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Embroidery skills used to create ceremonial dresses for British monarchs down the ages will be passed on to a group of young people in East London thanks to an exciting new FAD project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Inspired by garments worn by Queen Victoria, King George III and Princess Diana the young people will learn about traditional British embroidery to create their own ceremonial dresses, which will go on public display later this year.

The project is run by FAD (Fashion Awareness Direct), working in collaboration with Kensington Palace where the Royal Ceremonial Dress Collection is kept. Ten young volunteers will be trained in leadership and heritage embroidery skills and they will pass on their knowledge to a further 60 young people from East London schools and community groups.


Having visited Kensington Palace the young people involved will take part in a series of workshops with an embroidery specialist, where they will compare traditional British heritage with that of other cultures, such as India, Pakistan or Turkey, where embroidery is also a valued skill.

They will use their discoveries and new skills to create an embroidery ‘toolkit’ that will be made available online to more than 80 schools and community groups. But the centrepiece of the project will be to create six modern ceremonial dresses that will go on public display over the course of 2012/13, firstly at Kensington Palace followed by the ‘Knitting and Stitching Show’ at Alexandra Palace in October. The dresses will also form part of a touring exhibition which will visit schools and community centres taking part in the project.

Sue Bowers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund London, said: This is a hands-on, practical project that will introduce fashion-conscious young people to a fascinating aspect of British heritage while learning a range of skills.”

You can read more about the New East London Embroiderers workshops on the FAD Blog. Alternatively follow the project's progress on twitter @fadcharity #NewEastLondonEmbroiderers