Hand Embroidered Victorian Valentine

A Virtual Class with Elliot Rockart

The Victorian puzzle purse is an elaborately folded letter which, as it opens, reveals meaningful motifs surrounded by love messages and poems. Historically made with ink and watercolor on thick paper, “puzzle purses” draw their origin from Japanese folded letters (itogami) and the early modern practice of “letterlocking” which protects the security of a secret message using elaborate folds rather than a seal. Because they are so delicate— and tend to fall apart from repeated folding— only a few of these puzzle purses survive. Our teacher, Elliot, decided to try a new medium— embroidery on cotton! Not only can you read it as many times as you like, but using a heat erase pen you can write and rewrite messages to exchange with a loved one or to write love letters to yourself. 

During the course of this two-session class you will learn about the history of Victorian Puzzle Purses, how to fold them, and how to make your own embroidered version. During the first session you will learn and practice the embroidery stitches displayed here to fill the pattern. During the second session, you will learn the finishing techniques to connect your pieces and complete your valentine. At the end of class everyone will be provided with a reference video showing how to fold the puzzle purse (it takes a bit of practice but once you do it a few times it’s a breeze!). 

What will you learn?

Session One: Satin stitch, Fishbone stitch, Back stitch, Stem stitch, French knot, the history of puzzle purses

Session Two: Running stitch, Ladder stitch, Puzzle purse folding

Dates + Times
Wednesday, January 31st, 2024, 3 – 5:30 pm ET

Wednesday, February 7th, 2024, 3 – 5:30 pm ET

Zoom, access link will be sent out the day before class.

Virtual Class: $100 

Virtual Class with Materials Package: $130 + Shipping 

Class Materials

  • Frixion heat erase pen 
  • Embroidery thread (two greens, two yellows, three blues, six pinks) 
  • White cotton fabric with botanical pattern screen printed on front and back 
  • Printed paper sample

Materials are available for purchase. Students who decide to source their own materials will receive a PDF of the pattern (front and back) to transfer onto a fabric of their choice.  


There are two scholarship spots available for this class. Please email [email protected] to learn more.


Elliot Rockart 

Elliot Rockart is a textile artist and researcher based in Brooklyn. They are a content creator and product designer at Tatter where they combine their love of history and textiles to create knitted, crocheted, embroidered, woven, hooked, and appliquéd art. You can find them on Instagram @myweeklyarn.


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