I LIBRARY OF CONGRESS. |
I"" ' Chap. ^...xim.
m Shelf ,ly 5. fc5
UNITED STATES OF AMERJCA.
May 26. 1888. Publisherl Weekly. Annual Subscription, $1.50.
Entered at the Post Office, New York, as Second Class Matter.
Copyright, 18s7, by F. M. Lupton.
By BI«I<A RODIflAX CHURCH.
F. H. LUPTON. Publisher
63 Murray Street, N. Y.
dor}tkir^ii\^ f^fkdtidkl Ii^^ti'udtioi^^
IVITI/ NEARJ^Y TWO HUNDRED ILLUSTRATIONS AND
K \/ EXPLANATORY DIAGRAMS.
'" ^ ELLA RODMAN CHURCH
PUBLISHED FOR THE TRADE
F. M. LUPTON,
Embroidery has been defined as " the art of adding to the surface
of woven textures a representation of any object we wish to depict,
through the medium of the needle, threaded with the material in
which the work is to be executed."
From the earliest times, it has been the amusement of women of
leisure, and the occupation of those whose skilful fingers must be used
to bring in returns of daily bread. In the Middle Ages, a regular
work-room, or "studio," was set apart for this especial purpose in the
dim old castle; and there the whole parajihernalia of embroidery-
frames, materials, and implements, were always to be found. There,
too, the chatelaine sat with her maidens embroidering cushions, or
book-covers, or those wonderful pieces of historical tapestry after-
ward displaced by the more mechanical arras.
" Tapestry richly wrought
And woven close,"
*Vas the favorite needlework of those days; and these hangings, or
" veils," were rendered necessary by the style of building, which
afforded many convenient chinks and loopholes for the wind. Some of
these ancient pieces of embroidery v/ere very rich, the designs being
worked with worsted or silk of various colors, and often mixed with
gold or silver threads, on canvas, cloth, or silk.
The oldest specimen of this kind of work now in existence is the
famous tapestry of Bayeux — the work of the English Matilda and
her attendants. A piece of einbroidery over two hundred and twenty
feet long, although not much more than half a yard wide, is no trifling
accomplishment; and in spite of the red, blue, green, and yellow horses,
some of them with two legs of a different color from the rest of their
bodies, one cannot but reverence this curious triumph of the needle
that can claim eight centuries of birthdays. It is entirely worked
with worsted in very little variety of coloring, as the Norman princess
had few advantages of this sort, but she has represented to the best of
6 ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY.
her ability the invasion and conquest of England by Duke William
and his followers. The battle of Hastings is ingeniously emphasized
by a bordering composed of the bodies of the slain.
Few Avould have the time or the inclination for such a piece of work
in these days; and " some of our moderns are inclined to think that,
in days of old, when the chief employment of a woman's life was
needlework, she must have had a very dull, dreary, monotonous time
of it. But when we survey ancient heirlooms, veritable works of art
— the smooth, mossy crewel-work, the frost-like point-lace, the shining
gold-threaded ecclesiastical work, or even the conventional forms of
the now despised cross-stitch — we imagine every happiness and beaut)^
connected with the age of chivalry, as we are conscious of a sense of
wonder akin to that felt on beholding some magnificent ancient jewels,
or plate, or pictures."
As late as the days of the Spectator, it was written: "How mem-
orable would that matron be who should have it inscribed on her
monument that she wrought out the whole Bible in tapestry, and died
in a good old age, after having covered three hundred yards of wall
in the Mansion House " — but no such exploit is on record.
The most fashionable worsted embroidery of the present time is
This style of work was much in vogue during the latter part of the
''eighteenth century, and has recently been revived, and the modus
operandi dignified by the name of the South Kensington stitch. But
people with great-grandmothers produce pieces of work done in a
similar manner; and the stitch is the same as the long stitch in silk
embroidery, only longer and more careless.
Crewel work was brought to such a state of perfection by the
famous Miss Linwood, who literally painted pictures with her needle
from her thirteenth until her seventy-eighth year, copying the old
masters so successfully that, at a little distance, the needle-worked
picture could not be distinguished from the painted one, that every
one wanted to imitate her; but few having the same gift, this branch
of art fell into disrepute.
Miss Linwood's pictures were marvels of patience and skill. They
were embroidered on a stiff, twilled fabric called " tammy," on which
the outline was drawn in chalk; and the entire ground was covered
with close, irregular stitches, of great fineness in the more delicate
touches. The shading was perfect, the crewels being dyed under
the artist's own sujservision; and her first needle-painting, the
" Salvator Mundi," from Carlo Dolci, Avas wonderfully true to the
ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY. 7
H«r collection, which was exhibited for some time in London, con-
tained sixty-four pieces; and among them was a portrait of herself in
the bloom of youth and beauty.
The great beauty of crewel- work is its freedom from set rules; in
taking the stitches, the needle is used more like the brush in the hand
of the artist.
THE CREWEL STITCH
resembles the wrong side of long back-stitching more than anything
else; and is illustrated by Figures 1 and 2.
The needle is put in at the back of the material
and brought out at 1, put in again at 2 and
brought out at 3, put in again at 4 and brought out
at 5, and so on to the end of the line. In out-
line-work the thread should be kept to the left of
the needle, and great care taken to bring the needle
up exactly in the line of the pattern, or a wavy,
uncertain outline will be the result, and the char-
acter of the pattern will be lost.
This method of working is to be used when the
material is put in a frame; but when the work is
done in the hand, it is best illustrated by Figure
2. The easiest and quickest way in this case is
to begin at the bottom and work upward — put-
ting the needle through (from the back) at 1,
and back again at 2 — through again at 3, and
back at 4 — until the entire distance has been tra-
It will be seen that the stitch is very simple, and
that much is left to the discretion of the worker.
Care must be taken that the worsted is not pulled
too tight, nor left too loose, as the effect must be
smooth and even — with the curves clearly defined,
and the points sharp and complete.
In ordinary crewel -work, the stitch should be
from three-eighths to half an inch long, according
to its position — some stitches must necessarily be
shorter — as in filling in, they must dovetail into
each other like the tiles of a roof, that no shsiv])
line of color may indicate the different shades. To
produce the desired effect, all the stitches should not be taken close
up to the inner edge of color. Figures 3 and 4 will give some idea
of this shading.
A leaf or stalk should never
be worked across, but always
(and the same rule, of course,
applies to flower-petals) in the
same direction as the fibres in a
natural leaf. With such leaves
as brambles, and others that will
suggest themselves, one side
should be a darker shade than
the other. Figure 5 shows the
natural way of working a leaf.
In working the stalk of a
flower, it is better to begin at
the lower end first, and work on the outline until it is crossed by a
leaf or terminates in a flower; then pass the needle to the other side,
and work back again to the lower end; then work an-
other line of stitches inside the outline till the stalk is
filled up.' See Figure 6. Leaves of one shade are done
in the same way, and the veins are put in last.
Crewel- woi'k has many recommendations; it is easy,
is done with comparatively little labor, and yet it aflPords
scope for the exercise of artistic skill of the highest
order. A great variety of beautiful shades may be had,
and the worsted washes beautifully, thus possessing a
decided advantage over many other styles of ornamenta-
tion. The materials are also quite inexpensive, and
taking it altogether, it jsroduces the best effects with
the least outlay of labor and expense of any other kind
Floral designs suit this style of work best; and some-
what conventionalized models are most suitable — flowers
that can be expressed by the fewest lines in form and the
fewest shades in color. Daisy-shaped flowers are par-
ticularly suitable; and the well known sunflower, not too much con-
ventionalized, but with the tendency of its long petals to droop a little
just indicated here and there, is represented in Figure 7.
Simple, old-fashioned flowers are most successful in crewel-work.
Wild roses being simple, and having very distinct petals and well
marked centres, are better than the double and treble triumphs of the
florist — to which painting alone can do justice. The daffodil, narcis-
sus, and lily tribes, with primroses, honeysuckles, pansies, and daisies,
bloom out charmingly in crewels; and almost any cleai-ly defined leaf
Butterflies and vases may also be successfully introduced, but the
atter should be chiefly in outline.
The experienced ci'ewel worker may study
nature for designs, and discover unending com-
binations of beauty and delicate touches of
detail which give a character to the whole. In
the veining of leaves especially this is shown;
and the leaf of the common scarlet poppy,
veined and unveined, in Figures 8 and 9, will
show how much depends on careful finish.
But embroidery in general should not at-
tempt too much detail — a thorn here and there
on a rose-stem being sufficient to suggest the
thorny nature of roses, while only a few of
the larger serrations of the leaves should be
retained. The bramble, when shorn of super-
fluous outline, is a very desirable leaf for em-
broidery; and Figure 10 shows it in its natural state, which, if worked.
woidd be a confused mass of nothing in particular — whilo in Figure
11, its shape and general character are preserved, but all unnecessary
notchings and veinings are pruned away.
An important point in embroidery is to know what may be to ad-
vantage left undone; and as crewel-work is entirely free from all arti-
ficial raising, it is merely suggestive of gen-
The crewel itself is a particularly strong,
twisted woollen yarn, quite unlike zephyr
and the other wools in use. The shades of
color are very soft and numerous, and blend
beautifully in delicate flower-petals and
varying leaves. The work is usually done
on heavy linen sheeting, as this wears well,
is easily washed, and is particularly suitable
for tidies, doilies, and many small articles.
Other materials may be used to advan-
tage; but cloth, velvet, or silk is not suit-
able for crewel-work. Serge makes a very
nice foundation; and a pair of invalid's
slippers, made lately, were worked on white
felt. But these were done in Canada, where
many materials are to be had which cannot
be found here. Said slippers were merely
to thrust the toes in, as all the rest was sole;
and this white felt pointed piece was orna-
mented with strawberries in crewel-work. This beautiful fruit is
quite as effective as flowers are; and in Figure 12 the clusters maybe
used separately, or continued indefi-
nitely for a border. A very pretty
footstool could be made by grouping
them closely for the top, and putting
the bordering on the band. The fruit
may be either red or white as best
suits the groundwork.
Velveteen makes a good background
for crewel embroidery; and this is
suitable both for footstools and hang-
ings. It is also handsome for mantel
lambrequins. But the favorite ma-
terial is crash towelling — which is so
generally used for the purpose that
crewels seem inseparable from it, and
the work is quite as often called "crash-
work " as crewel- work. Crash is very
serviceable for tidies, toilet covers,
toilet mats, travelling bags, etc; but
it does not hang in graceful folds
for curtains and portieres, and it is
not worthy of being embroidered in silks.
There is a ribbed velveteen in different shades of drab and brown,
which looks remarkably well as a foundation for crewel-work, if the
latter is done in a rich, bold design. It should be remembered, as a
general thing, that while rich matei'ials may be used on cheap ground-
work, worsted embroidery is very unsuitable on a rich foundation.
We have attempted suggestions only in the way of patterns, as
these may be bought in great variety wherever the crewels are sold;
and for those who are unable to design from nature this will be found
a great convenience.
It is not long since all worsted work was done in mechanical pat-
terns on canvas; and some of this work, with stitches laid as regularly
as minute mosaics, and the shades blended as by the hand of an
artist, is still very beautiful. It is the mosaic-work of embroidery,
and bears the same relation to it that the real mosaic does to painting;
but crewel-work has the advantage of being more quickly done, and
of expressing better the individuality of the worker. How quickly,
for instance, with needle and crewels, the very essence of a May
morning may be condensed into the cluster of apple-blossoms fi-om
the laden bough beside the window; but who could extemporize them
into a pattern of set squares on the spur of the moment ?
ARTICLES TO BE WORKED IN CREWELS.
It is always more satisfactory in a work of this kind to find some
practical illustrations of the suggestions given; and many people like
to know exactly what to make. We shall be
more explicit, therefore, in this little volume
than would be possible in one of greater preten-
sion; and mention articles to be made, as far as
our limits will permit.
Being quickly done and effective at a distance,
crewel-embroidery is very suitable for large
pieces of vrork, such as curtains, portic^res, friezes,
and so forth. Portieres and friezes have a pleas-
ant suggestion about them of old tapestries; and
the latter are really wall-valances. One would
AN EMBROIDERED FRIEZE
even in crewel- work, for a large apartment; but
a moderate-sized room could be adorned with
this wall drapery without an unreasonable out-
lay of time. Claret-colored serge, or velveteen,
if in harmony with the other coloring of the
room, worked with perpendicular sunflowers or
lilies (Figure 13 is a good pattern for the latter),
with a bordering of gold-color and green at top
and bottom, would be very ornamental. The
frieze could be finished with a fringe and hang
loose at the lower edge, which is prettier, or
fastened at both sides, paper-fashion.
Colors and figures may be varied indefinitely —
for the lattter, a standing army of storks would
often be preferred. Dragons, too, are now so
generally regarded as cheerful domestic animals
in the way of adornment, that a procession of
them across the walls of an apartment on an
elaborate frieze would, doubtless, add a pleasing
element in the way of decoration. But those
who say, Give me beauty, or give me nothing,
in the way of ornament, will prefer designs of
flowers and leaves.
A DADO IN CREWELS
may be done in the same way, only that there
is more of it; and being nearer the eye, the design should be more
close and elaborate. The patterns on rich papers will be found sug-
gestive studies; and it may be remembered that the material for
groundwork can be adapted to the purse of the embroiderer and the
other belongings of the apartment, from velveteen at a dollar a yard
to crash-towelling at ten cents.
The wide material known as jute, and just the least bit in the style
of brown straw-matting, would make a very nice dado worked in
crewels, with a darker brown picked out with gold color; and this
same material hangs in graceful folds for curtains and portieres. A
brown room could be made very beautiful in this way; and quiet
though it is, there is a richness about brown that is always suggestive
A WORSTED- WORKED PORTIERE
should be of velveteen, if this harmonizes with the other hangings of
the room, as the material has a particularly rich effect in doorways,
and artistically executed crewel-work suits it admirably. Brown
velveteen with golden sunflowers, or gray with wild roses, or dark
blue with lilies, will be found very handsome.
In working portieres, it is necessary to remember that they should
be well covered with embroidery, because the light falls on all their
14 ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY.
parts; while an embroidered border suffices for curtains, as the edges
only are likely to catch the sun's rays.
Other hangings may be made for the open shelves of cabinets and
etagdres ; these should also harmonize with the general decoration of
the room in color and style, but may be richer and more elaborate
than the larger pieces of embroidery, as they will be subjected to
CURTAINS WITH SPRAYS OF SUMAC.
These were really beautiful. The ground was a pale sage green, in
perfect keeping with the prevailing hue of the room; and the soft
bright shades of the crewels were so delicately blended, that the effect
was a perfect needle-painting of these bright-hued darlings of the
autumn. They were embroidered on the plain band of the sage —
colored material that formed the simple cornice — down the front of
the curtains, and here and there, on the body of the drapery, a spray
seemed to have dropped by accident.
A SWEET-PEA TABLE COVER
which emanated from the same hand, was also a thing of beauty.
The table was a round one of moderate size, and the top was tightly
covered with maroon-colored flannel. A straight band of white flan-
nel between two narrow strips of the maroon formed the border, and
on this white ground the sweet peas were worked in delicately-tinted
crewels. Feather-stitching, of black and bright green, marked the
joining of the white flannel to the maroon on either side. The bor-
dering was fastened to the table with silver-headed nails, and finished
with a worsted fringe to match the maroon flannel.
'This beautiful work was all copied from natural models during
hours of summer leisure on a country piazza, and many beautiful
thoughts and memories were wrought into the bright-hued leaves and
SCREENS IN CREWEL-WORK.
We saw a honeysuckle screen lately, that might have been beauti-
ful, but was not because it had altogether too sombre an air to be
viewed in the light of an ornament. The workmanship was fine, and
regularly done according to the rules of art, but as the ground was
black and the coral honeysuckle was represented in very dull reds and
greens, the effect was not enlivening. A gray ground of a silver
tinge would have been a great improvement, but dark work on a dark
ground is a dismal production.
^ The woodbine honeysuckle can be reproduced in crewels in very
natural colors, and we have seen some that almost diffused a June
ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY. 15
odor about them. They were worked on very fine, soft crash, and in-
tended for a tidy; but a beautiful fire-screen could be made of them
on a blue or plum-colored ground.
The large folding-screens, so often in strips of coarse Berlin-wool
work, are very handsome in crewels; and climbing vines of all kinds
are particularly suited to them. A crimson ground with water-lilies
in one corner, and the wild morning-glory, with its nearly white blos-
soms (that grows in damp places and therefore harmonizes with the
watei'-lily) trailing its beautiful length across the largest space, while
the inevitable heron, balanced, of course, on one foot, stands sentinel
among his reeds and rushes, where classic cat-tails bristle like spears,
is vis-a-vis to the water-lilies on the other side, would be found bright
in coloring and handsome in effect.
But a screen that looks as if some one had come in and thrown a
handful of daisies over it may be quite as ^jretty, and is certainly less
of fine crash, ornamented with crewel-work, are handsome and service-
able for warm weather. A bordering of strawberries and leaves near
the edge, or one of periwinkle with its delicate blue flowers, would be
very pretty; and this bordering, with a large monogram in the centi'e,
would sufficiently ornament the article.
But endless are the uses to which this simple and charming style of
embroidery may be put; and the suggestions given maybe indefinitely
multiplied and rearranged in various foi'ms.
SIMPLE IDEAS OF COLOR.
Before proceeding to silk embroidery, it may be well to consider
some simple rules of coloi', as the proper arrangement of color is of
far greater importance than the regular placing of stitches, and no
embroidery can be artistic without it.
