World's Longest Embroidery for Schools

The World's Longest Embroidery

The Embroiderers’ Guild is an Educational Charity encouraging and promoting embroidery and textile art. To celebrate its Centenary the Guild launched the World’s Longest Embroidery, it measures 605.55 metres and can still be seen and added to at venues throughout the UK today. We are now inviting schools to take part in creating the World’s Longest Embroidery… for Schools¹. ¹For simplicity we refer to ‘schools’ throughout this document. We appreciate you may be known as a school, college or academy.

One of the schools taking part (Kingswells Primary School in Aberdeen) has made a video of their own project with the World's Longest Embroidery for Schools - take a look to see the fun they had:

Thank you for wanting to be part of this exciting project. You will be joining hundreds of schools in the UK, USA, Canada, and Australia in creating this unique ‘world record

How it works…

Who can take part: Children and students of all ages and levels of ability with a ‘needle and thread’. Teachers and support staff are also welcome to join in. Don’t forget to invite the Head/Principal to add a stitch or two….and whilst you’re at it, invite the Maths Teacher and Cook as well!

Why take part: Embroidery is a unique skill and textile art is an art form second to none. But not many people know that! Yet we could not launch this initiative if the art form were painting, sculpture or even quilting. It would simply be impractical. In the 21st Century there is a resurgence of textile art. The Guild is committed to bringing stitch and textile art to the attention of students and the general public. This piece will be exhibited extensively over the next 3 to 10 years (and beyond) and all the young people who take part will be able to add mention of it to their profiles, statements and, in some cases, their art folios.

When can I join in? There is no strict start or stop time to this project. You simply decide when you would like to do a panel and we will send it to you. We suggest 2 terms to complete the panel but you are welcome to take longer if you wish. If possible, we would like the panel returned before the summer break so that it doesn't get forgotten in the classroom or someone can look after it and then pick up the project again in the autumn.

What you need to take part: We will supply you with a 1 metre length of material which will form the basis of your panel. The fabric has been kindly donated by Empress Mills. You will need a variety of threads and you will need to supply needles, scissors etc.

Your responsibilities: As you would expect we have to rely on you to ensure the correct safety procedures are in place and that supervision is appropriate, mindful of the ages of the children or students taking part.

Help, advice and inspiration: If you have any questions in the first instance, please email us at One of our volunteers will answer you as quickly as possible.

Return your finished contribution to: The World’s Longest Embroidery for Schools, c/o Artistic Director YSE, Embroiderers’ Guild, Bucks County Museum, Church Street, AYLESBURY HP20 2QP. Please protect your length of fabric before returning it.

Please email us at to let us know you have despatched your contribution and, if possible, attach your account of how you approached creating your entry.

Thank you for taking part

Tell the story of your school…

Your contribution to this project is unique to your school. Ideas and sources of inspiration could be…

  • Include the name, logo, colours, strap line/motto, badge and location of your school.
  • Record an anniversary or special event.
  • Illustrate a distinctive building, architectural or historical feature; gardens or grounds; setting/surrounding area.
  • Feature subjects or activities in which you specialise and are known for.
  • Illustrate the diversity of your school.
  • Feature a famous past pupil, student or teacher.
  • Include links to businesses or industries or other schools in the UK or overseas.
  • Include a sponsor or benefactor.
  • Show cups, shields or awards of which you are particularly proud.
  • Create a cameo of a statue or sculpture that you love (or hate!).

Curriculum or Extra Curricular Project: You may choose to make this an extra-curricular activity or incorporate in Art & Craft lesson plans. We will be putting ideas and the results of schools that took part in our pilot scheme onto our website – we’ll let you know as soon as this ready for viewing.

Here are some ideas to get you started before adding the stitching…..

  • Cut simple shapes, words, names or dates from plain or patterned cotton fabrics and apply these onto the panel using bondaweb.
  • Paint with transfer paints or crayons onto paper, turn it over and iron onto the panel.
  • Draw freehand onto the panel or around shapes (such as childrens’ hands).
  • Paint bondaweb with acrylic paints, cut out shapes, words, numbers and iron onto the panel.
  • Print onto Jacquard inkjet papers, cut out shapes or applique the sheet onto the panel (inkjet printing cotton percale can be purchased from Art Van Go (
  • Make stamps with potatoes, foam board, corks, lino printing, etc.
  • Make or use ready-made stencils

Keep shapes simple but they can be large or small, grouped or spaced apart. You can add other materials to the surface but please avoid making the piece 3-D as that may make it difficult to transport and display.

Then you can add stitching….

There are only two requirements to make your panel part of the World’s Longest Embroidery for Schools. The first is that there is a continuous line of stitching across the panel from one side to the other. We will indicate from where to where, and we will use this as a joining point to the next panel. The second is that you leave a 1.5inch (4cm) seam allowance on either side of the panel so that we can join it to the next one.

… are some ideas for stitches to use

Taking a stitch line for a walk is an interesting starting point. It can be a long thin line, a fat short line, a straight line or a curved line. Threads can be thick or thin or you can use wool, braid or ribbon. Any stitches used can be done any size (large or small), they can be in lines, grouped together, form a continuous line or spaced apart. Each edition of “Stitch” magazine includes a glossary of stitches (subscribe via the Guild website if you are interested), or you can look online for simple instructions.

• Running stitch – simply taking the needle in and out of the fabric. Make the stitches, short or long, close together or far apart. Put lots of lines close together. Using a second colour, you can then lace through these base stitches or from one line to another. Or make the stitches into a “shape” such as battlements or triangles. Stitch around any of the images you have created on the fabric using any of the above ideas to help attach them to the panel.

• Couching – lay one thread or cord down on top of the fabric. Catch it down with small stitches worked at right angles over the top. You can use the same or another colour, stitch over it at right angles or at a slant, use straight stitch, cross stich or even something else.

• Back stitch – very similar to running stitch except there is no gap between the stitches, instead it forms a continuous line.

• Seeding – lots of small, straight stitches placed at random and used to fill a space or create a path.

• Chain stitch – these can be done as a continuous “chain” or as a single stitch (often called lazy daisy stitch).

• Cross Stitch - large or small or a mixture, grouped together or spaced apart, they don’t have to be regular.

• Blanket Stitch (also called buttonhole stitch) – doesn’t have to be regularly spaced, mix it up a bit!

• French knots – effective when grouped to suggest texture.

• Fly stitch or Feather stitch - Can be used to create “Y” or “V” shapes, or instead of running stitch.

The list is endless – once you get going, encourage the children and students to combine stitches or look for more that they could try out.

What is important is that everyone enjoys taking part.

Please send us photos that we can put on our website and a photo of your finished piece and tell us what you enjoyed about taking part -

Have Fun and Happy Stitching

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