Make a stitched map to remember a holiday

Ros Badger / 20 July 2016

Reuse an old map by turning it into a charming stitched map to remember a favourite holiday or important journey.



For as long as I can remember my family and I have holidayed in Cornwall, renting the same cottage in a tiny hamlet close to Penzance twice a year. We count the days leading up to the date in July and again at New Year when the car is packed and we set off to our holiday home. 

The journey is full of recognisable landmarks and we have our favourite stop off points along the way, despite my daughters being almost grown up they are ever keen to return to that familiar place, to countryside and coastline and to friends that they have made over the years who also visit at the same time.

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It’s with these memories in mind that I decided to embroider my London to Cornwall route onto a map and I now have it hanging above my desk, framed in an embroidery hoop as a reminder of the wonderful holidays I have had and of the ones I will have in the future.

The basic project is simple to achieve but easily adaptable too. As an alternative to this idea why not stitch a series of journeys onto the same map, sewing different routes in contrasting colours. Or, make a map that shows the journey that joins your home to that of a family or close friend. 

Many of us have criss-crossed France or even the USA in cars so embroidering your road trip would make a the perfect memento. Join two countries with your thread, and add initials or a symbol at either end, something that represents something special to you would also work very well too.

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You will need

  • Map or page from a road atlas (this can be any size from part of a wall map to an OS map showing every undulation)
  • Embroidery silk or fine knitting yarn but be sure to use a shade that will stand out
  • Embroidery/Darning needle quite a sharp point is needed

How to make

1. Mark the route on your map by piercing holes along the roads using your embroidery needle, make these approximately 5mm apart. This really helps when working with paper and will avoid you accidentally pricking a hole in the wrong place when sewing.

2. Tie a knot at one end of your thread and make a running stitch using the pierced holes as a guide (taking care not to tear the paper).

3. Make a return running stitch between the first stitches, this will give the appearance of backstitch but will not be so thick on the underside. An alternative here is to do the return run in a contrasting colour.

4. Weave or sew in any loose ends on the back of the map or add a dot of PVA to fix in place.

5. Use an embroidery ring to capture the work, trimming to fit, and hang on a wall. Or re-use an old frame, spray mounting the map to a piece of card, the same size as the frame’s backing board.

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