An old-fashioned poet gives some good advice on this subject:
" Choose such judicious force of shade and light,
As suits the theme and satisfies the sight ;
Weigh part with part, and with prophetic eye
The fu'ure power of all thy tints descry."
Truth in rhyme was never better brought out than in the following
' ' Know first that light displays and shade destroys
Refulgent Nature's variegated dyes ;
Thus bodies near the light distinctly shine
With rays direct, and as it fades decline."
An eye for color is of the same nature as an ear for music — one
knows intuitively what is right; but this is by no means a very com-
mon gift; and there are some rules to be observed, independently of
the guidance of taste, that are within the reach of all.
Thus scarlet and yellow were never intended for close companions;
brown or lilac invariably quarrel with a scarlet ground; blue and
green together, or yellow and green, are like an unpleasant taste in the
mouth; blue is perfectly amiable with ecru (the French name for all
the drabs and fawns) ; a cold green blue may be successfully paired
with lilac; drabs with a rich brown tone in them take kindly to yel-
low; pink and gray are as harmonious as love-birds; scarlet affably
locks arms with slate-green and red-brown; green with maize, and also
Avith some shades of salmon; blue and maize were made for each
other; lilac and green, blue and claret, are also devoted couples.
One who knows says that black should never be used next a high
light; one-eighth of every object has a high light upon it, one-eighth
is darkest shadow, and six parts light, or half-tint. No objects in
nature 2ive positively blue, red, or yellow, owing to two causes: one,
that most objects reflect the sky; the other, that the atmosphere be-
^ ARTISTIC EMBROIDEBT. 17
tween the eyes of the observer and the light causes the brightness of
the tints to be deadened. So that care must be taken to avoid the
immediate contact of bright colors with each other when an attempt
is made to imitate nature.
Shaded embroidery should be guided by the same rules that apply
to water-color painting, except that greater depth and brilliancy, and
consequently less delicacy, are the results in view. It requires much
discrimination to give a natural hue to leaves, and, at the same time,
to produce such contrasts as will give the proper relief. Portions of
each should be much lighter than others; and in the grouping, a mass
should be thrown into shadow under the bright leaves — the shadow
being composed of dark green mixed with neutral tint.
Much may be learned in the way of color by study and observation;
but to get just the right shades of even harmonious colors requires
care and skill. Thus simple red may be used with pure green; but
scarlet, which is red tinged with yellow,- must have a blue green;
crimson, which is red tinged with blue, a yellow green. All colors
are darker on a light ground and lighter on a dark ground, so that
tints should be selected according to the groundwork.
Position, too, must be considered; a piece of embroidery that is in-
tended for a dark corner should have brighter colors and stronger
contrasts than one which is to be placed in a full light. On a white
ground very delicate tints are most suitable, while the broken grays
of crash will harmonize livid colors.
Masses of blue should be avoided, as blue is a cold color; and
white requires skilful management, as it should be shaded off deli-
cately by means of tints that have a large portion of white in their
composition. But all flowers of the same kind should not be worked
in the same shades of color; three white flowers, for instance, of the
same species and in one cluster, requiring eight shades of silk or
worsted to embroider them properly, should have these shades differ-
ently arranged. For one, a greater portion of the five lightest tints
would be used; for the next, the middle shades, perhaps; in the third,
the darkest would be most prominent; all this would depend on the
position of the flowers and the skill of the embroiderer.
Many different colors in one piece of work spoil the effect, except
in particular cases; some one prevailing color should be adopted, and
the rest chosen wdth reference to it. Some of the most beautifully
colored work is done in one key of color: one color being taken as
the key-note, and those shades only are used that form its component
parts, or that have the original color in their composition. On gold-
colored satin, for instance, nothing looks so well as a design colored
in shades of russet and golden browns, introducing every now and
then a lighter or darker shade of the pure ground color.
In taking green for the ground color, if a yellow green, then the
18 ABTISTIC EMBROIDEBT.
highest note should be yellow; ari3. it should be carried down through
ali the brown, warm, and russet greens, which owe all their w^armthto
yellow. If the ground is a blue green, colder greens must be used, of
a sage rather than a russet tint, while the key-note is struck with a
pure blue. Under this restraint, the effect, though subdued, is very
If a pure blue is placed near a pure yellow, the effect is glaring; but
when the blue is slightly toned with yellow and the yellow with blue,
there is quite a different result. A strong blue and a bright red, with
a yellow gleam in it, stare each other out of countenance; but a sub-
dued russet-greon as a neighbor makes them harmonious.
Purples, and all shades inclining to blue, are difficult to dispose sat-
isfactorily—those with the least blue in them are preferable. Russet
is one part blue, one part yellow, and two parts red; olive, one part
blue, two parts yellow, and one part red. It is more j^leasing than
slate, which has two parts blue, one part yellow, and one red.
When the ground is a red plum or maroon, pure red pinks, with no
shade of blue in them, will be much more harmonious than blue; but
if the ground is a blue plum, pale blue will be better than pink. The
shading of flowers is always in different shades of the same color; and
this method applied to embroidery produces the most charming results.
A pattern worked on a dark ground in a lighter shade of the same
color is always pleasing; and in a small room especially a great variety
of colors should be avoided. A crimson room should have chair or
table cover, or tidy, in ^a^e crimson mingled with a little pink of the
> Thus after a pretty conceit, one room might be called the rose-room,
being furnished with the crimson heart of that beautiful flower run-
ning through the shades of pink suggestively in the lighter portions,
and " broidered over " with roses and buds where ornament is desir-
able; another might be the sunflower-room, with its warm golden
browns and gleams of yellow, and the honest full-moon face of that
plebeian blossom astonished at being " done " in silks and crewels, and
set up to be looked at; while the morning-glory-room, in grays and
blues, should imprison all the sunshine to light up its cold colors, and
afford a congenial resting-place for its pictured blossoms.
This beautiful work lias been practised from the earliest times; and
the ancient Egyptians particularly excelled in it. Much of this was
done on linen — to which we shall refer afterward. The very sails of
their galleys were embroidered; and their "divers colors of needle-
work on both sides " seems to mean that it was done so that the work
was the same on the wrong side as on the right — a method of working
that requires an immense amount of skill and patience, and which is
now found only among those eminently painstaking races, the Chinese,
Japanese, and Hindoos.
Silk embroidery is done on almost any material except cotton and
coarse linen; but silk and velvet seem the most suitable fabrics for
groundwork. If well done, it is handsome on anything; and as it is
an expensive kind of needlework, great care should be taken in doing
it. As a general thing it requires framing, and especially when floss-
silk is used. Frames are of various kinds; the best for large pieces
of work being the standing frame (see Figure 14), which has adjust-
able screws, and can be lowered or heightened at pleasure.
The hand or lap frame (Figure 15) is more convenient in embroi-
dering smaller articles.
In putting work into the frame, a strip of strong tape or linen
should be stitched along the woof ends of the material — which must
then be firmly sewed with strong double thread to the webbing on the
frame. It should be made as tight and firm as possible; the strain
being increased gradually and cautiously until the tension appears to
be sufficient. The woof ends should be braced to the side pieces with
fine twine. A packing-needle threaded with twine must be drawn
through the upper right-hand corner of the tape or linen, and the end
securely tied. The twine must be sewn over the lath till the lower
corner is reached, knotted securely, and cut off; the other side must
then be done in the same manner.
When the material is larger than the frame, it may be sewed on to
the bars and rolled round one of them, with tissue paper and wadding
between to prevent the stuff from creasing; and when the part in the
frame is finished, it is rolled round the opposite bar, and so on, until
the whole is completed. The centre
ring, marked 1, is a hand frame used for
small pieces of embroidery.
In working with a frame it is desirable
to use both hands — one to put the needle
through from the outside, and the other
to bring it up again from beneath. This
will be slow work at first; but practice
and patience will enable one to do it
quite dextrously, and the great con-
venience of working in this way will
fully repay the trouble of learning it.
Two thimbles will be necessary, one for
Fig. 15. each hand.
THE STITCH FOR SILK EMBROIDERY
is the same as for crewel-work, except that it is shorter. Other
stitches are often introduced, which will be noticed in their place;
but the proper stitch for shaded embroidery, the most attractive of
this fascinating work, is to draw the needle upward from the right
and finish by putting it down to the left. The right hand
/ ABTI8TI0 EMBROIDBBY. 21
should always be above the frame, and the left beneath — making the
stitches as long as the work will admit of their being, as the brilliancy
of the silk is destroyed by crowded and short stitches.
Silk embroidery is both dainty and effective ; and as the materials
are expensive, great care should be used in doing the work, that it
may not only give satisfaction at first, but prove sufficiently durable
to repay the outlay of time and money. It is best to avoid touching
the silk by drawing it through the fingers while working.
Anything like a regular embroidery stitch is to be avoided, except
in those portions of the work where it is necessary; as the most
charming effects are usually produced where there seems to have been
the greatest indifference to mechanical regularity.
WTien the work has been properly arranged in the frame, the first
step in artistic embroidery is to observe the position of the flowers
and leaves — taking it for granted that the outlines have been propei'ly
traced — and if the model is of natural blossoms, so much the better.
It is particularly advisable, before beginning the embroidery, to study
the lights and shades; the edges and rounder parts, both of the leaves
and petals of flowers, as they embrace more surface, naturally receive
the light first and are worked with the palest tints.
In a group of flowers (see Figure 16) it is recommended to begin
with the smaller parts, such as the stems, buds, and leaves; and great
care should be taken to have every portion clearly outlined — although
a visible outline should be avoided in filled-in work. Again, the care-
ful blending of shades mentioned in crewel-work must be enforced —
the stitches being so nicely placed to produce the right effect, that
their beginning and ending are quite lost.
GROUP OF FLOWERS FOR SILK EMBROIDERY.
The stems of slender flowers should always be done in stalk-stitch,
as they can be made more neatly and with less trouble than in satin-
stitch. The centres are worked in French knot stitch. This is a
pretty pattern for a variety of small articles: glove-box, letter-box,
pincushion, case, etc. Or it may be enlarged for a footstool, sofa-
cushion, or chair-seat.
In working leaves, one half should be done first; and great care
taken to follow the direction of the fibres. Figure 1 7 shows the
direction the lines would take if we were shading the leaf in drawing.
In working a pansy the stitches should take the direction of the lines
in Figure 18; and not cross the petals, as in Figure 19. Figure 20
sho"^8 the proper filling up of a thick stalk.
For narrow leaves, where one stitch will reach from the middle to
the edge, it is best to pass the thread from the edge underneath to the
middle — as this makes each stitch begin in the middle, and the under
side is nearly the same as the upper. A broad leaf or petal requires
more than one stitch between the middle and the edge; and for these,
the needle may be brought up again wherever the next stitch seems
to be wanted. But two together should not begin nor end on the
same line— except on the outside edge to preserve the outline, oi- in
showing the middle rib.
Unless the embroidery is very large and bold, the line formed by
the meeting of the stitches down the middle of a leaf, as m Figure
21, will sufficiently mark the mid-rib. If in the real leaf it is very
deep and plainly defined, a very narrow space between the two lines,
tapei-ing till the threads meet again near the point, will generally be
sufficient. See Figure 22. Lateral veins need not usually be indicated
at all; but if they are very niarked, and of a
I different color from the leaf itself, they may be
^^^ laid on by a cord or a piece of thick- silk twist —
fastening it down with small stitches in silk of
the same color. This must only be done in large
and rather coarse work.
Another important point is the distinct bring-
ing out of the di£ferent characters of the stalks.
vvxv/A, The three examples given (Figures 23, 24 and
^ 'Ay 25) will show how the different joinings vary, and
^^ that care must be taken to make these distinc-
X'^ tions, as well as to finish them off properly. It
• V has been well said that the difference between
Yivr 17 mechanical and artistic embroidery consists in
* showing judgment and finish in all these small
Other stitches used in silk embroidery, besides
the one known distinctively as embroidery-
stitch, are satin-stitch, French-knot-stitch, stalk-
stitch, point-russe, herring-bone or feather-stitch,
ladder-stitch, chain-stitch, etc.
Satin-stitch is used a great deal in white
embroidery, and many persons are familiar with
it who have never attempted to work in colors.
It is also called
FRENCH, OR FLAT EMBROIDERY.
The stitches lie smootMy in a diagonal direc-
tion close to each other— little or no attention to
light or shade being necessary. It may be done
very effectively in one color, and is then often
enriched by gold or silver cord around the
It looks best worked with Mitorse silk— which
is also the most durable, as it does not fray m
the wear nor so quickly lose its glossy appear-
ance as when done with floss or Dacca silk.
This work is suitable for articles of furniture
and dress, as well as for small ornaniental work.
Fif'ure 26 is a good illlustration of flat embroidery in a pretty
border pattern, which may be edged with gold thread or with silk ot
24 ARTISTIC KMBROIDKET.
BORDER IM FLAT EMBROIDERY.
THE FRENCH KNOT.
This is very useful for the centres of such flowers as the daisy and
sunflower, and for filling up
leaves in a showy manner. It
is made by bringing the thread
through to the front of the work,
and holding it in the left hand,
four or five inches from the work
— the needle being in the right
hand; the thread is twisted two
or three times around the needle
as close to the work as possible;
then the point is turned down
into the material nearly, but not
exactly, where the thread came
up; the needle is pulled through
to the other side, and the thread
drawn carefully till the knot is
firm. The thread must be drawn round the needle close up to the
work before the needle is pulled quite through, lest the knot should
hang loose and spoil the effect.
Fig. 20. Fig. 21.
Is very easily and quickly done. In veining leaves and working
small stems, it is more manageable than any other stitch; and it is
formed by making a straight stitch rather more than a sixteenth of
an inch in length — then for the next stitch, putting the needle about
half-way back into the first one and working it the same length.
jLBTISTIC embboidert. 25
This is so quickly done, that there is danger of doing it carelessly;
but if properly worked, it resembles a finely-twisted cord, and give?
a very neat fimsh to the embroidery.
This is a stitch frequently mentioned in new embroidery; but the
modus operandi does not seem to be so well known as that of many-
others. Possibly because of its very simplicity — for Point-Russe is
merely a succession of back-stitches neatly and regularly done. It is
used for many small articles; and is a useful adjunct in more artistic
The illustration in Figure 27 shows the effect, and the uses to which
it can be put. Every line of the design must be carefully followed in
working it; and very pretty borderings and ornamental figures in
long stitches are often made with it. Medallions are very pretty in
Point-Russe; and we give one in Figure 28 that is worked entirely
in this stitch, and made very effective in scarlet and gold. This is
intended for a purse, and is woi'ked on light brown leather or kid.
Figure 30 is also very pretty, and may be worked in one or more
Figure 8 1 is a border pattern that is very effective. The diamonds
are outlined in black and white, and the leaflets within are of green
Fig. 28. — Medallion in Point Fig. 29. — Medallion in Point
silk. The stars are outlined in black and blue, the crossings are red,
and the dots yellow. The figure between the stars is black and
Fig. 30. — Boeder in Point Rtjsse.
HERRING-BONE, OR FEATHER STITCH.
This is an old-fashioned embroidery stitch revived, which is always
In ancient times, fine pieces of linen were embroidered all over with
28 AETI8TIC BMBROIDEET.
flower designs in outline, with here and there a portion filled in, and
the stems worked in a close herring-bone stitch to give them strength
and substance. Sometimes the whole design would be worked in this
stitch, done so closely as to have the appearance of braid.
Somje of this filled-in work was done in a peculiar manner from
side to side. An oval leaf to be filled would be begun at the base
with a few satin stitches, then when a point was reached where it was
wide enough, instead of passing the thread all the way underneath to
the opposite side, about one-third of the width of the leaf is taken up
in the needle, and the next stitch is done in the same way on the
opposite side of the leaf — working from side to side until the leaf
becomes too narrow again, when it is finished with a few satin
This stitch throws all the silk to the top; and the crossing of the
threads in the middle of the leaf has a very rich and soft eJffect —
giving also the appearance of a vein.
Feather-stitch seems too well known to need description ; and thei-e
is a great variety of it, from the simplest " herring-bone," to the
prettiest feather-like vine; and it has the advantage of being very
easily and quickly done.
It is merely button-hole stitch, in alternate loops and long stitches,
sewed backwards. A design may be drawn first, if needed, to make
the work regular; but with one straight pencil line as a guide, if the
eye is not very correct, almost any one who can use a needle will be
able to do feather-stitch.
This stitch is very much used in apj)lique work; and it makes
pretty dividing lines in ornamenting large articles.
We lately saw a table-cover worked entirely in feather-stitch, that
had quite an Oriental appearance. The ground was black cloth; and
all colors of worsted braid, of different widths, were sewed on with
this stitch — being placed around an oblong piece in the centre, and in
strips across to the edge for the border.
Another well-known and simple embroidery-stitch; and more beau-
tiful effects may be produced with it than are known to the philosophy
of the ordinary worker.
Chain-stitch is sometimes used for filled-in embroidery; the lines of
the chain being laid very close together, and following the form of
the leaf or flower until the space is filled. It should always be com-
menced on the outside, and worked to the centre.
Some very rich kinds of Algerian and Eastern work, often embroid-
ered entirely with gold thread, and generally with a mixture of this
with silk, are done altogether in chain-stitch. It is oitfm found, too,
in ancient crewel- work; and is made by holding the thread firmly over
the point of the needle, while it is drawn out, so as to form a loop.
The needle is put back again into the centre of this loop; and the
thread again passed over the point to form a second one — and so on,
the succession of loops forming the chain.
