Bargello Biscornu Designed and Stitched by Merrilyn Heazlewood.

Front and Back photos of finished project.


Following on from her profile in our last Blog, this Project by Merrilyn Heazlewood has used several different Ribbons, Threads and Needles to produce a fabulous result.

We encourage all of you to try it personally or use it for classes.

Merrilyn has given permission for the project to be used by all of our readers.

Full instructions together with photos and graphs follow .............

French Cotton Lace and Swiss Cotton Embroidery Lengths.


This is the first of our series on different aspects of Heirloom Sewing. This time we talk about the looms that are used to manufacture The French Cotton Laces and Swiss Cotton Embroideries we sell.

How Long are the Looms?


The easy answer is that typically Swiss Embroidery looms are 10 yards (9.2 metres) long, give or take an

inch (2.54 cms), but there are newer machines that are 15 yards (13.8 metres) in length.


The easy answer is that French Lace machines are 12 yards (11.0 metres) long, but there are some machines where

lace lengths are 15-18 yards (13.7 - 16.5 metres) in length when they are loomed vertically rather than horizontally.


Swiss Cotton Embroideries.


In actuality, the Schiffili embroidery machine is 9.2 metres, which equates to about 10 yards in length. Swiss embroidery looms stitch horizontally.

 As the machine stitches, the now embroidered fabric - in Bear Threads case it is Bearissima Batiste - is rolled over. Then these insertions or edgings are cut apart, inspected, and carded to Bear Threads specifications.

It is obviously easier to cut apart insertions, whereas the edgings, with many scallops, are much more difficult to cut cleanly.

The Swiss embroidery industry is strictly controlled by the Government. There is a tariff per stitch count.

That means that every time the needle enters the fabric there is a Governmental charge. 

Flaws are also governed by the country and they allow 1 in 10 flaws - that is 1 flaw in 10 yards (9.2 metres).


French Cotton Laces.


Levers lace machines are made of cast iron and can shake the ground of the building housing them when in use!

Lace lengths are normally 12 yards (11.0 metres) in length as this is the length of the loom.

The lace is usually loomed - woven - horizontally. Notice that by the terminology used the lace is Woven, where the Swiss embroideries are Embroidered on prewoven fabric.

Since the lace is much more fragile, especially the Malines, there are often times that a manufacturer chooses to cut out a flaw, leaving a lace length of less than 12 yards (11.0 metres), sometimes as little as 5 or 6 yards (4.5 or 5.5 metres).

There is no standard in France for how many flaws are allowed. You get what you get, although flaws are not common.

The simple moral of the story is to always buy more than you think is the exact amount you need.

We will continue our series on Heirloom next month.



We asked Merrilyn Heazlewood, an internationally renowned hand embroiderer, designer, author and teacher to put together a project for us and allow us to include a brief profile on her.. We thank Merrilyn for her time and effort and her project will be in our next Blog - keep watching.

Merrilyn's work regularly features in publications in Australia, U.S.A. and New Zealand.

Merrilyn has an artistic heritage and a strong passion for hand work which resulted in her opening her 1st needlework shop in 1978.

This was the starting point for a long creative and rewarding journey with needle, threads and fabric........

We are also including a NEW project from Merrilyn as part of our next Blog.



Thank You for visiting this, our first Blog entry.

We will be have lots of subjects in our Blogs including, but not limited to:

* Projects

* Profiles of Personalities in the industry

* Articles of relevance to various aspects of our business/ industry

* Cotton On Creations product profiles

We hope you enjoy our articles.

Please do not hesitate to comment or make suggestions. Just go to the comments box below.

Alan and Margaret