Mary Corbet

writer and founder


I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Marian Medallion Church Embroidery – Project Index


Amazon Books

The Marian Medallion Project began in the summer of 2011 and was completed in May, 2012. The whole journey was chronicled here on Needle ‘n Thread, so that readers could follow along with progress.

Marian Medallion Ecclesiastical Embroidery Project

From beginning to end, every step of the project was covered (including mistakes!) so that we could all learn together on it. It was a fun adventure!

The Marian Medallion Project E-Book

You can now find The Marian Medallion Project available as an e-book here on Needle ‘n Thread, thanks to the digital formatting skills of Cindy Russell.

The e-book is in PDF format (51MB), and is delivered via a download link in your e-mail. It is 287 pages long, completely cross-referenced and interlinked throughout, with a clickable table of contents and index. Instructional and technique articles that were referred to in the original series of website posts are also included in the e-book, which can be read on your computer or any device that will read PDFs.

There are many advantages to having the entire project compiled in one document, not least among them the fact that the pages are in print-friendly format, so you can print for personal use a page, a chapter, or even the whole book!

You can find The Marian Medallion Project e-book available in the Needle ‘n Thread shop, where you’ll find a complete description of the e-book, plus photos.

Marian Medallion Church Embroidery Project

If you’d like to read through this project from beginning to end, here are all the articles that cover different aspects of the development of this embroidery project.

The list of articles include everything related to this project, including the first start on it. I’ve also included links to any articles that are related to this project, including those about threads and tools and related projects.

Medallion Embroidery Pattern

The design for the Medallion Project can be found in my e-book, Church Patterns, as well as in The Marian Medallion Project e-book.

Articles Related to the Medallion Project

Goldwork & Silk Tudor-Style Rose – this is a list of step-by-step articles on stitching the roses on the medallion
Initial Design Process for the Medallion
Setting Up & Framing Up the Medallion Project
First Stitches on the Monogram & Stem Stitch Notes
Using a Laying Tool with Silk Thread
Hand Care when Stitching with Silk Thread
Progress on Filling the Central Monogram
How to Tighten a Slate Frame with Chopsticks
Subtle Contrast: Darker Shade, Fewer Strands of Silk
Taking Embroidery Off the Frame
Using Hanks of Silk instead of Skeins on Large Projects
Millenium Frame Review (Switching to a New Embroidery Frame)
Keeping the Medallion Project Clean
Basting Ground Fabric to Lining Fabric (Linen to Muslin)
Flat Silk & Goldwork – the Background Begins
Vermicelli Goldwork – lots of tips and information
Step Your Stitches (keeping stitches vertical on curved areas)
Silk Progress: Tips on Flat Silk & Tools
Laying Flat Silk and Direction of Filling
How Much Thread? Estimating Flat Silk for the Background
Close to Finished with Vermicelli Goldwork
Finished Vermicelli Goldwork & a View of the Back
Raising Stitching on the Monogram
Long & Short Stitch Filling over Felt
Cutting Felt Shapes for Padding Embroidery
Progress on the Monogram – Long & Short Stitch Filling
Progress on the Monogram Filling – long & short stitch talk
Fleur de Lis – a little shading
Both Fleurs de Lis – plus some questions answered
Completed Long & Short Stitch Filling on the Monogram
Outlining the Monogram with Silk & Gold
Using a Curved Needle to Anchor Threads
Lizardine & Silk Thread, with Resources
Goldwork Outline on Monogram Finished
Beginning the Outer Ring with Stem Stitch Filling
Goldwork Dots on the Medallion
Filled Goldwork Dots
More Goldwork Dots, Lined Up
The Outer Edge – full view with some goldwork dots
Adding Japanese Real Gold Thread
Think Pink: Adjusting One Color Area
Goldwork Filling Progress
Couching Pearl Purl on an Outline
The Goldwork Continues!
Goldwork Tip: Sharp Corners
Plunging Goldwork Threads in Small Spaces
Stitching Outlines on the Tudor Roses
Using a Mellor with Goldwork
The Back & Changing the Order of Work on the Roses
Outlines for the Goldwork Dots – pearl purl worked in tiny rings
The Resilience of Linen – removing goldwork dots
Finished Roses and More Goldwork Dots
The Finished Medallion!
Goldwork Tip: Attaching Grecian Twist
Hand Embroidery: Purpose in Relation to Cost
Appliquéing the Medallion to the Back of the Vestment