The objection to this stitch is that it has a mechanical effect, and
can be exactly imitated with the sewing-machine. The long embroid-
ery-stitch is much more elastic and natural-looking, and able to
accommodate itself better to varying forms. Chain-stitch is useful,
however, for outline-work, and wherever a stronger line is required
than that made by the long stitch.
Curtains, table-covers, portieres, etc., are handsomely embroidered
in chain-stitch; and Figure 31 gives a very rich bordering pattern for
this purpose. Turkish embroidery is nearly always done in chain-
stitch; and covers for small tables, with a light blue or scarlet
ground, worked all over in chain-stitch arabesques with bright silks,
make a pretty " bit of color " for a shaded corner.
Another effective way of working a table-cover in chain-stitch is to
get black, red, and white cloth or flannel; the black for the centre, the
red next to the black, and the white for the border — and Joining them
by lapping the edge of one a very little way over the other, proceed
to chain-stitch the whole with various colored silks.
The effect is very handsome; and the bordering may differ from
the other part by being done in loose overcast stitch over straight
pieces of zephyr, and finished with little tassels of the bright silks.
Figure 32 is a very pretty Oriental-looking pattern suitable for a
bordering, or it can be used in other ways. The figures placed
Fig. 32. — Oriental Bordering.
together are worked in chain-stitch with silk of two contrasting
colors — two shades being used in each figure. The outer row of the
first is dark -red, and the inner one bi'ight-red. The second figure i»
of two shades of green; the third of two shades of blue; and the
fourth of two shades of yellow. The knotted stitch in the centre of
the ovals is violet. The dots outside the ovals are worked in satin-
stitch, and are alternately red, yellow, violet, and blue. The stems are
of black silk in point-russe stitches. The four ovals are worked in
chain-stitch with silk of two shades of brown.
This is sometimes quite effective in ornamental embroidery.
Figures 33 and 34 give two different patterns. The material is partly
cut away in these illus-
trations, and in some
kinds of work this is
a great improvement.
Ladder-stitch makes very
pretty border lines — the
outer edges being done
in overcast, and the cross-
stitches in point-russe.
Exquisite pieces of M'oi-k have been wrought in silk embroidery
from time immemorial; and there is scarcely a material to which it
may not be applied. A fragment of old embroidery, worked more
than a century ago, is represented as a good subject for study in the
way of coloring.
This fragment is about eight inches deep, intended for bordering,
and is worked on white satin. The material is ravelled out in a fringe
at the bottom; then comes a line about an eighth of an inch wide in
dai'k red floss — then a row of disks shaded in a dark and a light
green; above these and touching one another are two broader lines
of red, one the same color as the first, the other paler; then there is a
representation of moss worked in chenille of three shades of green —
and from this mossy ground spring roses, carnations, forget-me-nots,
and leafy sprays. This part is treated quite decoratively ; and no
attempt is made to preserve the natural proportions of the flowers in
relation to each other, or to their stems and leaves.
In the sprays, one or two leaves are of peach-blossom color. Above
this row of flowers are branches in festoons ; of which the stems are
olive-brown, the leaves shaded, or rather, party-colored, with peach-
blossom inclining to pink, olive-brown, and two or three shades of
green. It will be seen that nature is no more strictly adhered to in
color than in form. ^
Over these branches is a pattern in two shades of peach-blossom,
mingled with a vei-y little blue. Except the moss, the embroidery is
all done in floss silk split very fine. Seen by artificial light, this
82 ABTISTIC EMBROIDEBT.
beautiful piece of work has the brilliancy of cut and polished gems;
while the general effect of color is extremely rich and sweet, and
would harmonize with almost any surroundings.
A beautiful way of treating the ground color, particularly if it be
one that seems to attract too much attention to itself, is by working
a small diaper pattern all over it in a darker shade of the same color
— this gives depth and richness to the whole. A network of dead
gold may be imitated in silk of the right shade.
Dark, brownish greens, deep, dull blues, and rich maroons, make
good grounds; but black is best for a brilliant effect. The ground
must be decidedly dark, or decidedly light — no half-way shades being
allowable, as it is far more important for the colors of the work to
contrast strongly with the ground than with each other.
The French and Chinese excel in silk embroidery; and the pains-
taking double work done in China is well known. The great care
with which the Chinese embroider preserves their materials bright
and shining. These materials are floss and twisted silks — also the
bark of a tree spun into a fine thread. Flat lines of gold also glitter
among the silks, and are used as stems and connecting links.
The drawing of these embroideries is sometimes as uncouth as that
of their paintings; but in some of their flowers (probably copied
from nature) they are often even botanically correct. The iris, for
instance, which frequently appears in their designs, is very true to
nature; and so is the time-honored stork. The iris, Figure 35, is a
good flower for embroidery; and may be made as effective in borders
as the sunflower.
The modern art of embroidery in China is thus graphically
described by a traveller:
"For 22 cash, or tseen, I purcha-sed an elegant book filled with
choice subjects of the graphic art as patterns for the use of the young
needlewoman. She is assumed to be poor, and hence the little manual
is printed at about one penny of our money. It has a cover of a fair
yellow, studded with spangles of gold; and contains between two
and three hundred figures culled from the various stores of nature
*'In fact, the objects are so well-selected and so numerous, that they
might serve as illustrations to a small encyclopaedia. One acquainted
with Chinese literature and natural history might deliver several
lectures with this book before him. The meadow, the grove, the
brook, the antiquary's museum, and the pages of mythology, with
the adornments of the house and garden, are all laid under contri-
" The book is said to be f oi- the use of the person who belongs to the
green window — which is an epithet for the dwelling of a poor woman;
34 ARTISTIC EMBBOIDEKY.
while the red gallery denotes the residence of a rich female. The
industrious poor plies her task near the green lattice, which is made
of earthenware and lets in both the light and the breath of heaven;
while the rich dame leans upon the vermeil-tinted balusters of the
gaudy veranda, and gazes carelessly at the sunbeams as they sparkle
among the flowers, or waves the soft breeze which agitates the green
roof of the Indian tig-tree.
" The title-page presents us with a venerable man in the weeds of
office, holding in his hand a scroll with this motto: 'Heaven's
Magistrate confers wealth.' Oyer his head are bats disporting among
the clouds; the emblems, I suppose, of wakefulness — for these animals
are on the alert while men sleep.
" I once saw two girls at this work in the village of Mongha. They
were seated upon a low stool, and extended their legs across another
of twice the height of their seat. In this way, a support was pro-
vided for the frame on which the piece to be embroidered was spread
forth. Their faces wore a sickly hue; which was owing, perhaps, to
close confinement and the unnatural position in which they were
obliged to sit.
" The finest specimens of embroidery are, so far as my observation
goes, done by men, who stand while at woi'k — a practice which these
damsels could not imitate, as their feet were small. They were poor,
but too genteel, in their parents' idea, to do the drudgery of the
humble housewife; and so their feet wei'e bandaged and kept from
growing beyond the limits of gentility. Their looks were not likely
soon to attract a lover; and hence they were compelled to tease the
sampler from the glistening dawn till dewy eve,"
Chinese embroidery is particularly rich and effective for screen?,
with its clear outlines, its gorgeous flowers, and showy birds and
butterflies. It bears the closest scrutiny — ^each stitch, even the haii*
lines, seems to be placed just in the right spot; and applique is often
brought in so successfully, that it looks as if woven in the material.
The vivid clusters of crepe flowers are beautiful; and the judicious
introduction of gold thread here and there gives a marvellous richness
to the whole woi-k.
Very fine floss-silk is the most common material used, and the
embroidery is done in long irregular stitches. Silk and satin are
generally used for the foundation; but whether the color is vivid
blue, bright scarlet, or pale gold, the effect seems to be equally good.
The apparent carelessness of this work is one of its great attrac-
tions; the bold, free outlines seem easy of imitation; and a study of
the cheap Chinese and Japanese fans will be found very suggestive
in the way of design and coloring. A simple design on one of these
fans has an intensely blue sky at the upper edge — a white moon in its
first quarter at the upper right-hand corner — while at the left-hand
ARTISTIC EMBKOIDERT. 35
lower one, a small bunch of intensely pink flowers send a warm glow
over the whole. The effect is extremely pretty.
Japcmese embroidery, although similar in style and design, seems
finer and more dainty than the Chinese; and yet it is said that their
best specimens of work are kept for home decoration. The finest of
these are the cloths used as covers for the presents given by persons
paying visits of ceremony; these cloths are not given with the
presents they cover, but are family heirlooms. Really good Japanese
work is said to be rarely seen elsewhere.
The pieces of embroidery which are done purposely for a foreign
market are often very handsome; but they do not compare with those
which are executed for their own critical eyes. White birds, usually
storks, on a black satin ground, from which they stand out so clearly
that they seem in the very act of flying, are tlie most common subject.
Some rare pieces are occasionally seen in which the work is exquisite;
in one, the ground will be a deep, soft blue satin, like the sky of a
summer night ; while the leading colors of the embroidery are gold,
pale blue, and white.
In another piece, the groxind is of scarlet moreen, of a sufiiciently
bright yellow scarlet to harmonize with the gold that forms the prin-
cipal color in the embroidery. The subject is a long flight of storks;
not less than eighty of them are flying upwards in a zigzag line — the
angles of which ai'e very carefully studied from the bottom to the top
of the picture.
Most of these storks are embroidered in white silk, the direction of
the stitches giving much of their form; they are pricked out with
black, and there is a little pale pink or pale yellow-green in their
beaks and legs. About a quarter of them are worked all in gold —
representing the birds in shadow, or seen against the light; and these
have little or no detail. Each bird is distinct, separately drawn, and
having his own expression, mode of flight, and position in the line.
The rest of the space is filled by horizontal bars of gold of varying
widths, and groups of fan-stitches also in gold; these seem to indicate
the flat sunset clouds and the tops of the distant trees passed over by
the storks in their flight.
Both in Japanese and Chinese work, the subjects are sometimes
partly painted and partly embroidered; and the two are so happily
blended, that it is diflicult, at a little distance, to see where one kind
of work stops and the other begins.
In imitating this kind of embroidery for small articles, unmeaning
kinds of lines in the way of reeds and grasses, as in Figure 36, have
a particularly characteristic look. Small fans may also be introduced
to advantage; and Figure 37 would admit of a small bird and bough
at the top on a gold-colored ground, with brown lines for sticks; while
Figure 38 might have a top of pink floss or embroidery silk with
36 ABTISTIC EMBEOIDEBY.
black lines at the bottom. These fans may be very much varied, and
can be made extremely ornamental. Figure 39 is a still different
A full-sized fan with small ones embroidered over it "would be a
pretty conceit; or to introduce them in connection with flowers,
butterflies, and other emblems of summer.
It must be Ijofne in mind that this kind of work is never over-
loaded—a few grasses, a butterfly, and a flower, often suflicing for a
DIJSIGJVIJVG AJTB THAJTSFEEBUm BESIGJfS.
This is a most important part of the work, and one that is done in
various ways. Patterns can always be stamped at the various fancy-
work stores, or bought all ready for working; but the embroiderer,
with original ideas c'vnd r^'ime tui*n for drawing, pi tiers to do this
Worsted patterns may v^ien be used for outlines, as tliey are gen-
erally correct in this respect, and the leaves particularly are well
drawn. But those who are able to take their models from natifre will
have less stiffness in their work; and a little practice in this way will
sometimes develop powers hitherto undreamed of. Large single
flowers of all kinds are easiest to begin with; and a lily, or a wild
rose, for instance, will be found quite easy to manage.
A pencil-drawing or a water-color j^ainting can often be accommo-
dated to embroidery ; and a too spreading branch or cluster may be
made more compact by a little management. A spray of apple-
blossoms, M'hich is a particularly desirable model, will frequently over-
step the bounds assigned to it in one way, and not sufficiently fill them
up in another. The best way to manage is to take a piece of paper
the size of the article to be embroidered, and divide it by lines into
foiu- equal parts. The outline of the branch can then be sketched on
it; and the result will probably be that two of the squares are filled,
one barely touched with a leaf, and the other quite empty. More
blossoms, leaves, or twigs, can be added on one side and taken away
on the other; if the whole ground is not sufficiently covered, a butter-
fly, or a bird, may be introduced to furnish a bare corner.
The suitableness of any design for the purpose to which it is to be
applied depends upon whether its position is to be a horizontal or an
Borders of upright sprigs, intended for a horizontal position, single
or grouped, require a line or two below, which serves to keep them
together; without this support they look disjointed, and each sprig is
too independent of the others. They need not touch the line — but
one near at hand seems to keep them from falling into space. When
the sprigs are large a series of lines should be used; and for this pur
pose very pretty designs are often found in Oriental china.
40 ARTISTIC EMBEOIDEEY.
The combination in Figure 40 is simple enough in detail, but very
effective to edge a bordering. It is done in chain-stitch, ladder-stitch,
and }3oint russe.
Small borders are often improved by a mere line on each side; and
the same effect is produced by sewing the bordering on material of a
different shade. ^
Birds and butterflies are naturally associated with flowers*Hhej
give an air of life, and often serve to balance the inequalities of a
design. Butterflies are particularly appropriate from their great
variety both of size and coloring; and being worked like other artistic
embroidery, without any elaboration of detail, they are very easily
Vases, which frequently occur in the fashionable designs, should
either be represented by some material laid on, or worked in lines
only — the outline with the pattern on it, as it would appear in a pencil
drawing without shading.
A beautiful piece of silk embroidery was worked on a ground of
bronze-green satin. There were sprays of convolvulus springing from
a vase of gray satin; the flowers were white, edged with pure blue —
not the purplish blue of the natural flower, for that would not have
harmonized so well — and yet there was nothing unnatural in the effect
of the color. The leaves were of yellow and gray greens, and the
stalks a browoiish green.
Then, to give warmth and life, some sulphur butterflies hovered over
the garlands. Thus, though in the coloring of the design the com-
ponent parts only of the bronze-green ground were used, the effect
Designs are traced in various ways, according to the nature and
color of the material to be embroidered.
For a light-colored ground, the best method is to trace the pattern
on tissue or other thin paper, lay the material flat upon a table, and fix
the place of the pattern upon it very exactly. Then put a piece of
carbonized blue or black paper, face downward, on the material,
between it and the paper pattern; and with a stiletto, or other hard-
pointed but not too sharp instrument (a metallic pencil or a knitting-
needle will often answer the puriDose), trace over all the lines of the
design, taking care to keep the paper pattern from slipping, and that
the fingers do not press too heavily on the transferring-paper, or more
color will come off than is desirable.
An old sheet of paper is more satisfactory than a new one; and it is
advisable to rub the latter gently with a cloth before using it, to
remove any unfixed coloring.
ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY. 41
Pouncing is a more complicated process than tracing; but for dark-
colored materials it is safer.
The design must first be drawn on thick paper, and then pricked
along the lines with a pin. The paper should then be held up to the
light to see that the holes are clear, and close enough together to
make the pattern plain.
When the pattern is fixed, face upward, on the material, dust it over
with starch tied up in thin muslin so that the fine powder goes
through the holes. Flour will answer the purpose, and may be best
applied about the pattern with a soft brush.
The paper must then be taken up very carefully, lifting it straight
upward off the material so that it does not blur the little dots of
white, which ought to be in regular order underneath — marking out
the design. The lines of the pattern should be traced at once, as
indicated by the dots, with the original design before the eye, with
white tracing paint.
There is also a blue powder for delicate light materials, that might
be injured by the carbonized paper.
Another method, when the nature of the design will permit it, is to
cut out the pattern in paper, place it on the material, and trace round
the edges with chalk. Then remove the paper, and go over the chalk
outline with Chinese white — renewing it where it is defective.
The richer the fabric, the more care, of course, is needed in trans-
ferring the design ; and transparent materials should have the pattern
basted underneath. Embroidery in floss is often done on black net —
for which the design should be managed in this way.
ARTICLES IJV SILK EMBROIDERY.
There is scarcely an article for which ornament of this kind is
used that may not be decorated with silk embroidery, and it is suitable
for all materials. Curtains, portieres, and table-covers are very hand'
some done in outline with silk of the same color, but a lighter shade
than the ground; and whole sets of furniture have been undertaken
by ambitious workers.
A SCREEN OF PEACOCK FEATHERS.
This was embroidered on a foundation of pale peach-blossom silk
with split floss, and made up with a plain ebony frame, ornamented
here and there with a little dead gold.
It was an exquisite piece of work, both in design and execution;
and so wonderfully .did the brilliant silks reflect the changeful hues of
the bronze-greens and browns, that it was diflicult to convince visitors
that real feathers were not fastened on. The only pattern used by
the embroiderer was one tail-feather dropj^ed by a majestic fowl almost
at her feet; and while walking with the trophy in her hand, the
design of the screen came to her and was forthwith executed.
It was a good-sized fire-place screen ; and as the room was furnished
in dark-blue, it showed to great advantage.
A PRETTY BANNER-SCREEN.
This was fastened to the end of the mantel; and the crimson satin
foundation was covered with a small diaper pattern in maroon silk.
Thick clusters of small daisies without leaves were worked as a bor-
dering in embroidery-stitch; the centres in knot-stitch. In the middle
of the screen was a beautifully-designed monogram in gold-colored
was attached to a gilt stand. This stood on a table and was intended
to shade the eyes from a lamp or candle. The ground was of pale
green silk, and it was beautifully embroidered with ivy-leaves of
darker shades. In the centre, there was an antique lamp done in gold
thread; and the banner was finished with a chenille fringe of green
ai^d white. It was lined with white silk.
