a message (BellaGBearArt@gmail.com).
Some questions for you:
- Have you ever made an embroidery patch? If yes, do you have any tips?
- Which story do you think of when you hear ‘Coat of Many Colours’?
- What do you do with leftover embroidery floss?
Do you want to know more?
- How to turn a drawing into cross stitch
- 10 years from now I’ll be a tree
- Storytime with a smart cross-stitch dragon, a clever upcycle and a theft
The hand-quilt-along, HQAL
This Hand Quilt Along is an opportunity for hand quilters and piecers to share and motivate one another. We post every three weeks, to show our progress and encourage one another. If you have a hand quilting project and would like to join our group contact Kathy at the link below.
See my DeviantArt, Facebook page or Instagram (username: bella.g.bear.art) for more artwork and WIPs. You can also follow my blog by clicking on the button on the left or by filling in your email address. There will be a monthly update at the end of every month and a new blog post every Sunday or Monday.