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(57) Comments

    1. Hi, Marie – Yes, it’ll be available soon. It’s in a collection of patterns I’m putting on the website as an e-book. Fingers crossed, that’ll be out in a couple weeks – I have about 10 more patterns to add to it.

      Thanks for asking!


    1. Hi, Jackie – sorry I missed your question somehow. Yes, a laying tool is an actual tool – it’s a long smooth “stick” (mine’s made out of stainless steel). I’ve got a video tutorial on how to use a laying tool here: https://needlenthread.wpengine.com/2010/11/how-to-use-a-laying-tool-video.html and you can see a picture of one (similar to the one I use) here: https://needlenthread.wpengine.com/2012/01/tools-for-hand-embroidery.html in the first photo. Hope that helps! ~MC

  1. Thanks for the update Mary, and my you have been busy, it’s looking fabulous. I will be interested in your answer to Jacquelines’s question (above) as I too am wondering the very same thing!

  2. Mary you should be jubilant.
    Even I am and I don’t know you but I have watched with great interest and pleasure,your progress.
    Thank you for showing the different angles it shows the work to its fullest glory.
    Thank you most sincerely for sharing.
    H and K for you.

  3. Dear Mary,

    I would absolutely LOVE to read about your workspace and time and project management ideas!!! It would NOT put me to sleep, that’s for sure, and I think many other people would feel the same way. I am having a very challenging time trying to fit needlework into my life and could use any advice you are willing to share!


  4. What about raised stem stitch? I used it for a horse’s tail one time and loved it. If it’s not one you’re familiar with, you put down a base of spaced laid stitches, maybe 1/4″ apart, then work your stem stitch over that not stitching into the fabric. To make it even more raised looking you can pack extra rows of stitching in after you’ve got good coverage since the needle pierces the fabric only at the ends of the rows. The only problem for me was that I had to start a new row at the top each time. I’m not sure that turning and going back would give you the same texture as having all the rows in the same direction. The laid stitches would change angles slightly when going around curved design elements.

  5. Thank you Mary for the laying tool explanation and video. I must have been asleep on the tenth day of Christmas! :-). I’m always amazed at your wealth of knowledge and sharing. I love the info on felting, especially since I spin. Thank you. (ps: I tried the pommegranate link for a kit, but the link is gone…maybe they sold out, it is so pretty! ). Jackie

  6. Mary my dear you are on the way now.
    Yep I think you will have more flexibility with the long and short. Looking good so far.

    A hint on felt.
    Fluffy wool felt. I only like wool.
    Some people think I am a bit pinikity when storing my ‘stuff’. Well I know where it is and it will be in good order.
    I keep my larger pieces in a folder with an expansion spine and between acid free paper(because the wool on wool makes it fluff) then I have a book sitting on top of that. Not too heavy so as to compress all.
    My smaller bits are not wasted either. When I have about a sandwich paper bag full I soak it all for about a day and then change the water and boil the lot up and blend in old blender make a another sheet of felt. I was taught to be frugal, but mainly I do like science and experimenting. Why be wasteful. Ok I have some interesting colours but all usable. Could dye it brown or black.

    Looking forward to the next update Mary.
    I am waiting to see what you do with the tiny circles.

    Well done so far.

  7. Mary, this is absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been watching the progress with great anticipation!
    Will this be for a chasuble?

    1. Bonjour Marie, aujourd’hui, j’ai commencé à broder mon ensemble lingerie d’autel et nappe d’autel avec cette motif pour ma paroisse. Je vais utiliser DMC satin bleu, rose, blanc et or sur toile de lin.
      J’espère d’utiliser les techniques que vous nous a enseignées ici.
      Je voulais acheter le catalogue, mais je n’ai pas compte Paypal, si vous acceptez me donner autre alternative pour acheteur votre ebook, je suis toujours intéressé pour votre travail. Merci.