Figure 41 may be used for a variety of purposes. It makes a very
pretty top for a small table; and is worked in stalk-stitch, chain-
stitch, point russe, and knotted
stitch, with the flowers in pink,
claret-color, and yellow, on a
pale-blue ground. The sprays
and leaves are in shades of olive-
The table, which looks best
with a pedestal of ebony, or
ebonized wood, has a border-
fringe of Macrame lace.
A very handsome bordering
for window-curtains was lately
worked by an artistic needle-
woman; figures of dragons in
Fig. 41. gold-colored embroidery-silk on
a ground of maroon rep. The
bordering was intended for a soft gray material; and the straight
cornice-band was embroidered in the same device.
Silk embroidery is very ornamental for dresses — although for this
purpose usually done only in one color. Ordinarily, it would be a
formidable piece of work to do it in the style of smaller articles; but
ingenuity and rapid execution sometimes go hand in hand. The
heroine of a story is represented as threading her needle with one
length of crimson silk, and with this scanty material, bringing out a
crimson rose on a silk handkerchief almost as quickly as a magician
could do it. A few deft stitches — and there it was. It was taken to
pieces quite as easily, and no trace of it remained.
But embroidery does not usually go on in this fashion; it is careful
work ; and she W' ho takes the greatest pains, as a general thing meets
with the best success. i
)Embroidered robes for full dress are decidedly the fashion now;
and one of black silk, or lace, embroidered with carnations, is beau-
44 ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY.
tif ul for a brunette — while the delicate blonde may "wreathe herself
with blue convolvulus, or deeply-pink wild roses, on a white or cream-
colored ground. Every one has her favorite flower; and to wear it
embroidered on an evening dress is a graceful way of proclaiming it.
Painted panels and tiles have become almost a mania; but the
needle of the embroideress can produce quite as charming results.
Painting is more quickly done; but every one cannot paint, while
many who cannot do this can embroider exquisitely.
To keep the embroidered panel or tile fresh and bright, it should
be protected by glass; and properly treated, it will be quite as satis-
factory as painting.
The two panels for the doors of a small hanging-cabinet are very
pretty with a ground of cloth-of-gold, gold-colored satin, or silk — a
spray of wistaria worked on one — wild roses on the other. Violets
and anemones are pretty together; and on anything with four panels
may be represented the flowers or birds of the four seasons.
Silhouettes in black silk may be worked on all colored grounds for
tiles; and ingenuity can accomplish wonders in this way. The whole
procession of flowers, from the first snow-drop, or hepatica, of early
spring, to the holly and berries of Christmas, may be followed up on
tiles; the fans and umbrellas of all nations; and various other sugges-
tions, both practical and amusing.
SMALL CURTAINS OR HANGINGS
For cabinets and book-shelves may be made of various materials,
and ornamented with silk embroidery. The patterns should be more
delicate and finished, and the materials of finer quality than for large
hangings. Arabesques of chain-stitch in gold-colored silk on a dark-
blue ground of velveteen, with a pretty border pattern at top and
bottom; or a bright-colored bird on a branch, with a butterfly in one
corner, for a back-ground; buttercups and daisies on a ground of
golden-brown, would all be effective.
A WREATHED PICTURE.
Something new in the way of embroidery is to border a picture in
this manner. The frames with painted corners may be imitated with
the needle, and the daisies, violets, and other flowers will be found
quite as ornamental in embroidery.
But the wreathed picture was a fine engraving of the Mater
Dolorosa, small enough to make the process practicable. It was
unmounted, and the back carefully pasted on the foundation of light-
blue satin. Not a wrinkle was visible after it was thoroughly
ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY. 45
smoothed "with a soft piece of old cambric; and after sewing a piece
of narrow, gold-colored silk braid around the edge, a wreath of
Annunciation lilies was traced and embroidered on the satin. It was
so beautifully done as to look like painting; and with a glass over
the whole the illusion was complete. It was put in a gilded Floren-
AN EMBROIDERED ROOM.
It was very pretty to read about in a story, and not imijossible to
carry out practically. The prevailing colors of the room were pale-
blue and carnation; and the curtain-lambrequins of pale-blue were
embroidered with sprays of woodbine in its autumn dress of vivid
scarlet and crimson. The mantel-hanging was in blocks like tiles,
done in the same colors; and the panels of a home-made cabinet wei'e
These things, with other accessions, made it a charming room; and
if one could walk bodily into just such an apartment, the effect would
doubtless be all that it was represented.
A FAN TABLE-COVER.
Outlined palm leaves are very jsretty, and fans are no less so. The
groundwork of cloth, flannel, or satin (if a small table), has three or
five parallel strips of velvet ribbon sewn down on each side with
point russe stitches of gold-colored silk, and put far enough apart for
fans of all colors to be embroidered between them.
These are worked in long embroidery-stitch; and although less
work if merely outlined, they are so very much richer and brighter
looking when filled in as to be quite worth the trouble. The ground
may be of any color that harmonizes with the rest of the room.
Long embroidered strips that will cover both back and seat of the
kind of lounging-chair now so much in use are very pretty worked
like the table-cover — the groundwork of the middle stri]) being of
gray satin or velveteen, with the rows of fans separated by garnet-
colored velvet ribbon, and a strip of the same colored velveteen on
either side of the gray. A fringe where the covering ends at top and
bottom gives it the look of being carelessly thrown there.
We have just been shown two exquisite pieces of embroidery
intended for fire-screens. One represented flame-colored gladioli on
a black satin ground, and was rich beyond expression; the other was
worked with cat-tails, reeds, and some unpretending little yellow
46 ARTISTIC EMBEOIDERT.
flowers on a blue ground. The material looked like a Chinese
The coloring of both of these needle-paintings was perfect; and as
to the stitches, it was difficult to believe that there were any — the
shades were blended as if with a brush.
A CHILD'S AFGHAN.
It was made of strips of pink and white cashmere; the pink ones
embroidered with daisies, the white ones with pansies, in embroidery-
silk — and it was one of the prettiest things of the kind ever seen. It
was lined with thin pink silk slightly wadded and quilted, and
bordered with a ruching of pink ribbon. The seams were concealed
by lines of feather-stitch in garnet-colored silk.
The resources of silk embroidery are inexhaustible; and all sorts
of small articles, pin-cushions, brackets, watch-stands, glove-boxes,
sachets, etc., will suggest themselves. Fans, too, are beautifully
embroidered, and divide admiration with fine painting. Ornamental
velvets for neck, wrists, and belt, are a fashionable device — and these
are embroidered with single flowers: daisies, violets, etc.
This is a very fine kind of embroidery, and specimens of it are
quite rare. As the name implies, it is intended to imitate a picture,
and is generally used only for small subjects — the stitches being
almost too minute to be distinguished at all.
It is done on white silk or satin, which is carefully stretched in a
frame, and the design is then drawn on it. This is sketched with a
pencil, and usually woi'ked in black silk; the various shades between
black and white may be used, but not colors — as the object is to
represent an engraving. Lead color, or pale slate, will be as suitable
A very fine needle must be used, and fine silk to correspond; and a
dotted engraving can be so well imitated in this kind of work that it
is almost impossible to tell the difference. The stitch used is known
as masking-stitch; and it is set as closely as possible without lapping
one over another.
) In working a copy of an engraving, the embroiderer begins with
the darkest shades, which are done with black silk; gradually pro-
ceeding to the lightest tints, with silks of the intermediate shades —
blending them into each other with the nicest care. To accomplish
this, where it is necessary to introduce the lighter portions, the stitches
are set wide apart and the intervals filled up by putting in the lightest
The worker must always ha:\^e the engraving before her to study the
lights and shades. Fine engravings can be copied in the same way —
but the stitches should be longer and wider apart.
This kind of needlework requires great patience and is a heavy strain
upon the eyesight; and considering the beautiful effects produced by
other methods with less outlay, it is not likely to become very
SILK EMBROIDERY WITH GOLD.
Much of the ancient work used for hangings was magnificently
wi'ought with a mixture of gold embroidery — as much of the Indian
needlework is now done, especially in Japan and China. The royal
palace of Jeddo has a profusion of the finest tapestry, wrought by
the most curious hands, and adorned with pearls, gold, and silver, and
other costly embellishments.
The Moors of Spain have been especially celebrated for their rich
and beautiful decorative work; and with them originated the custom
of using tapestiy for curtains. Mohammed forbade his followers to
imitate animals, or insects, in their ornamental work; and from this
circumstance, the tei*m Arabesque, which represents their style of
decoration, was used to express all odd combinations of patterns from
which human and animal forms were excluded.
Gold was introduced into these arabesques with the richest possible
effect; and this style of design has never lost its popularity. It is
often mixed with other patterns in colors; but the simple richness of
an arabesque in black and gold cannot be excelled.
In the Middle Ages the most beautiful gold embroidery was called
opus Anglicanum ; and this name clung to it whether it was done in
England or not. Much of this work was done in the convents, or
" shee-schools," as quaint old Fuller calls them; and besides church
vestments, which will be mentioned elsewhere, very beautiful secular
robes and pieces of tapestry were wrought in silk and gold.
The richest tapestry was in pieces like large flags or banners; and
was a prominent decoration on all occasions of festivity or rejoicing.
Ornamental needlework of all kinds was hung from the windows, or
balconies, in those streets through which a pageant, or festal proces-
sion, was to pass — just as flags are suspended now; and as the houses
were then built with the upper stories far overhanging the lower ones,
these draperies frequently hung in rich folds to the ground. When r.
street was thus adorned through its whole length, and partly roofed
by the floating streamers and banners above, it must have had some-
what the appearance of a suite of magnificent saloons.
ARTISTIC EMBROIDEKY. 49
The art of embroidering with gold and silver is very ancjent, and
these costly materials were often woven into fabrics as well; but the
pure metal was then used, beaten into thin plates, and then cut into
narrow slips, which were rounded with a hammer and filed to make
threads or wire.
The method is exactly described in Exodus xxxix. 3, as practised
by the Israelites : " And they did beat the gold into thin plates, and
cut it into wires, to work it in the blue, and in the purple, and in the
scarlet, and in the fine linen with cunning work."
Old embroidered robes are mentioned made entirely of these gold
threads without any linen or woolen ground. Pieces of embroidery
worked with gold were called " orphreys," from the mediaeval
aurifrigium or aurifrasmni / and mention is made, in the reign of
Edward III., of two vests of green velvet embroidered with gold, one
of which was decorated with sea-sirens bearing a shield with the arms
of England and Hainault. Also of a robe of velvet worked with
gold; and an outer garment wrought with pelicans, images, and
tabernacles of gold.
An ancient Persian carpet was of silk and cloth of gold sixty cubits
square. It was intended to represent a garden; and the figures were
of gold embroidery, with the colors heightened by precious stones;
the ruby, the sapphire, the beryl, the topaz, and the pearl, being
arranged with great skill to represent, in beautiful mosaic, trees, fruit
and flowers, rivulets, fountains, and shrubs of every description.
These specimens, however, are things of the past.
of this kind is generally used in large and bold designs, where much
display and extreme brilliancy are desired.
In these days, instead of the pure metal, silver, or copper wire, gilt
is used. Silver threads are covered either with the pure metal, or
with plated copper. The Chinese very cunningly use slips of gilt
paper which they twist upon silk threads, and with which they manage
to produce very beautiful effects.
Cord, braid, thread, bullion, spangles, beads, passing, etc., are all
used in gold embroidery, and in embroidery with gold and silk.
Of these, " passing," as it is termed, is the finest material of the
kind. It is a smooth thread of an even size, and resembles a thin,
metallic wire — differing from gold cord in the closeness with which
the flattened wire is spirally twisted round the silk, and in being
formed of only one thread. ^
)It is used in the same way as silk, the stitch being generally satin-
stitch; and the needle should be an ordinary needle with a large eye,
50 ARTISTIC EMBEOIDERT.
and coarse enough to prevent the fretting of the gold as it is passed
backwards and forwards through the work.
Beautiful embroidery is wrought by the Turks with " passing " on
This is a twist of two or more threads, which are wound around
with the flattened wires in a contrary direction to that of " passing " —
two, three, or four threads being used for needlework.
Cord is often employed for edging braid-work, or flat embroidery —
also for working braiding-patterns. It is also used with beautiful
effect as a ground for small, ornamental articles. Fine silk of the
same color is best for sewing it on; and ^reat care must be taken, in
doing this, not to chip the metal surface, or the silk will show beneath
and give the work a broken appearance. The needle should be held
as horizontally as possible, and passed between the interstices of the
cord — slightly catching up a thread or two of the material it is
intended to ornament.
This is a kind of plaited lace, made of three or more threads.
There are various qualities and makes, suited to different purposes,
and great judgment is required in their selection. When it is to be
used on velvet, a round, full, close make should be chosen.
It may be bought of various widths; and as a general thing, the
less gold there is about it, the cheaper it is, and the more liable to
tarnish. Mosaic, or copper-gilt, is the least expensive, and also the
This is a very rich and effective material — being made of a fine
wire so exquisitely twisted, that it forms a smooth, round, elastic
tube, which may be cut with scissors into the necessary lengths.
There are three kinds of bullion: rough, smooth, and checked — all
of which are frequently used together in the same piece of work.
When a large letter, for instance, is to be embroidered in bullion,
after it is traced, the surface is raised with cotton, and the bullion cut
into pieces of the proper size; then three stitches might be made with
the smooth, two with the rough, and two with the checked; then,
again, two with the rough and three with the smooth; this would form
a kind of pattern, and add very much to the richness of the letter.
Short pieces of bullion can be introduced into patterns worked with
gold thread to great advantage — two or three of them in the cup of
a flower, and in various other ways. To fasten them on properly.
ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY. 61
take the stitch (the needle beiug threaded with gold-colored silk)
lengthwise of the bullion, through the twist — this causes it to lie flat
on the foundation.
Stars of every forai may be made in this way: they are extremely
brilliant. The centres of flowers are often formed of bullion; in that
case, however, the stitch does not pass through the twist its full
length, but is shorter — so that the middle of the bullion is depressed,
and the extremities elevated; or the stitch may be passed through
both ends of the piece of bullion, and being drawn rather tight, a
slight prominence, or expansion, will be given to the middle. Either
method has a beautiful effect.
These are small pieces of silver or other metal, gilt or plated — out
into various forms, though usually round — and with a hole in the
centre through which the silk is passed that fastens them to the work.
It is not easy to secure them proj^erly, and at the same time to con-
ceal the means by which it is done. The only way to accomplish it
is to bring the silk from the under side and pass it through the small
hole in the centre of the spangle; the needle is next to be passed
through a very small piece of bullion, and then put back through the
hole again. This does away with the unsightly appearance of a
thread across the spangle, and makes it more secure.
Spangles were once extensively used in decorative work, to give it
richness and glitter; but now they are chiefly used to ornament
fringes and tassels, and other Masonic paraphernalia. Their value
depends on their brilliancy and color, and the amount of gold used in
Spangled fans are very showy; and black satin or black tulle is a
good foundation for showing them to advantage.
This belongs more particularly, perhaps, to " the art of sewing in
golde and silke;" and " a robe of Indian silk thickly wrought with
flowers of gold" was certainly a gorgeous object. Another robe was
adorned with roses of gold wrought with marvellous skill, and
bordered with pearls and precious stones of exceeding value.
Various materials are used as foundations for embroidery in gold
thread: crape, India muslin, or some kind of silk, being usually pre-
ferred as giving the best effect, and displaying the rich devices to
the greatest advantage.
The thread used should be fine and even in texture; a little care in
this matter will make the work comparatively easy. Satin-stitch is
the one generally used; and if the material to be embroidered is
62 AUTISTIC EMBROIDERY.
transparent, tlie pattern is laid under the foundation, and the outline
traced in white thread.
In working a slender flower-stalk, the running thread of white
should be omitted; gold thread should be run in, and then slightly-
sewed over with another thread of gold; this will give a spiral
appearance, which is very beautiful.
In using silk with gold thread, it is best to use silk of one color — a
variety of colors tending to destroy the harmony of contrast. Green
and gold have always been close friends, and silk of a bright green
mingled with the gold thread has a very rich effect. Gray and gold,
black and gold, and many other combinations might be mentioned;
but a green branch or sprigs embroidered in silk, with flowers formed
of gold thread and bullion, is as pretty a onie as can be made.
In working crests, however, or coats-of-arms, in which gold thread
is much used, the heraldic arrangement of metals and colors must be
faithfully followed. In such cases, the silk must be of as many coloi's
as in the arms when j^roperly emblazoned; and great care must be
taken in working devices in imitation of arms, never to place a metal
upon a metal, or a color upon a color.
In some very rich Indian work lately seen, the ground was of gold
thread worked in spirals — the rich colors of embroidery silks laid on
this made it perfectly dazzling. **
India muslins are sometimes worked with a gilt or j^lated sheet of
very thin metal cut into strips, or any shape wanted, with scissors.
Tinsel is an imitation of it, and it comes in various colors.
Gold beads and gold and silver fringes are more or less used.
These all vary greatly in size and quality, and are valuable according
to the amount of gold used in their manufacture. c
Silver thread, cord, or braid, is more likely to tarnish than gold,
and is not so rich-looking. There is, besides, embroidery silk of a
decidedly silver white, which produces almost the effect of silver
thread or cord.
EMBBOIDEBED BOOKS AJ^D OTHEB ABTICLES.
" And often did she look
On that which in her hand she bore,
In velvet bound and broidered o'er —
Her breviary book."
When books were regarded as precious treasures, and the purchase
of a single volume involved as much outlay as a rare painting, before
the art of printing became established, the caskets that held such
valuable possessions were deemed worthy of much labor and expense.
