Have you ever heard of a biscornu? Up until a week ago I hadn't, but now I've discovered they are really fun to make. I made this little navy and cream biscornu scissor keeper.
I came across the whole concept of a biscornu on Instagram. Someone I follow shared a photo, I'm afraid I don't remember who, and after a quick google to find out what they are I knew I NEEDED to have a go. Just do a quick image google search for biscornu and you will see some amazing examples, very intricately embroidered, lots in cross stitch as well as other types of embroidery. Some people add beads and all sorts. I'm quite an 'instant fix' crafter so I wanted a design I could do quickly. The rest of the family were all away this week doing various things so I had a few days to myself. A big old binge watch of The Crown was planned and I thought this would be perfect to do at the same time.
I read up a little on who to make a biscornu: the number of stitches on each side should be an even number, the design it generally more fancy on the top, you want the design set out so it shows properly in the right places when it's joined up. Other than that it seems you can do what you want. I've done some blackwork in the past, years ago, and I remembered loving it so I got some check paper and a highlighter out and drew out a simple blackwork design. That sounds so straightforward! I had to pause episode 1 of The Crown as I messed about drawing about 6 flowers until I got one I was happy with. THEN I was ready to begin.
To make your own Embroidered Mini Biscornu with a blackwork design you will need:
- 2 x squares of 14 count Aida - each 12cm (4.75") square
- 2 x tiny 1.5cm (.75") squares of Aida to reinforce the button (optional & not photographed)
- A skein of embroidery thread - I used DMC 3823 which is a cream colour (I mainly chose than as I already had plenty, you could use whatever colour you like)
- Embroidery needle
- 32cm (12.5") length of matching cord or thin ribbon
- Fibre fill
- A small button
- The design sheet here
When making your biscornu you do need to count carefully, the embroidery must be exactly square or it wont join to make the lovely shape in the end.
Work the design on the squares of Aida using 2 strands of the embroidery thread throughout. I started my threads with a knot, normally a no no but as this will be stuffed I figured it will be fine.
Start by finding the middle of the fabric and the middle of the design and just count out to one of the stems. I worked all my blackwork design by doing a running stitch then filling in the gaps.
When you work the border, do this in proper backstitch. Make sure you secure the beginning and end of the backstitch border really securely too. It's important as you use the backstitch to join the pieces together.
You'll end up with something that looks like this:
Give them a trim, leaving about a cm or so seam allowance, and trim off the corners too - just not TOO close to the stitching. You just want to remove a bit of the bulk.
Now you are going to join them together. This is the fun bit when the biscornu takes it shape. You do this by doing a whip or overcast stitch through the back stitch border on each piece - that's why they needed to be strong and secure.
I must warn you I do my overcast stitch from right to left, as you'll see in the photos. I have no idea if that's normal or not. If you do yours the other way just reverse my instructions!
You start with one of the corners of the bottom piece in the exact centre of one of the sides on the top piece. And then you simple stitch through a backstitch from the top and the bottom at the same time making sure you don't miss any. That way when you get to the corner of the top piece you will be exactly half way along the side on the bottom piece. It's hard to describe in words, I've taken a load of photos to try to explain. It's really not difficult and makes sense once the pieces are in your hand.
Mark the centre of one side of the top piece with a pin. Start a length of thread - using 2 strands of the same embroidery thread you've been using. Don't make it too long, embroidery thread can wear, get weak, fray and even snap if you have it too long. You can always fasten off and join another length. About 20-25 cm is about right. Fasten it to the seam allowance right by the centre pin and then bring it up just above the first backstitch.
Then start by stitching down through that first stitch on the top and the first stitch of the bottom.
Then just carry along the side, don't miss any stitches, don't do any stitches twice and you should be perfect. When you get to the corner just turn the work and carry on.
When you just have 2 sides left to join pause. Take the tiny 1.5cm squares of Aida and pop them inside right in the middle where the button is going to go. Hold them in place with a pin on the outside.
Now stuff the biscornu with fibre fill until it is fairly firm but can still be squished in the middlle when you add the button.
Continue joining the side and stop again when you have just a tiny gap.
Tie a knot in the loose end of the cord or ribbon to form a loop and poke the knot inside the gap you have left. Then finish sewing the side securing the code as securely as you can.
To finish you just need to add the button. You can remove the pins at this point, and sew the button on securely, sewing right through from front to back. I guess you could add a button on the bottom too if you like, I just left a neat little cross on the middle of the bottom.
That's it, your beautiful biscornu is finished. It can be a mini pincushion as well as a lovely little scissor keeper.
These adorable little unicorn embroidery scissors are our daughter's. I've had to borrow them for this photo shoot as I've temporarily misplaced my own stork embroidery scissors. They'll turn up soon I hope!
You can use your little biscornu as a pin cushion too.
I enjoyed making this so much I've made a few and they are now listed in my Etsy shop, just in case you don't fancy making your own. Though I would encourage you to have a go, it's fun to see how they come together. Not a very quick thing to make, but sometimes a bit of slow hand sewing whilst you veg out in front of the TV is just what the doctor ordered! Honestly I must be the worlds worst sales person - "you can buy them from me but you really should make your own"!
I'll be linking this project at these link parties