  8. I love following this project. I’m learning SO much! Thank you for sharing it. What I haven’t found is some overall background (and I may have missed it). This piece is destined for …(a garment? an altar piece? …). The monogram represents (?…). Were there restrictions or guidelines for the colors, or the elements, or the size/shape? Thanks!

    1. Mary, I haven’t been on your blog in awhile but I love how you have arranged things. I will be using some of your tutorials soon. Thanks for writing such a great blog.

  9. Oh Mary I got so tense waiting to see what you would do with that outer ring. I couldn’t believe you would have to reverse stitch that whole area of stitching, I was so relieved that you left it as it was. It is so uplifting to see such beautiful work.I haven’t been stitching for long as my teacher at high school told me I was useless at embroidery so I didn’t start until I was 48 years old.I would love to go back to her and tell her she was talking nonsense. Thanks again Joy

  10. Well done Mary,well done.
    From a distance it does look lovely as you say.
    Up close isn’t so bad either my dear.
    All things considered, I reckon it is more than just good, it is coming along so beautifully and I wait for the next update.

    Have a great weekend.

  11. I agree with your second decision. I went back through some of your progress pictures and the all gold circles will fit beautifully.

    Doreen from Maine

  12. Your whole project has been interesting to say the least. But I think your plan to slow down
    a bit is a very good idea for everyone. This has been a delightful “show and tell”. It is totally beautiful, thanks for sharing.

  13. I am really intrigued by the Medallion project. I love seeing every new part you create. And as far as the “slow work” aspect, I believe that the process is just as important as the product. I love the time to be still, to contemplate what I’m doing, to think and solve all sorts of issues silently! So I vote for you to show us every step of the way. Start to finish.
    Karen Olson from Minnesota

  14. I love seeing whatever you have to show! My question as I watch the medallion develop is whom is it for? Are you making a church vestment?

  15. Where will we be able to see this beautiful work you are doing? Please say it is local and not being sent to Rome! Oh, do they know how lucky they are in getting this beautiful handwork? You are an amazing woman! Please keep on doing what you do best here! I enjoy your blog each day… Yours, Collette

  16. I have a question. I have been enjoying your medallion project since you started it. It is really beautiful. What a lot of hard work. My question is after it is done will you applique it onto a vestment? It seems like that would be the way. You aren’t doing the thing on the entire vestment are you? Growin up Catholic I have seen lots of vestments but never thought about how they were made.

  17. Hello Mary,
    Your medallion is quite beautiful and forgive me if you’ve already answered my question, but I don’t see it anywhere.

    Why are you making this, for whom or where will it end up and in what format? garment, wall hanging, etc?

    Thank you and thanks for sharing, again I don’t know how you get so much done ALL the time!

  18. I just peeked in here and suddenly realized that this project contains an incredible amount of valuable information and guidance. It could be a book all by itself – maybe an e-book to start with, or with a little editing, a dead tree volume with gorgeous big pictures. Either way, you have a huge base of followers already, some of whom would happily become buyers.

  19. Mary, I hate to say it, but the outline sets .it off! You need to finish the outline girl. It will make a huge difference, you know it will.

  20. The Medallion Project
    Congratulations Mary! It is absolutely stunning! Fantastic work and I loved following your progress.
    Karen In Canada

  21. You must be so well pleased, to put it mildly, to have such a beautiful piece of needlework all finished. I have followed the progress and your diligence each time – the adding and taking away, wondering, and then admiring your decisions.

    It is beautiful, and know the recepient will be proud indeed of all your work and thoughtfulness on the celebration day.

    Thankyou for sharing with us. It has been a delight. Peggy

  22. Hi Mary, Just a quick note to congratulate you on the completion of your Medalion Project. It has turned out really stunning and thanks for taking us along your journey. Have learnt some good tips along the way. My question to you is now what is the next project? Take care.