Rare old carved ivory, gold and silver plates, and precious stones,
were often used on book-covers; and the most ancient existing speci-
men of this gorgeous style of book-making is written in silver and
gold letters on a purple ground. Rich and curious devices were often
wro light with the needle on the velvet, or brocade, which last became
more exclusively the fashionable material for binding.
The new passion for books which was at its height in Queen Eliza-
beth's day made the ornamentation of book-covers a favorite employ-
ment of the high-born dames of England. A book of rhetoric of that
time has been preserved as much for the sake of the outside as for its
contents. The cover is of crimson satin, on which is embroidered a
coat-of-arms: a lion rampant in gold thread on a blue field, with a
transverse badge in scarlet silk, the minor ornaments all wrought in
fine gold thread.
A MAROON-VELVET BOOK.
Another old book is bound in rich maroon velvet, with the royal
arms, the garter and motto embroidered in blue; on a ground of
crimson, the fleur-de-lys, leopards, and letters of the motto are worked
in gold thread. A coronet, or crown of gold, is inwrought with
pearls; at the corners are roses in red silk and gold; the cover is
finished with a narrow border in burnished gold thread.
A QUEEN'S NEEDLEWORK.
A book of prayers copied put by Queen Elizabeth before she
ascended the throne is covered with canvas wrought all over, in a kind
of tent-stitch, with rich crimson silk and silver thread intermixed.
Fig. 42. — Border for Cover of Bible, Prater-Book, etc,
Artistic embroideby. 65
Elizabeth's own needle worked the ornaments, consisting of the
letters " H. K.," intertwined in the middle — a smaller " K " above
and below — and roses in the corners — all very much raised, and
worked in blue silk and silver.
An edition of Petrarch's Sonnets, printed at Venice in 1544, is still
in beautiful preservation. The back is of dark crimson velvet; and
on each side is worked a large royal coat-of-arms in silk and gold
highly raised. The book belonged to Edward VI.
ANOTHER ROYAL BOOK
has a cover of crimson silk with a Prince's feather worked in gold
thread in the centre. The three feathers are bound together with
large pearls and wreathed with leaves and flowers. Round the edge
of the cover there is a broader wreath; and corner-sprigs in gold
thread are thickly interspersed with spangles and gold leaves.
These elegant volumes,
" In velvet bound and broidered o'er,"
are to be seen in the British Museum; and although the day is past
for adorning book-covers in so showy a fashion, these articles may be
more modestly ornamented with very good effect.
Kid, or leather, makes a very suitable cover for a Bible or Prayer-
Book. Two shades of brown may be used for the border pattern in
Figure 42 — the figures in the lighter shade to be worked around with
gold thread, either in chain-stitch or in stalk-stitch. Silk may be
substituted for the gold thread.
A ground of gray kid, with the figures in black edged with gold,
would be equally suitable. On one side of the cover, a small cross to
match the boi'der — and on the other, the owner's monogram would
make an appropriate finish for either book.
The rich design in Figure 43 is on a foundation of black velvet, to
which white faille is applied around the cross.
The figui-es of the design being outlined, the lines are run on the
edges with maize-colored silk — going back and forth, and overcasting
them with gold bullion. The passion-flowers, wheat, leaves, and
ornaments of the cross, are worked in satin-stitch with gold thread.
For the stems and vines, gold cord is sewed on with gold-colored
A BOOK OF ENGRAVINGS
would be very ornamental with an embroidered cover. Crimson or
maroon-colored velveteen, brown kid, or gray canvas, could be
5G ARTISTIC EMBROIDERT.
Landsomely worked with silk and gold thread. Borderingn of
catalogues and circulars might be. copied to advantage — some of
Fig. 43. — CovEK EOR Prater-Book.
these being very rich: black, with gold bars and dots, jjink, crimson,
Heraldic devices, ricli monograms, dainty comers, all look well in
this kind of work; and a bordering of gold acorns, or clover leaves,
on a brown or olive ground, is always handsome.
may be made as attractive as the contents,
according to the style of the illustrations. Rus-
sia duck is a very good foundation; and if the
contents are of a comic nature, a Chinese or
Japanese figure, or dragon, or either uncanny
beast or bird, may be outlined and made very
rich and showy with embroidery in the
proper colors mixed with gold thread or
Pongee, too, may be nicely embroidei-ed;
and is very pretty for thin books tied with
a ribbon at the back. In this way, the
contents can be changed at pleasure.
should be more delicate, and
worked on velvet, or silk.
Figure 44 makes a very
pretty corner for this
purpose; and Figure
45 is very effective
Fig. 44. — Corner of Border in Satin Stitch Embroidert for
Album Covers, Portfolios, etc.
on a small book. The stars might be done in gold thread, the centre
hi point-russe with black silk — the diamonds in satin-stitch of a lighter
or darker shade of the same color as the foundation.
Portfolios may be embroidered in tbe same way; and whether for
writing materials or for engravings, they can be made very orna^
A very rich and handsome letter-case is represented in Figures 46
and 47: Figure 46 showing it when completed, and Figure 47 display-
ing the principal part of the embroidery.
The most suitable ground for the rich gold embroidery is velvet-
brown, crimson, or blue; but it may be made very handsomely in kid
or morocco. The larger part of the case is eleven inches long, and
eight inches wide; on the upper part of this book, there is a pattern
in gold soutache, and the word Letters or Lettres embroidered in
gold bullion; beneath this, there is a pattern worked with white
satin beads, edged round with fine white chenille — the scroll pattern
is embroidered in gold.
The second part is placed over the lower part of the first, and forms
the pocket which holds the letters. The central flower is formed witl/
eleven oval beads, edged with white chenille; another white bead is
placed in the centre, and edged with gold. The other flowers are
also composed of white satin beads edged with gold.
GOLD AND SILK EMBROIDERY.
This rich pattern is intended for a cnsliion, or chair-cover. It is
particularly handsome on a ground of blue velvet, or satin; and the
large flowers, leaves, and stems, are all outlined with gold thread
sewed on with fine yellow silk. The stamens are worked in satin-
Stitch with yellow silk, and the veins in point-russe with blue
The forget-me-nots are done in satin-stitch with blue silk, and the
centres in knotted-stitch with gold thread. The veins and stems are
done in stalk-stitch, and the sprays and vines in point-russe with blue
The work is finished on the outer edge with a thick cord of blue
silk and gold thread.
Figure 49 is intended for a cigar-case; but if widened, it would
make a very pretty book or portfolio cover.
The material should be light-brown Russia leather; the wheat-
sheaf is embroidered in satin-stitch with dark-brown silk — the stem
and light outlines in stalk-stitch with gold thread. The bordering is
of gold cord, with a network of dark-brown silk, and stitched with
black at all the crossings and centres.
Monogram in Gold Thread.
This very pretty monogram is worked with gold thread; the leaves
and flowers may be done with silk if preferred.
APPLIED WORK WITH EMBROIDERY.
Applique, as it is usually called, is the most simjsle kind of decora-
tive needlework, being nothing more than a pattern cut out of one
material and transferred on another. It must, of course, like all
fancy-work, be neatly done, with no rough edges or mis-matching
figures, and embroidery of some kind is used as a finish; but the
Bame amount of skill and practice is not required as in other artistic
When j^roperly done, it is very rich and effective; and it recom-
mends itself by the charming results produced with comparatively
little labor. The materials may be of almost any kind; but it is
necessary that the ornamental ^Jart should harmonize with the founda-
tion. One would not think, for instance, of applying velvet on
cotton, or linen — while on satin, it makes the richest kind of applied
Applique may be fine or coarse according to the purpose for which
it is intended; if fine, it is safer to put it in a frame before beginning
the work. If the groundwork is velvet, satin, or silk, holland should
be stretched in a frame, and the design drawn upon it and upon the
velvet or other material; they should then be pasted together, and
cut out with a sharp pair of scissors. Cloth and commoner materials
do not require this "backing," as it is called; but may be cut after
the pattern is traced, and pasted directly on the groundwork.
The gum, or paste, used for this purpose should be as thick and
dry as possible, for fear of its coming through and staining the
material; and before pasting on cloth or velvet, it will be well to lay
the pieces down where they are to be fastened, and view them from
various points to see that the pile always goes the same way — or a
different shade of color will be the result.
When the material is particularly delicate, isinglass is used instead
of paste; and the piece applied should be very carefully smoothed
before it is left to dry — as a curved or cross-cut piece is apt to get out
of its proi^er curves or to stretch too much.
With a complicated design, the pattern should be traced on the
material, and the duplicate parts numbered that they may fit perfectly
ARTISTIC EMBROIBEBT. 6?
together. One vra.j of fastening the edges down is to buttonhole
them with a lighter or darker shade of silk than the material applied.
The veins of leaves are defined by long stitches, also of a lighter or
In the commoner kinds of applique, cloth, for instance, on duck, or
Turkish towelling, or on cloth of another color, basting will generally
answer the purpose of keeping the pattern securely in its place.
Magnificent work is done in applique; curtains of gold-colored
satin with garnet velvet leaves — the edges defined with a white cord,
in which a little blue was mingled; cushions of Moorish arabesques,
scarlet velvet on white satin — the velvet edged with gold braid;
mantel-lambrequins of brown velvet figures on a groundwork of dead-
gold ; these suggest endless variations, which a little taste and some
eye for color may make beautiful in the extreme.
Ivy leaves are especially satisfactory in this kind of work ; and so
is any large, clearly-defined figure. The accompanying illustration
will be found useful for a bordering. The leaves and flowers are
Fig. 51. — Border ik Applique.
made of crimson cloth — the stems and veinings of black embroidery
silk. This would be very effective on a gray ground; but any color
both of cloth and silk may be used. It would be particularly pretty
for a basket or a table-cover.
Our next illustration is
A LAMBREQUIN IN APPLIQUE.
Beautiful combinations may be made with white, scarlet, and blue
cloth, embroidered with black, gold-colored, and maroon silks, in
feather-stitch and point-russe — which are the principal stitches used
\n this kind of work. For small lambrequins, to decorate baskets and
brackets, such combinations are very effective; and the illustration
shows a particularly pretty one.
The upper part of the lambrequin is of white cloth cut in points,
and pinked in a small pointed pattern; the under part, of which the
points are larger and pinked in scallops, is of garnet color. On the
white points are star-like flowers with buds of blue cloth; and on the
claret-colored ones, the same in pink cloth — ornamented with point-
russe stitches of silk to match. The middle of each flower Is a round
piece of yellow cloth fastened with point-russe stitches of red silk.
The Stems and sprays are done in stalk, chain, and feather stitches of
light green silk.
The dark points have, near the pinking, a line of twisted button-
hole stitches in maize-colored silk — and the light points have a similar
line of red silk. Both are also ornamented with steel beads.
ARTISTIC EMBROIDEET. 69
A handsome tobacco pouch may be made from the illustrations,
which .represent the two patterns used — each side being duplicated.
Four such pieces are cut out of crimson or scarlet cloth, and worked
in applique. In the first one, the chain-stitch border (not the outer
edge) is worked with green silk. The knot from which the different
articles are suspended is done with black silk; the cigar-case is of
yellow cloth; the cigars worked in satin-stitch with brown silk. The
case has two bands of chain-stitch in blue silk, and is edged all round
with button-hole stitch in the same color. The pipes are of white
cloth shaded with long stitches of gray silk, and edged with yellow.
The upper part of the pouch is of blue cloth, with a white silk edging
and yellow dots; the under part of brown cloth, with black edging
and a pattei-n worked in chain-stitch with white; the three tassels are
embroidered with black and yellow silk.
In the second pattern, the outer border is yellow, the knots black;
the small pattern at the top is of blue cloth edged with yellow; the
pipes of white cloth edged with blue and shaded with gray. The
bundle of cigars is of brown cloth shaded with black stitches, and
fastened on with double rows of chain-stitcli in yellow silk. The
cigar-case is of light green cloth edged with white; the Grecian
pattern and dots are embroidered over it with white silk also.
To make the pouch up, join the four pieces together by seams —
which are concealed by gold braid; cut out also and join four similar
pieces of white kid for the lining; fasten this to the outside at the top
only. Sew small brass rings around the top, and run a double piece of
crimson silk cord through them. Put silk tassels of various colors at
the bottom of the pouch and at each of its four corners.
Approj^riate devices for needlebooks, work-baskets, toilet-boxes,
etc., may be made from these suggestions; and there is no reason why
the small articles in daily use should not be as complete and artistic
in their way as more pretentious undertakings. Many who cannot
attempt large pieces of work will appreciate these small patterns.
Figure 55 gives a quarter of a very handsome lamp-mat in applica-
tion and embroidery.
The foundation is a square piece of olive-green cloth, on which is
applied a rim of pale-blue cloth two inches wide. The edge is
bordered with a thread of dark-blue and light-brown double zephyr
worsted, which is overcast on the foundation with fawn-colored silk
Having transferred the outlines of the design to the rim and to the
olive-green cloth foundation, as shown in the illustration, work the
buds in the centre of the foundation with pale pink and light yellow
bourette worsted — and the calyxes witli reseda worsted, in two shades,
in diagonal button-hole stitch ; the loops of which meet in the middle
of each leaf, forming the vein. The vines ^ve -y^^orked in herring-
bone stitch with old gold-colored filling silk. Chain stitches of similar
silk define the stems.
On the blue cloth, the flowers are worked with pink and yellow
bourette worsted in two shades; and the leaves and calyxes with olive
and reseda woi-sted, in several shades, in diagonal button-hole stitch.
The vines and stems are worked in chain-stitch with yellowish-brown
filling silk in three shades. The calyxes are defined with satin-stitches
Fig. 55. — Design^ for Lamp Mats. — Application Embroidery.
of light-yellow filling silk, which are edged with chain-stitches of
The rim is embroidered in point-russe with light-brown double
zephja* worsted in the manner shown in the illustration. For the
trimming on the outer edge of the mat, overcast a thi-ead of yellow-
brown and a thread of light yellow double zephyr worsted in double
AETISTIC EMBROIDERY. ^1
I'ows Avith dark and light yellow silk floss on the foundation in
scallops — fill the interval with knotted stitches of pale pink worsted,
and border the scallops alternately with a long and a short button-
hole stitch of old-gold-colored filling silk. Trim the pinked edge of
the foundation with tassels of worsted in the colors of the embroidery.
Fig. 56. — Applicatio:n' Border.
These pretty borders may also be ixsed as strips for afghans and
For Figure 56, a strip of blue cloth an inch and a quarter wide is
placed on a foundation of ecru linen; and through the middle is run
a white braid with horizontal stitches of green, vertical stitches of
yellow-brown, and cross-stitches of pink worsted. The blue strip is
bordered on both sides with dark-green worsted braid, sewed on with
a cross-stitch of light-green worsted, which is wound with maroon
worsted. Diagonal stitches of light and dark red worsted, crossed
with horizontal stitches of dark-blue worsted, border the braid on the
The border in Figure 5 7 is made also of ecru linen, on which claret-
colored braid three-quarters of an inch wide is basted. On the latter,
dark-green braid a quarter of an inch wide is fastened with a cross
seam of white split filling silk, caught down with black. The crossed
stitches on the inner edge of the maroon braid are in blue and gold —
the point-russe stitches beyond in scarlet and black.
In the middle of the border, apply round pieces of white cloth with
point-russe stitches of green silk; and connect them with vertical
Btitches of maroon, which are fastened on the foundation at the
middle with cross stitches of the same color.
KEY-BAG IN APPLIQU^ AND EMBROIDERY.
Both sides of this handsome key-bag are given in Figures 58 and
59. It is made of gray kid and lined with gray silk.
On one side is embroidered a key formed of poppies, with their
leaves and stems* and at the top of the key is perched an owl. The
poppies are worked with five shades of blue-green silk; the plumage
of the owl with four shades of brown silk — the shades all blending
almost imjDerceptibly together. The owl's eyes are worked in scarlet
and white silk.
The other side of the bag has appliqu^ figures of steel-colored silk
in the form of a Gothic lock. They may be edged either with gold
cord or with fine gray silk cord. The screens are done in satin-stitch
with silver-gray silk.
After lining each side, the two parts of the bag are joined with a
border of gray ribbon, continued around the whole as in the illustra-
tions. It is stitched on with fine gray silk. The bag is fastened
with a steel button and a silk loop.
57. — Application Border.
Figures 60 and 61 are rich border patterns suitable for table-covers,
mats, and brackets. The embroidery is in button-hole, point-russe
stitches and knots; the veinings of the leaves in Figure 60 in stalk-
stitch and long embroidery stitch. The colors can be arranged to
suit the taste of the worker.
SILK APPLIQUE WORK.
This is principally used for flowers and leaves; and when care is
taken in shading, the efiiect is almost if not quite equal to embroi-
The pansy is one of the easiest flowers to imitate in this way — the
two upper petals being made of purple silk, and the lower ones ol
violet, or yellow; with the edges button-holed round, and a few long
stitches put in by way of veining.
Rose petals may be beautifully done by .selecting silk of the pre-
vailing hue of the petal, and shading with fine embroidery or split
Riling silk. Stalks and tendrils, and leaf-veinings are worked with
A cluster of apple-blossoms is very pretty in this kind of work;
and may be done on a ground of pale-blue, gray, or olive. Satin or
velvet would make a very handsome foundation. So delicate a piece
of work should be done with great care; and besides the edging in
button-hole and the long stitches in embroidery-silk, delicate shading
is done with filling silk.
