Embroidery For Kids - Bayeux Tapestry

Week 7: We sewed and embroidered bags.

The Battle of Hastings in 1066 was one of the biggest turning points of British history. William the Conqueror of France won a victory over Harold Godwinson for the prize of the English crown.

William the Conqueror was a Norman, descended from the Vikings where as Harold was an Anglo-Saxon or Englishman. Edward the Confessor, king of England, was exiled as a child and raised in Normandy. Although he was the king of England, he was a product of French culture. When he died in 1066 there was not a clear successor, and thus a battle began.

The people of England clearly chose Harold for their king and he was crowned. But his reign was short. Perhaps his army would have defeated William of Normandy under different circumstances. His army waited for battle, was sent home, called to a different battle and then finally faced Duke William of Normandy.

While waiting for William of Normandy's challenge, the seasons were changing. It was fall, and Harold's army needed to tend to their crops or face starvation during the winter months. The army was sent home.

Then they were recalled to fight, but not with Duke William. Before the battle over the crown began, Harold and his brother Tostig had a dispute and Tostig was exiled. During his exile, he joined forces with another Harold; Harold Hardrada - King of Norway. Tostig and Harold of Norway marched into England and battled Harold's men at the Battle of Stamford Bridge.

William arrived while the men were away. Tired and weary from battle, they marched across England to face Duke William's army where they were defeated.

This documentary tells the complete story of the Normans. The book Our Island Story gives a narrative account of British History with several chapters (21-26) dedicated to this period. It is a great way to introduce children to the Battle of Hastings.

A few years after the battle, the story was documented in a piece of needlework known as the Bayeux Tapestry. The tapestry is a form of embroidery 70 meters long, which is nearly as long as a football field, and tells the story in comic strip form.

This short video gives a brief account of the battle as explained in the Bayeux Tapestry, and the book The Bayeux Tapestry: The Norman Conquest 1066 gives an explanation of the tapestry in more detail.

Hand Embroidery
Since the tapestry was hand embroidered, it was the perfect companion to an embroidery project. We decided to sew bags out of solid colored fabric, embroidered with designs we created.

First we watched videos to learn basic embroidery stitches.

5 Most Basic Hand Embroidery Stitches

How to do Basic Embroidery Stitches

Next designs were sketched on paper and transferred to fabric by re-sketching with a special fabric marker which erases with water.

Then we stitched away the time.

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  1. I love it! Beautiful work. We actually did a piece of the Bayeux Tapestry when we embroidered....http://homeschooljournal-bergblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/norman-conquest-and-bayeux-taperstry.html

    1. Your embroidery is beautiful. I love the way the colors give the scene a lively feel.

  2. If you can get over to the UK in oct you can see an re enactment of the battle at one of the English heritage sites and it is superb to witness. We went and lived it.

  3. We just moved to Germany and went to Bayeux two weekends ago to see the tapestry. It was a neat experience!


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