  23. Absolutely stunning!

    Thank you for showing us your progress on this project. Hearing what you were thinking and doing was both interesting and encouraging.

  24. Dear Mary
    Thank you so much for sharing your progress on the Medallion Project. It is truly beautiful, beautiful enough for the intended purpose. Your daily e-mails teach us, inform us, inspire us and provide a bright spot every day.
    What a treasure you are.

  25. Bravo! It is Beautiful! Can we see it once it is sewn onto the vestment? How very lucky is the one who will wear it. It makes me want to stitch something for my Parish Priest. 🙂
    God Bless you, Mary!

  26. Hi Mary,
    The medallion is beautiful. You said you didn’t get a photo of the back of the chasuble. Is it a commission? If it is will you get a photo of the Priest wearing it? That would be wonderful. I usually ask Priests for a photo of them wearing anything I’ve made for them. I then have a portfolio.

  27. Mary,
    Your finished project of the Medallion is simply beautiful. It’s hard to be proud when you are doing something for the Lord but I am sure He would understand. I am anxious to see a picture of the whole project. May I ask where and what it is for?

  28. All I can say is that it is absolutly breath taking, you should be very proud of your amazing work! I LOVE it!

  29. Mary,that is stunning. How joyous it will be for you when you see the chasuble worn by the recipient of all your skills and dedicated work. God Bless you for sharing the project with us.

  30. Hello Mary. I have been following the Medallion adventure pretty much from the beginning. You need to know from me that I think it to be exquisitely beautiful. It has a feeling of peace & completeness. It needs nothing more & nothing less. It is an amazing talent you have & you have created a piece of embroidery that will travel through the years & eventually become something that people will be in awe of. Congratulations. P.S. ZIpper foot. Scary. Yes please, I WILL do the applique.

  31. Hello Mary,

    I also have a pair of trestles made for me in a Chronic Care facility by those who were barely able to move any muscle or joint. This was about 30 years ago. They have functioned well but I do not have room in this house to keep them in constant use and so have sort of retired them. For now anyway. What I did find really helpful, was the old wood board I placed across the far end of the trestles on the far side of my work. On it, I kept all my tools and threads and stuff smaller than a book. Nowadays, a purchased wood shelf would work well and if covered in a flanellette wrap or sleeve. it would not slide on the trestles and nor would the tools etc slide off onto the floor. Whenever I left it, I would throw a cotton cover over everything and add two yardsticks forming an X. This kept the cats off my frame and work. A sleeping cat can play havoc with the tension on your stitching fabric. The trestles we used at RSN were so old they could have been preVictorian! Just kidding. Ann

  32. Dear Mary!
    It is absolutely a great joy to see this beautiful compliation of your gorgeous Marian Medallion Project! I followed the blog and everytime I was amazed about your skill – not only skill but real mastership! I like very much to embroider and i think, I’m not bad, but compared with your workmanship I feel like a beginner! I admire you, and I admire your blog, always to read something new and interesting- and no, you don’t talk too much! I enjoy your style of writing, it’s so lively! and if it was not so very far I would very much like to attend a class with you. But as this is not possible I stay looking forward to the news here. I wish you manymany happy hours with stitching and embroidering and I hope you will always continue sharing your thoughts and workshops!

  33. Oh, my…your work is exquisite! I happened upon your site through craftgossip.com; sadly, I don’t have time to fully enjoy your links. For now! But I will definitely remember your beautiful Marian medallion – as inspiration and for meditation – and will be back as soon as I can be!

  34. Hello,

    It’s your pest! I really Like this. Since not doing embroidery for 33 years and you have all these new tricks to make it even more beautiful, do you think I should give it a try?


    1. Hi, Sandra! I think you should practice on some smaller pieces first, definitely, before launching into a project like this one. It took me around 500 hours to do, and it is finicky in parts – probably not something you’d want to begin again on. But after you get the juices flowing and build some confidence with some practice pieces, then sure!

  35. Oh my, that is exquisite! So generous of you to share your creative details and how-to information. God bless your work..

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