The main stems and tendrils are woi-ked in stalk-stitch with green
and brown embroidery-silk; where the stems join flower or bud, and
for other little finishing touches, satin-stitch is used. The centres of
the blossoms are of yellow silk in knot-stitch and common embroidery-
Silk is sometimes applied on lace with good effect; and the finest
specimen known of this work is the beautiful shawl made for the
Empress Eugenie, and for some time past on exhibition at Stewart's.
Fig. 60. — Border in Applique.
Seen through its glass-case, it is a marvel of coloring and truth to
nature; the roses almost perfume the air, and the graceful droop of
the wistaria in the centre is perfect. This piece of art-needlework
fully deserves its name, and is valued at $100,000; but it is a question
if all that weary labor with those minute pieces of silk (so joined on
the under side that the points of meeting can be seen only through
a magnify ing-glass), to say nothing of the cobweb-lace foundation
(also hand-made), could possibly be remunerated with money.
The subject of applique could not be exhausted without some
reference to this popular branch of it — which, when new, was con-
sidered the most bewitching fancy-work ever invented.
The most desirable flowers and figures for cretonne-work are to be
found in the fine, soft, French cretonne; and the most tiresome part
of the work is that which has to be done first — the careful cutting
out of these figures with a sliarp pair of scissors. They ai-e then to
be gummed, or fastened with a few stitches done with fine cotton on
the foundation. Much basting is not desirable, as it jjulls the mate-
rial and frays the applied work.
Black satin is a very effective foundation for cretonne-work, as it
throws out all the bright and delicate colors; and farmer's-satin
answers very nicely. Soft gray and blue silesia are often very satis-
factory for this purpose ; and a work-basket, made by the writer, of
gray silesia, with pink rosebuds and leaves in cretonne-work on each
panel, and lined with blue silesia, quite exceeded her expectations.
Workers differ about the best methods of doing cretonne applica-
tion ; some suggesting for the edge a loose buttonhole of rather fine
61. — Border iif Applique.
silk, on the plea that this prevents raggedness and answers the pur-
pose of making the work subservient to the application. But the
most approved method is to treat the cretoime merely as a design and
a guide to color — covering the flowers and leaves almost entirely with
split floss and embroidery silk. A thick outline in satin stitch secures
the edges; and the leaves besides being veined are frequently orna-
mented with small French knots, or short backstitches. Flower-
centres are done in French knots.
Chairs and mantels may be handsomely ornamented by a rich stripe
of cretonne- work in jjink or red roses on a black satin ground; and
table-cover borderings may be made in the same way, and attached
to the main body. Sofa-cushions, foot-rests, portfolios, and many
other things, may be decorated in the same way.
i-RTISTIC EMBROIDERY. VV
The simpler kinds of applique- work have been made very common
by the immense number of animals, insects, and figures, such as were
never seen in earth, air, or sea, exposed for sale in all the fancy shops,
and offering easy inducements to amateurs to fasten them in almost
any way upon whatever material their fancy might dictate. The
Turkish -towelling fever raged throughout the length and breadth of
the land; and although a little of this work, when well done, is very
effective, especially in a cottage parlor, it has been carried to such an
excess and much of it so bunglingly done, that there is a very general
pushing of it aside for something newer.
Dragons and Chinamen, the most popular figures for this kind of
Avork, were never known to infest Turkey; and whatever else we are
in fancy-work, it is desirable to be harmonious. Rich arabesques in
colored cloth of the true Oriental hues, edged with black to give them
greater brilliancy on the pale brown groundwork, would be far more
in character; and the inevitable ruche of scarlet braid should be
toned down to a more quiet red, or whatever color is most suitable as
We may be artistic even with Turkish-towelling and cloth applica-
tion; bxit unless we are this, let us not be ornamental.
CRAPE PICTURES IN APPLIQUE.
Among the newest materials for application-work, are those prepos-
terous representations on a ground of crinkly material known as
Chinese pictures. These are of various sizes, and are found now in
most of the fancy stores ; and although they usually defy all the rules
of reason and of color, they are, nevertheless, highly orna'mental.
One of these works of art is before us now, divided into, four com-
partments by bands of bright yellow, and tending" genei'ally to
ornithology on original principles. Two skies are pink, one green,
and one yellow; suiTounded by the pink sky, a small bird of the
sparrow order, with notoriously short legs and unwebbed feet, is
Avalking at ease on some lead -colored water, while a small forest of
foliage springs apparently from his back; under the yellow sky, a
maize-colored bird on an inky bough opens his mouth evidently at a
mulberry a few feet below him. Nemesis is upon him, however, in
the shape of a silkworm that is attempting to climb his back. The
best that can be said of the mulberries is that they are deeply, darkly,
unmistakably purple; and we know them for mulberries because they
are purple, and because the green leaf cannot be intended for any-
The other divisions are perfectly harmonious; and as an art-study,
this " bit of color '' would not be recommended. Skilfully applied,
however, and "touched up" with embroidery, it would be found very
78 ARTISTIC EMBROIDER Y,
Many of these pictures have Chinese or Japanese figures on them;
and the confused coloring is best brought out by a frame-work of
black velvet ribbon. Tliey make pretty tidies sewn on gray Java
canvas, with a bordering of black velvet from two to three inches
wide embroidered in feathei'-stitch — and beyond that an equal width
of the canvas worked in a sort of mosaic pattern in point-russe with
floss-silks — then a fringe of the canvas, with the diifferent colored
silks mixed in, about two inches deep.
Lace is often used as a trimming for these tidies, but it is very
unsuitable. Long embroidery stitches of silk, as in cretonne-work,
improve these pictures very much; and many of them are so brightly-
colored in themselves, that they are as decorative as Chinese fans.
They may be used for a variety of purposes; and appliqued on black
velveteen, make handsome hangings for mantels.
Handsome embroidery is sometimes done by working the design on
linen, and then applying it to richer materials. The embroidery, when
unished, is " backed " by paper before taking it from the frame, to
give it firmness; when quite dry, it is taken out and cut carefully
round the figures with a sharp pair of scissors, leaving about a six-
teenth of an inch as a margin. It must then be laid on the material
and tacked down, if the latter is loose — if it is framed, the piece of
embroidery should be fastened on it by small pins thrust perpendicu-
larly through it. It must then be more fully secured by sewing it
over in small stitches.
The linen edge is covered by a gold or silver cord, fastened down
with fine silk matching the cord in color. It is well to paint the back
of the embroidery with paste, that the ends of silk may be secured.
A great deal of Eastern embroidery has the look of applied work
— being done in the long embroidery-stitch in regular lines from east
to west, or across the shape to be filled, instead of from north to south;
no attempt being made to follow the natural lines of the leaf or
'I'his style has a rich effect in purely conventional forms, but is not
suitable for floral designs; a line of black or gold around the figures
is nearly always used. We saw some Cretan work lately, that was
several hundred years old, done in this way with silk and a sort of flat
gOitt thread on coarse linen; and the effect was very gorgeous.
EMBROIDERY IJf CHEMILLE.
At one time chenille work was all the fashion. Its beautiful,
velvety appearance, and the soft brightness of its colors, made it very
effective; but it was an expensive material, and would only bear the
most delicate usage.
Silk hand-screens were frequently embroidered with ohemlle; and
in some old-fashioned mansions, such an article of the shape of j^'igure
62 may be found even now.
Fig. 62. — Hand-Screen in Chenille,
To do a " piece " in chenille was quite a necessary part of a young
lady's education; and these pieces were treated like Miss Linwood's
paintings in crewels. They usually represented landscapes; and
handsomely framed, and protected by a glass, were hung in a place of
honor, as a sort of certificate that the worker was entitled to be
80 ARTISTIC EMBEOIDERY.
A performance of this kind that is now cherished as an heirloom,
the work of somebody's great-grandmother, consumed a hundred
dollars' worth of chenille. It is a mourning-piece: a tomb and two
weeping figures in the foreground, the country church, and grave-
yard. It is very smooth, beautiful work, and has the effect of a
Chenille is still used in a measure for small, ornamental articles;
and no material represents moss so well. It is suitable both for flat
and raised embroidery; and it may be worked on a variety of
materials; but those with smooth surfaces are best suited to its velvet-
A needle with a round eye is the proper kind for embroidering with
chenille, and this should be large enough not to fray the thread. As
it is an expensive material, it should be used economically; and all
waste at the back of the- work should be avoided by bringing the
needle close up to the last stitch and not crossing it on the underside.
It is easy to measure or guess the length of the needleful required for
working each particular part, and to cut it as short as possible, to pre-
vent the using of the same position again, and also to draw a very
small piece through the eye of the needle.
The necessity of making knots may be avoided by working a small
stitch or two in the part intended to be covered.
In shaded embroidery, the stitches should not be matted too closely
together, as this destroys the velvety appearance of the chenille. It
should be more closely shaded than silk embroidery; at least six
shades should be used in flowers and leaves.
In flat embroidery, the stitches should be regular, but not closer
than to allow the chenille to lie roundly on the surface, it is always
pretty edged or mixed with gold.
SILK EMBROIDERY 6>JV LIJVEJV.
Egyptian embroidery was done on linen or eotton, the threads of
the material being almost or entirely pulled out one way, and the
remainder embroidered with bright-colored silk. The effect was very
rich and showy; but the peculiar art of doing it has been lost, v
Some specimens of Egyptian embroidery in the time of the
Pharaohs, now in the Louvre, are described as follows: one has narrow
red stripes on a broad yellow stripe, wrought with a pattern in needle-
work; another jjiece is on blue, and worked all over in white
embroidery, in a kind of netting-pattern, the meshes of which outline
irregular cubic shapes.
Silk embroidery on linen is an old fashion revived; and it was used
particularly on coverlets and curtains in the form of outline work.
This was often done in one color only; and in a bold, set pattern, it
was very effective. A more flowing or branching design, well enclosed
in lines and borders, looks equally well, with the worker's name or
monogram, and the date added.
These coverlets and curtains were sometimes made of Bolton
sheeting, rather as a foundation than a ground — being nearly covered
with an applique jiattern of flowers and leaves in cloth, and the stems
worked in crewel or silk. The small vacant spaces were often filled
with a very simple diaper.
Strong linen makes the best ground for outline work; and a pattern
in silk is more durable as well as pleasanter to work. It must be
remembered, though, that in silk embroidery for articles that are to
be washed, great care must be taken that the embroidery does not
fade into one pale, undistinguishable hue.
To prevent this, the silks should first be unwound, cut into pieces
of a suitable length, and thrown into boiling water. If, after boiling
for several minutes, thej' retain their color when dried, they may be
"warranted not to fade." It is recommended to boil but one shade
at a time — using fresh water for each one.
Many useful and pretty things may be made of embroidered linen;
and it is particularly pleasant for summer use. Tea-table cloths look
well with ends embroidered towel-fashion, or bordered all round —
82 ABTISTIC EMBKOIDEKY.
outline-work being more suitable for this jiurpose than filled-in
embroidery, as it will bear washing better.
Embroidered linen makes very nice tidies; and original designs, or
figures from Japanese fans, will often transform these conveniences
into works of art. White linen decorated with blue only is very
pi'etty when the other furnishings are blue.
Bedroom hangings are very pleasing in this linen outline-work —
also pieces to hang above washstands and borders for brackets.
EMBROIDERED FRUIT DOYLEYS.
These may be made very dainty and charming — suggesting (not
filling in) the most perfect little pictures. The skill of the worker
should bring out the idea clearly without the aid of detail.
'A few descriptions lately met with will furnish illustrations of this
kind of work.
A set of very small doyleys, about six inches square, had the edges
ravelled out in fringe nearly an inch deep — the border serged Avith
fine thread to keep the flowing strands in place. Half an inch from
this, and half an inch in width, were a number of threads drawn out
all around, giving the appearance of an insertion. The cross threads
were then drawn backwards and forwards over each other, four
strands at a time, and stayed with one row of thread, like the old-
fashioned herring-bone— forming a cross at each corner. i
In the centre of each doyley was embroidered with Japanese silk
a cup and saucer, a teapot, a pitcher, etc., in graceful forms, and soft,
shaded colors — all according to the design and taste of the embroid-
erer. They were scarcely more than outlines — the impression given
being more of quiet artistic beauty than of the object represented.
On another little doyley is sketched a slender Indian jar; beside it,
a bed of reeds, or water-grasses, seems to sway and rustle in summer
airs — so pliant are the stems, so free the grou2)ings. As if just risen
from this cool quietude, a flight of birds soars upwards and away.
The jar is wrought in gold-color, red, blue, and soft drab. A few
bars, ovals, dots, and lines indicate the rich decoration. The reeds
which, of course, are not shaded, are done in brown and a dull green.
The rising birds are dark blue. It hardly need be said that both reeds
and birds are conventionalized — the reeds being the slenderest shadows,
and the birds mere converging lines.
Directions for this kind of work are given as follows:
•^ Select close, even linen, of the kind used for sheeting, and a yard
and a half in width, and be careful to see that it has no uneven
threads; half a yard and one inch, the latter to allow for shrinkage
and uneven ends, is sufiicient for one dozen doyleys. Have it washed
in strong, boiling-hot suds, well rinsed, and then boiled in clear water
ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY. 83
to remove the starch and render it pliable; rinse from clear cold
water, and put it to dry without any addition of bluing.
When dry, cut off the selvedge ; and pull a thread at top and bottom
that it may be cut perfectly straight. Do.not attempt to cut any part
of the work without first pulling a thread as a guide, for it is impos-
sible to have it perfectly regular either by creasing it or by following
an unpulled thread.
Divide the linen into two pieces, each of which will be a quarter of
a yard in width, by a yard and a half in length. Each of these pieces
is to be cut into six — giving twelve pieces, each nine inches square.
Ravel them all around until you have a fringe seven- eighths of an inch
in depth; it is better to make a faint pencil-mark on each of the four
sides before commencing, that the fringe may be perfectly even.
With No. 100 imwaxed cotton and a fine needle, whip them around —
taking iip four or five threads on the needle at once, and having the
stitches as even and regular as possible; do not use knots, but run the
cotton along at beginning and end — commencing with a thread long
enough for the whole side, and avoid catching the fringe in the work.
Place the doyley straight before you, and with a rather coarse
needle mark a point seven-eighths of an inch from both the upper and
left-hand sides — then mark a point half an inch below this one, and
parallel with the left-hand side of the doyley; with a pair of sharp-
pointed scissors cut the linen from point to point.
Turn the linen around so that the left-hand side" shall be the upper
one, and the lower at the left hand; cut a slit in this corner corre-
sponding to the other, and continue until each corner has been cut. It
would be better to pi-actice the cutting on a piece of paper first; and
when you find the cutting at each corner is at right angles with the
one below it, the work is right. With the needle-point pull a thread
loose at the top and bottom of the slit cut, drawing it along until you
come within three-eighths of an inch of the slit cut in the other
corner. Cut the linen from thread to thread, and repeat at the other
three corners. When finished, there will be eight cuts in the doyley
— the two on each side parallel to each other.
With No. 80 unwaxed cotton, button-hole around each one as
neatly as possible; then pull out all the threads on each side that
were made free by the cutting. These threads are now to be herring-
boned, using a fine needle and the same cotton; this is done by com-
mencing at one end of the threads, and taking up four threads on the
needle, draw the cotton through them, bringing it up at right angles
to the work; take another stitch in the same place, only catching the
body of the linen slightly with the needle and cotton.
Repeat this until you come to the other end — when, turning the
doyley upside down, commence taking up the threads again on the
needle, only taking two threads from each cluster of the row before;
84 ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY.
this makes a sort of ladder-work in the border, mucli prettier than if
the threads were taken in corresponding clusters.
When they have all been herring-boned, the fascinating work of
decoration begins. For silk, letter D button-hole twist is the most
satisfactory in all colors, except shades of red and green. There are
four shades of blue: navy that is almost black, a navy that is bright,
a bright sky blue, and a very delicate one; brown of two shades;
gold-color, lemon, and two shades of sage-green. Bright red shading
on scarlet, and entirely free from a Solferino tint, deep and bright
rose peach blossom, and a turquoise-blue are best when on quills.
Having boiled and dried the silk, it will be found in using it that it
is three-stranded; but it must be separated and only one strand used
in working. This should be carefully moistened when it becomes
flossy and uneven. Green is the most difficult color to manage; and
it is only the old-fashioned apple-green found in skeins that will be at
The designs should be drawn on the doyleys with a sharp lead-
pencil — being careful not to soil the work by wrong outlines and
erasing. If the latter is necessary, it is better to wash out the marks
with warm water and soap than to use any other method; and then
begin outlining again.
A set done in fans, of different shapes and decoration, are as pretty
as one could desire. If it is impossible to draw from one lying before
you; cut a pattern in pasteboard and outline with the pencil. The
different periodicals occasionally give beautiful styles of fans; and
the cheap Japanese fans are very suggestive in the way of color and
Outline them in bright blue, with an inner line of pink; navy with
light blue; sage green with pink; or any other colors that contrast
or harmonize; make the stick and ribs of bamboo color, or gold. An
open fan is beautiful outlined in gold, sticks and all; with sprays of
star-shaped flowers done in red, stems in gray, and leaves in green.
These flowers, etc., are only outlined, not done in the solid satin-
stitch, and should be as delicate as possible.
The stitch called Kensington is used; and is the one familiar to all
embroiderers, in both flannel and muslin, as stem-stitch. The needle
is kept with the point toward the worker; and you are constantly
working from you.
Very quaint and pretty designs can be taken from Japanese print-
plates, tea-trays, and cabinets. Two fans, one-fourth open, the one
m the middle, the other at one corner, are very effective; but when
an open fan is used, one is sufficient for a doyley.
A spider's web, hanging from a branch just coming over one side
of the doyley, is extremely pretty. Outline the stems in gray, leaves
in green, and the web in light-blue — making it out perfectly round,
ARTISTIC EMBKOIDEKY. 85
but longer one way than another; have some of the rays to project a
little, othei'S caught on the branches — and from one of the lower ones
a spider dangling, while in the rib a stitch or two of black makes a
good representation of his prey. Give a little color in one of the
lower corners by a few rushes — one or two of which should have a
few red tassels.
An apple-bough with a leaf of green here and there; tiny flowers
of red and pink, some of which have drifted off before a gentle wind,
make beautiful designs; but when one's eyes are open to them, it is
astonishing how many ideas are gathered here and there that would
otherwise be lost. A walk among one's flowers, a border in a maga-
zine or art-journal, will give suggestions in some form or other.
The cold marble of one's di*essing-table or bureau loses its cheerless
aspect by the color one of these covers gives it. A piece of linen a
yard and a half long and three-eighths in width, should be fringed an
inch and a half at front and back, with a much deeper one at the
ends. Work a border an inch deep, a quarter of a yard from the
herring-bone at each end, and meeting the herring-bone at the sides.
Use red, bright gold, and light blue, with a touch here and there of
navy blue. A spray of wistaria at one end, and apple-blossoms at
the other, are very pretty. Tray-covers should be from a yard
square to seven-eighths one way, and a yard the other. Fringe and
herring-bone them, decorating only the corners, as the centre is so
covered that decoration would be lost.
These very explicit directions have been taken almost entire from a
late periodical; and will be found so full and satisfactory, that almost
any needlewoman, on reading them, might successfully attempt this
This is a simple and truly artistic kind of needle-work, chaste and
elegant in design and correct in style; its beauty depending not upon
strong contrasts or striking patterns, but on its exquisite finish and
Holbein work is a kind of linen decoration with colored threads;
and was highly popular several centuries ago. Lingerie table-linen,
towels, and bed-linen, were thus adorned in a charming and tasteful
manner; and as instruction in this branch of needlework, of which
so few remnants remain, is chiefly given through the master works of
the younger Holbein, it has been named from him.
This great painter has reproduced the embroidery with wonderful
fidelity, showing plainly its charming peculiarity of being alike on
both sides. It differs in this respect from all other embroidery,
except that of some Oriental nations, and has literally no wrong side
to show, and requires, therefore, no lining to conceal defects. "Divers
colors of needlework on both sides,'''' is the oldest kind of ornamental
needlework of which there is any mention.
To accomplish this work on both sides is by no means difticult, as
might at first be supposed; and many articles for which no other
kind of embroidery would be appropriate may be very tastefully
ornamented with Holbein work. The effect is that of colored lines
on a white ground after the fashion of a pen-drawing — the design
being equally distinct on both sides.
The foundation for this embroidery is usually white linen Java
canvas, which washes better, and is of smoother and firmer texture
than cotton canvas. If linen canvas cannot be obtained, the ordinary
cotton canvas, or colored Java canvas, may be used instead.
A piece of canvas, a canvas needle with a dull point, red Turkish
cotton No. 30, or else several threads of colored or black silk (some-
what coarser than ordinary sewing-silk), are all that is required for
No knot should be made, to look ugly on the under side, in the
beginning; and to avoid this, insert the needle between the double
layer of the threads of the canvas, so that the working thread is con-
cealed on both sides; let the end of the thread project a little, so that
it may be held in the hand, pass the needle around one of the four
threads forming a square (with the ordinary cotton canvas, only half
of a thread should be caught), carry it back the same way it was
inserted ^see Figui-e 63), and di-aw the stitch tight — at the same time
holding last the projecting thread.
The single thread on which the working thread is fastened is drawn
in between the double threads of the canvas in tightening the stitch,
so that the latter is not visible on either side. The manner of doing
this is shown in Figure 64.
Then work the second stitch (see Figure 64) similarly to the first;
but underneath the nearest threads running in an opposite direction,
draw the stitch tight, so that it is concealed; and then repeat the first
stitch once more completely, in order to fasten the thread securely.
After working these three stitches, the thread should be quite firm;
and the fastening should scarcely be visible.
Cut off the projecting end of thread close to the canvas, and begin
the embroidery. To work a straight line, as in Figure 65, make a
horizontal stitch of two squares of the canvas, pass over two squares,
work another horizontal stitch on the following two squares — and
continue the first row in this way, always taking up two squares for
one stitch, as shown by Figure 66. This is called running stitch.
"When the line has been worked of the length desired, for instance,
ten stitches, there will be five running stitches and five intervals on
each side; and the stitches on one side will always come on the inter-
vals of the other side. In order to close the line, and fill all intervals,
work, going back, just as in the first
row (see Figure 67), which completes
the line, and brings the working thread
back to the point where the work was
begun. This point is always indicated
by * in the illustrations.
Work this straight line, consisting of
ten stitches, from right to left in the
order of the figures given in Figure 67.
Only the upper stitches are counted and
numbered; but, as a matter of course, the other side of the work is
to present the same appearance as the side on which it is done. The
regularity of the work will be increased if, in working straight lines,
the needle is always, in the second row, inserted underneath, and
drawn out above the threads in the first row; in this way the threads
of both rows are regularly intertwined, and the stitches are slightly
slanting, as plainly shown in the last illustration.
A diagonal line, as in Figure 68, is worked simi-
larly to the straight line, except that instead of
crossing two squares in a straight direction, they
ai'e taken up diagonally, as in ordinary cross-stitch.
The first stitch, therefore, exactly resembles half of
a cross-stitch; and between the first and second
stitches, an interval of the same number of threads
remains, which forms half of a Cross-stitch on the
other side. The line a, Figure 69, shows the first
row of a diagonal line of five stitches; and the
line b shows this line finished by the second row.
For the zigzag line in Figure 70, take a diagonal
stitch upward over two squares of the canvas, pass over two squares,
and insert the needle downward diagonally in the opposite direction;
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take another diagonal stitch upward; and continue in this manner, as
shown by a in Figure 71. In the first row, all the stitches on both
Bides appear slanting to the left. In working the second row, going
back, fill ail the intervals, as indicated by the figures on the line h in
For the Greek line in Figure 72, take a vertical stitch downward
over two squares, pass over two squares in a horizontal direction, take
a second vertical stitch upward over two squares, so that the stitches
r _n_ "j_H T
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always inclose four squares. In this design, all vertical stitches come
on the upper side (and all horizontal stitches, consequently, on the
underside) in the first row, as shown hj a in Figure 73; while in
filling the intervals in the second row the order is reversed, and all
horizontal lines come on the upper side, and the vertical lines on
the under side. The line h, in Figure 73, shows the Greek line in
course of work, and indicates by figures the order in -which the
stitches should be taken.
For the stair line in Figure 14, work a horizontal stitch from right
to left on two squares, pass the needle -
straight down under two squares, and
draw it out; repeat this three times,
and then work three stitches upward
again. In this design all the horizontal
stitches come on the upper side, and all
vertical stitches on the under side in
the first row, which is shown by a in
Figure 75; while b shows the lines
finished by the second row, and indi-
cates the order of stitches by figures.
The thread, which is ahvays carried back to the point where the
work is begun, should be sewn in firmly, as described for the begin-
ning, so that the fastening cannot be detected, and then cut off close
to the canvas.
These simple designs being mastered, the learner is now prepared
for more ambitious efforts; and the lines are frequently divided into
branches richly ornamented, that form complicated patterns, and
require some study to make both sides of the work alike.
The patterns now consist no longer of simple lines, but of long
lines with short ones branching off from them, which may be called
m.ain lines and branches.
The design in Figure 76 consists of a main line with upright
branches, which is worked in rounds going back and forth, and is
thus completed in two rows; no stitch should be omitted on either
side, nor should any stitch appear double; and the working thread
should always return to the point where the work was begun.
Figure 77 shows the manner of working the first row of this
design, the needle indicating how to take the last upright stitch.
Begin the line from *, so that an interval always remains between
every two stitches, and work to the point where the line branches off.
These branches are worked separately, and are completed in two rows;
so that in working the second row of the main line no attention need
be paid to them.
Figure 78 shows the same design finished by the second round; the
order of stitches is indicated by figures.
The same rules apply to design 79 — which shows a main line with
stair-line branches meeting the main line always at two points. In
this case, too, the Ibranches are always finished separately before
working the main line beyond the point from which the stair-branches
Figure 80 shows the first row of this design; the first branch being
finished, and the second in course of execution.
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Figure 81 shows the design finished by the second round, the
figures indicating how to take the stitches. The fact that the
branches intersect the main line at two points does not affect the
work in the least.
Sometimes the branches of the main lines are again furnished with
smaller branches, as shown by the fijrked design in Figure 82.
In this case, the smaller branches are
also worked separately from the point
from which they proceed; but the middle
line is worked similarly to a main line;
working first one row with intervals, next
forming the smaller branches or prongs,
and then, going back, filling the intervals
of the middle line, and returning to the
Figure 83 shows the first row of this
design and one of the branches just begun; Figure 84 shows the
design finished, and the order of stitches indicated by figures. From
time to time, it will be well to glance on the under side and see that
the design appears precisely the same as on the right side, which will
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always be the case when the stitches are worked exactly in the order
given in the illustrations.
Frequently the smaller lines branch off from the main line in oppo-
site directions, as sho-mi by Figure 85. In this design the forked
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figure appears on one side, and the stair-line on the other side — both
meeting at one point of the main line.
With such patterns, begin with the main line and work to the point
where the branches begin — always work-
ing these separately. It is immaterial
which of the two branches is worked
first; but they should both be finished
in the first row, so that, in the second
row, only the intervals in the main line
need be filled. As a general rule, it is
well to complete as much of the pattern
as possible in the first row.
As Figure 85 is formed by a combina-
tion of figures similar to those shown in Figures 65 and 66, it will
only be necessary to refer to the description of those figures to enable
the worker to execute this design with ease.
Tree figures, shown in illus-
tration 86, are worked so that
the trunk forms the main
line, and all the small lines
the branches; but the main
line should be worked to the
2)oint without the branches,
the latter being formed in the
second row going back. Thus
the trunk, forming the middle
line, will serve as a guide for
placing the branches. Figure 87 shows the manner of working sv.ch
a figure, the stitches being indicated as usual by numbers.
Each individual design requires separate sewing in of the thread;
all connected lines, on the contrary, are worked without interruption.
The working thread should always be taken as long as possible; and
when it is used up, it should either be carefully sewed in, as described
in the beginning, or it should be fastened to the new thread by means
of a weaver's knot. This knot has the advantage of being made small
and strong at the same time.
Sufficient instructions have now been given to enable the beginner
to do a very creditable piece of Holbein work; and Figure 88 is a
particularly easy pattern for a towel-border that may be done in red
or blue cotton or silk.
The towel may be made of heavy linen sheeting; or a bordering of
linen embroidered in this way may be applied to either end of a
damask towel with a line of feather-stitch. Sufficient material
should be allowed for a deep, tied fringe.
This pattern will also be found pretty for a bureau or dressing-
table cover, as well as a variety of other articles.
Figures 89 and 90 are very effective both for towels and covers.
Holbein work is frequently mixed with cross-stitch and satin-
stitch, which give it a richer effect; and for elaborate designs, this is
a great improvement. Figures 91, 92, and 93, show very handsome
towels embroidered in this way.
These towels are made of a piece of linen sixty-eight inches long
and seventeen inches wide, embroidered in cross-stitch and Holbein
work with blue or red cotton. The towels are trimmed besides with
an open-work design and knotted fringe, and are hemmed narrow on
the sides with a cross seam of the colored cotton.
To make a towel, work eight inches from the bottom a rich design
in Holbein embroidery, and edge it on both sides with a narrow
border in cross-stitch embroidery. Each cross-stitch is worked over
two threads in height, and the same in width. Above this border, at
a distance of an inch, ornament the towel in a design worked in
cross-stitch over canvas with colored cotton.
After finishing the embroidery, draw out the threads of the canvas,
and between the borders execute an open-work design. For this,
draw out always four threads of the linen lengthwise and crosswise,
letting the same number of threads stand, and overcast them diagon-
ally, first in one direction, and then, crossing the same square in the
opposite direction; and finish the edge of the borders adjoining the
open-work design with button-hole stitches.
Underneath the narrow border, draw out the crosswise threads of
the linen, and knot the lengthwise threads to form fringe, as shown
Handsome portieres and curtains may be made of burlaps orna-
mented with Holbein and other embroidery.
ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY. 99
For the design in Figure 94, draw out eight threads, each two inches
and a half and five inches and three-quarters from the outer edge;
cross every eight of the threads left standing, and run them with gold
soutache. Between these open-work pattei'ns work the border (see
Figure 94) in satin-stitch with light and dark red filling silk; and in
Holbein work with light and dark olive-green filling silk.
The open-work pattern is edged with point russe stitches of dark
^01 own a i fawn-colored silk, and cross-stitches of dark red silk.
CHURCH EMBROIDERY -PART I
The general rules for artistic needlework apply eaally well to
church embroidery, which is, nevertheless, a distinctive/t. In ancient
times its magnificence was unparalleled — the workerteeling privi-
leged in working for God's service, and anxious to sp^ neither time
nor expense on their labor.
This branch of decorative needlework has " narro\'r limitations,
stricter laws of fitness, bonds of symbolism, rules of col; and tradi-
tions of style; but a student of art needlework will no^nd these
stricter laws prevent church work from being beautiful anharmoni-
ous; indeed, they will be aids rather than hindrances; while thknow-
ledge already acquired of general principles of color and desi» will
be a safeguard against placing vulgar, crude, or tasteless combitions
where, in many eyes, they would be not only ugly, but irreverent
It has been well said that, in this kind of work, unity of designed
harmony of color take a new and deeper meaning; and honest j)f
workmanship becomes a duty ; while a new reason for conv^
tionalism is seen when we remember that we ourselves, when in God
house, lay aside an ordinary and natural demand.
The descriptions of the richly-embroidered ecclesiastical vestments:
robes, sandals, girdles, tunics, vests, palls, altar-cloths, and veils or
hangings of various kinds, that were common in churches in the Middle
Ages, would almost surpass belief if the minuteness with which they
are enumerated in some ancient authors did not attest the fact.
The cost of many of these articles was enormous, for pearls and
precious stones were literally interwoven with the needlework, and
an almost incredible amount of time and labor was bestowed on them.
Several years would frequently be spent on one garment; and some
magnificent ninth century vestments are described, which Pope
Paschal presented to different churches.
One of these was an altar-cloth of Tyrian purple, having in the
middle a picture of golden emblems, with the faces of several martyrs
surrounding the Saviour. The cross was wrought in gold, and had
round it a border of olive-leaves most beautifully worked. Another
h!id golden emblems, and was ornamented with pearls.
ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY. 101
This same pope had a robe worked with gold and gems, with the
history of the Ten Virgins with lighted torches beautifully related.
He had another of Byzantine scarlet with a worked boi'der of olive-
leaves. He had also a robe of woven gold, worn over a cassock of
scarlet silk; and another of amber hue embroidered with peacocks in
all the brilliant and mysterious shades of their plumage.
Modern church needlework is much more simple and less expensive,
and with an ordinary amount of skill and patience and attention to
rules and details, almost any embroiderer can accomplish very satis-
Coarse, prepared linen or muslin, made very stiff, is first stretched
in a frame, and the material to be embroidered carefully tacked or
pinned on it. This makes a firm ground for working, and gives body
to the article to be embroidered. The silk or calico lining is to be
placed on the other side of the muslin.
A well-made frame is another important point; and four-piece
frames, or frames without stands, formed of two bars with webbing
to which the material is sewn, and two laths or stretchers, with holes
to receive the pegs, will be found most suitable for this kind of work.
They are fastened with screws, and the sizes genei'ally needed range
from 20 inches to 6 feet 4 inches.
Figure 95 represents one of these four-piece frames, in which a
piece of linen is stretched, and upon it the central figure of an altar
frontal in progress of work. It is better not to stretch the frame
more than 20 inches at a time, as it is very fatiguing, for a continu-
ance, to take a longer reach than 10 inches from each side bar of the
Grcit care must be taken not to rub over the material while working;
and for this purpose a cambric handkerchief, or an equivalent of soft
paper, should be laid upon it. The needlework should always be cov-
ered with a soft clean cloth whenever it is left, no matter for how
short a space of time.
The implements used for church embroidery are needles, pins,
stiletto, scissors, thimbles, and the 2^^€'>'C€f' for manipulating gold.
This latter article is as necessary as the scissors in regulating bullion
and other materials, as it is rounded and pointed at one end like a
small stiletto, and wider and flat-sided at the other.
Round-eyed sharps, from 7 to 2, are the needles most likely to be
required for every kind of silk ; the first principally for sewing-sUk,
the others for crochet and other coarse silks. The best rule for size
is to be able to thread a needle instantly, and to draw the needle
backwards and forwards through the eye, without the least friction.
Fig. 95. — Four-Piece Frame.
ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY. 103
An experienced worker will choose a needle very large in proportion
to the thread it is to hold in preference to a smaller one.
The stiletto is used in many ways, a steel one being the best. The
ends of stiff cords should be put through holes made by this instru-
ment; and occasions for its use are constantly arising.
Short pins are needed for transferring designs, instead of basting;
and in applique work, every part of it is carefully arranged by pin-
ning before the process of sewing begins. Cardboard patterns, too,
for modern embroidery, are kept in place by this means.
Two thimbles are needed, as the use of both hands is particularly
necessary in this kind of work. Thimbles worn a little smooth are
preferable, as the roughness of a new thimble catches the silk.
Sharp, strong nail scissors will be found most serviceable, and they
should be as large in the bows as possible to secure the thumb and
finger from hurt in cutting out cardboard designs and textile materials
The stitches used in ancient ecclesiastical embroidery are found on
examination to be quite simple, yet capable of producing the most
In using gold thread, for instance, it was seldom pulled through the
foundation, but couched: laid on the surface and sewed down, two or
three threads at a time, by stitches taken either somewhat irregularly,
or with such method as to produce by a series of them a perfect
diapered pattern of color on a gold ground. Figure 96 is an example
of what is known as plain couching.
Fig. 96, — Plain Couching.
Gold-colored embroideiy silk has an almost equally rich effect by
making three or four parallel lines with it, and working the cross
stitches in the contrasting color.
Wavy couching is as easy as plain, the undulated first line regu-
lating the position of the others to any extent.
Diaper couching is another variety often used in old church
embroidery for representing pavements, and frequently for back-
grounds to emblems, and figures of saints.
Diamond couching is very pretty, and useful for holding down
silk, as well as passing, in the ornamentation of large fleur-de-lis, or
104 ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY.
Other conventional forms. The illustration (see Figure 100) is a
Fig. 97. — Wavy
Fig. 98. — Diagonal
diamond of four stitches each way. The size of the diamond depends
upon the dimensions of the space to be covered.
Fig. 99, — Diaper Couching.
The line and cross diaper will be found desirable for covering large
spaces with a diapering of needlework. It also makes a very pretty
Fig. 100, — Diamond Couching.
ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY. 105
border to enclose a plain ground in which a cross or other design is
worked. This pattern is most effective when done with lines of pass-
ing caught down at their intersections by a cross of crimson or other
bright-colored silk. The dots in the centre may be made either with
gold beads or French knots.
Fig. 101. — Line and Cross Diaper.
Various other combinations will suggest themselves in couching;
which is one of the most channing and useful methods in the whole
range of embroidery.
This is another very effective device, and is particularly ingenious.
It is used principally for straight borders, or for the raised parts of a
conventional crown, a large monogram, or for any pattern of a formal
outline where a plaited and interlaced effect is the aim.
To work a border in basket-stitch, any even number of rows of
twine, from four upwards, must first be sewn firmly down upon the
framed foundation; and over this the gold is to be carried two
threads at a time. The worker begins by taking two threads of pass-
ing and stitching them down, first over one row of twine, then over
two rows, and over two again, till the single row at the opposite side
Any number of threads may be carried across in this way before
altering the arrangement of sewing down, according to the width
decided upon for the divisions of the plait. Say that six threads, or
three layers of passing, have been turned backwards and forwards,
and caught down precisely alike; the gold is then to be sewn over
two lines of twine, each time, from side to side of the border, for three
layers more; and so alternated to any extent.
Medium purse silk is best for sewing down the gold; and a close,
firm twine, like whipcord, should be used for the lines. The thickness
of the twine must be governed by the size of the figure or space that
the basket-work is intended to cover.
The border should be finished on each side by a gold or silk cord,
or an edging of some kind to hide the looped ends of the passing,
which are not pulled through, but turned backwards and forwards as
evenly as possible.
For large leaves, spaces in scrolls, draperies of figures, or fore-
grounds, long loose lines of colored floss, secured at intervals by single
threads of passing laid across, produce a very good effect. Below is
the simple long-stitch,\x\}on which principle all floss-silk embroidery is
wrought. It is the petal of a flower worked iu two distinct shades of
Fig. 102. — Long-Stitch.
blue, and edged with amber crochet-silk sewed down with white.
The light shade is to be used first — beginning from the outer edge of
the centre of the petal, and working first to one side and then to the
other. Then the dark shade is to be worked in like manner down-
Fig. 103. — Scroll with
Figure 103 shows a scroll in twist-stitch enriched by passing. The
twisted effect is produced by working stitches of an even length one
behind the other on an even line. The passing is couched after the
silk scroll is worked.
CHURCH EMBROIDERY -FABT 11^
Altar-covers have often been made in a style of great magnificence,
and are the most costly articles of church embroidery. It is not
necessary in a small work like this to give one entire, especially as
many modern Gothic churches have richly-carved stone or wooden
altars for which only a super-frontal of needlework is required.
Fig. 104. — Super-Frontal in Fleur-de-Lis.
The fleur-de-lis pattern in Figure 104 is both simple and effective;
and wrought in white and gold would be in good taste on either a
green or crimson ground.
The embroidery is done in couching — the fleur-de-lis and the curved
stems in gold twist-silk, sewed down with orange. The bands of the
fleur-de-lis and the trefoils between in white twist-silk, sewed down
with gold color. The white to be edged with white cord, the gold
color with gold cord.
The fringe is gold color mixed with the color of the ground.
A conventionalized rose is given in Figure 105, full size, to be used
in the bordering of a super-frontal.
It is edged with gold cord and worked in two shades of pale pink
108 ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY.
floss, long embroidery-stitch. The central ring is of bright greea silk
the diamonds it encloses gold-color couched on a pale green ground;
:.)t^ i,;StmtniiUi.i6e!^:. .
the rays, deep rose-color, in long stitches. The outer lines are long,
loose stitches in gold thread.
The leaves are in two shades of olive green floss in long embroidery-
stitch; the stem, scroll, and finish are in two shades of olive brown,
edged with gold thread. This part may be done in couching.
The roses may be in divisions separated by gold-colored lace, or
alternated with annunciation lilies.
Fig. 106. — Reading-Desk with Hanging.
PULPIT, OR DESK HANGINGS.
These are often needed where no altar covering is used ; and are
much simpler in construction. Figure 106 shows a reading-desk
draped; Figure 107 gives a suitable design for the centre; and Figure
108 a very pretty bordering.
The cross and lettering of the central figure are to be done in gold
thread, or gold-colored silk, and edged with black. On a white or
crimson ground this would be very effective; and it has the advan-
tage of hannonizing with any ground color. It may also be done in
applique, instead of embroidery.
The border pattern may also be done in gold, or in a mixture of
gold and white.
Fig. 107. — Monogram: for
Fig. 108, — Border for Desk
Figure 109 gives a rich pattern in full size for the border of an
ante-pendium, or desk-hanging. It is embroidered on white silk rep
with silver and gold thread; and sewn on over a black velvet, rep, or
Fig. 109. — Border in Applique and Embroidery.
cloth centre. The dark patterns are worked in applique with black
velvet; the two other shades in gold and silver brocade.
ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY. IJl
The embroidery is done in satin-stitch with gold and silver braid,
silk and cord of the same material.
The border can be worked upon the material for the centre if it is
not intended to contrast with it. The pattern can also be worked
entirely in silk with satin-stitch.
CHURCH BOOK MARKERS.
These are comparatively easy of execution, although to be done ac-
cording to the same rules which govern other church needlework.
They are made of plain rich ribbon, varying in width from one to
three inches, in the five ecclesiastical colors of crimson, blue, green,
white, and violet.
Nothing elaborate in the way of embroidery should be attempted
on such small articles. A Latin cross on one end, and a simple mono-
gram on the other, are always suitable. Or words such as " Creed "
and " Collect," as suited to particular parts of the service, may be
worked at the separate ends, in plain Old English letters, surmounted
by a Greek cross.
The length of the marker depends upon the size of the book for
which it is required. A yard, not including fringe, is the ordinary
length. This makes a double marker, as it can be divided in the
middle by a barrel or register, to fall over two pages of the book.
A very good contrivance for this purpose is a piece of ivory, of the
width of the back of the book, pierced with holes, through which
pieces of silk braid, from which the ribbon is suspended, may be
inserted and tied. The pieces of ribbon may measure less than half
a yard, as the suspender, which should be of stout silk braid the color
of the ribbon, is two or three inches long.
An ordinary book-marker may be properly made from the follow-
The width of the ribbon is two and a half inches; the length, one
yard, after it is finished. To ensure this, a yard and a quarter of
ribbon is procured, and a piece of fine linen tightly framed.
Upon this, the end of the ribbon, to the depth of ten inches, is to
be smoothly tacked at the extreme edges by tine cotton. Along
the bottom edge, and across the top of the ten-inch length, the ribbon
must also be tacked.
Five inches from the end of the ribbon, the design, traced and cut
out in cardboard, is to be fixed with small pins and then sewed down,
and embroidered in gold, silver, or purse-silk, according to circum-
stances. This being done, the work should be covered from dust, and
the other end of the ribbon (if the framed linen is large enough to
receive both) tacked down and treated precisely similar, only the
pattern must be worked on the contrary side of the ribbon, or, as a
double marker, it will not hang right when in the book.
When the embroidery is finished, the linen should be cut from the
frame, and then from the back of the ribbon close to the work.
To make up the marker, the plain end below the embroidery is to
be turned back four and a half inches over the wrong side, leaving
half an inch of plain ribbon below the design on the right side.
The two edges of the ribbon, to the depth of four and a half inches,
are now to be sewn together by the neatest stitches of fine silk the
exact shade of the ribbon. The raw edge of the turned up end is to
be hemmed across, above the design, by stitches so fine as to be invis-
ible on the right side; and the book-marker, which should now appear
as neat on one side as the other, will be ready for the fringe.
A eoft-twist silk fringe two inches deep is best, if the embroidery
is done in silk. If in gold, a gold fringe is more suitable. Twice the
length of the two ends, and three inches over for turnings, is the
proper measurement. The fringe should be sewed along one side of
the marker singly, and then turned and sewed along the other, so that
both sides may be perfectly neat and alike.
Fig. 110. — Design fob Alms-Basin Mat.
Figure 110 is a simple and chaste design for a circular mat of
velvet to fit the bottom of an alms-dish and deaden the jingling
sound of coin upon the bare surface of metal.
The mat should be of velvet, lined with silk, and trimmed with a
fringe of gold or silk, as best ^uits the embroidery, not over an inch
Small articles like these, of suitable materials and careful workman-
ship, are often most acceptable offerings from those whose limited
ABTISTIC EMBEOIDEKY. 113
time or means will not justify their undertaking larger pieces of
A sermon-case is a very useful present for a clergyman, and may
be embroidered quite simply, or elaborately, according to the taste
and means of the worker. As the same rules and designs will apply
to this as to the other articles described, it will be sufficient to give
directions for making up the case when worked.
Sermon-cases are made in two ways, either stiff and flat like a
book-cover, or firm and soft for rolling.
For the book-cover kind, two sheets of stout cardboard must be cut
to the exact size, and joined at the back by a narrow strip of calico
pasted along each side. Over this foundation thin lining muslin
must be smoothly stitched inside and out; after which the velvet may
be tacked evenly on by stitches drawn over the inside edge. A full
half inch of velvet should be turned over to make the edges secure.
The silk lining is then to be adjusted and sewed to the velvet with
neat stitches, every one of which, if rightly taken, will tend to
tighten the material over the mounting-board.
As a finish, a well-made cord of gold or silk, or a mixture of both,
is to be sewn all around the case. This cord, which must be about
half an inch in circumference, should effectually conceal the stitches
uniting the edges of the velvet and silk, A piece of elastic, a quarter
of an inch wide, is to be sewed, top and bottom, on the inside of the
back, for the sermon to be passed through.
The size of the case must be governed by the size of the sermon-
paper used by the clergyman for whom it is intended. Ten inches by
eight is a good size for quarto paper.
By using parchment instead of cardboard, and kid or morocco in
place of lining muslin, the sermon-case may be made to roll.
DESIGNS ON CARDBOARD.
The use of cardboai'd designs in church embroidery is a mechanical
method of working, but it is also quite an effective one. It is metal-
lic-looking, however, and should not be used in imitations of ancient
work. For monograms, letters of texts, and geometrical figures
which require clear, sharp outlines, the firm edges of a cardboard
foundation will be particularly serviceable.
Embroidery designs to be worked over cardboard must first be
traced on thin paper, and then transferred to the cardboard by one of
two ways: that of placing the drawing on the cardboard, with black
transfer paper between, and tracing it carefully with an ivory stiletto
or hard pencil; or by pricking, pouncing, and drawing, as directed
for other patterns.
A clear outline of the design having been made on the cardboard,
it should be cut out accurately with sharp scissors. In this cutting
out, strips of the cardboard, called stays, must be left here and there
to keep together such parts of the design as would separate or fall
away, if the entire outline were cut around; and these stays must not
be cut off until the edges of the cardboard pattern are firmly secured
on the framed material by close stitches of cotton.
After the stays are removed, if the design is to be raised, one row
of even twine should be sewed down along the centre of the figure;
it is then to be worked over with the silk. This one row of twine
will give to the work the bright sharp effect of gold in relief. More
than one row would spoil it.
The thickness of the twine must be regulated by the size of the
figure to be raised. To raise the embroidery at all is quite a matter
of taste, as excellent specimens of work are constantly done over the
For gold, or gold-color silk embroidery, the upper side of the card
foundation should be painted yellow. This can be done by a wash of
common gamboge or yellow ochre. The best cardboard for this pur-
pose is that known as thin mounting board.
CHURCH-WORK IN APPLIQUE.
This may properly be used for almost any material; and a great
deal of church decoration is done entirely by this method.
For letterings, or labels, applique is particularly appropriate; and
the description of a crimson cloth ground labelled with gold-colored
letters will explain the method of doing it.
Stout gray holland a few inches longer than the label is first to be
framed and the piece of crimson cloth pasted on it. When this is
dry, and while in the frame, the outlines of the label aad letters are
to be pounced and drawn upon it in Chinese white with a camel's hair
In another frame, a piece of gold-colored cloth is to be prepared on
brown holland; and upon this the whole of the letters, or as many as
possible, are to be pounced and drawn in India ink. Over the out-
lines of the letters, a black cord must be closely sewed; and when the
frameful is completed in this manner, the holland is to be pasted all
over at the back to secure the stitches and make the letters firm.
When quite dry, the holland with the letters may be taken from
the frame. They are then to be cut out with sharp nail scissors —
leaving the sixteenth of an inch of cloth beyond the black cord every-
where, and laid in their places on the crimson cloth, fixed with pins,
and finally sewed down through the black cord by stout waxed silk in
stitches an eighth of an inch apart. The small edge of gold-colored
cloth beyond the cord should not be interfered with; it will rather
improve the effect of the letters on the crimson ground.
A black cord must also be closely sewed along the outline of the
label, and beyond it a gold silk cord the color of the letters. This
done, and the work strengthened at the back by paste, the label may
be taken from the frame. It should then be cleanly cut to within an
eighth of an inch of its outline all around, when it will present a
perfect piece of work of its kind, and will be in a condition to transfer
or mount to its final position.
rig. 111. — ^Patteen por Linen Altar-Cloth.
The " fair linen cloth " is laid on the thicker covering at the top,
and falls over the table in front to the depth of the worke<l border,
unless there is an embroidered super-frontal beneath, which it would
It is made of lawn or the finest linen, and bordered with an appro-
priate design in chain-stitch — which may be worked either with white
or colored cotton. This cloth should be long enough either to cover
the two sides of the altar; or it may be made only to turn down, as
at the front, to the width of the border; which, in every case should
be continued along the two ends from the front of the cloth.
^ The pattern in Figure 111 may be used for white or colored cottons,
or for a mixture of both. Crimson and blue are the most suitable
colors for embroidering altar-linen. The worked border should rest
upon a plain hem an inch deep.
LlJVUJr LACE- WORK.
Much of this is very ancient, and it is often so beautiful that it
comes properly under the head of art-needlework.
Best known by its modern name of Guipure d'Art, is almost the
only kind of ancient work which, in its modern revival, has retained
some degree of beauty.
Ancient guipure was made of thin vellum covered with gold, silver,
or silk thread; and the word guipure derives its name from the silk
when thus twisted round vellum being called by that name. Cotton
afterward replaced the vellum, and several modern laces are known
as guipure; but the name is not correct, and is appropriate only to
that kind of lace where one thread is twisted round another thread or
substance, as in the ancient Gviipure d'Art.
This is effected by netting a foundation, and darning a pattern
over it with the same linen thread; so that the high-sounding point-
conte is simply darned netting. But beautiful effects are produced
with it, and it has a look of old church lace.
The groundwork should be netted with linen thread in the shape of
a square; and the thread may be coarse or fine according to the pur-
pose for which it is intended. The netting is begun with two stitches,
and one is added at the end of every row, until there is one more
stitch than is needed for the number of holes. Thus if a square of
twenty-six holes is required, increase until there are twenty-seven
stitches; then decrease one at the end of every row until only two
stitches are left. The last two are knotted together without forming
a fresh stitch.
Great care should be taken to have the netting true and even, so
that it will stretch properly in the little frame used for the work.
Each corner of the netting should be fastened to the corresponding
corner of the frame; and the lacing should be made as tight as possi-
ble, as it is much easier to work on than when loose.
The working of the most elaborate patterns in Guipure d'Art
depends entirely upon a mastery of the stitches, of which there is
quite a variety. Those in most common use are Point d'Esprit,
Point de Toile, Point de Feston, Point de Reprise, Point db
Beuxelles, and Wheels and Stars.
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Point d'Esprit is a succession of small loops. Beginning
in the lower right hand corner of the framed foundation, a row
of loops should be worked of the length required; then the frame
should be turned, and loops worked on the opposite half of each
square, intersecting the first loops in the centre of each intervening
bar of netting. The illustration will make the work quite plain.
This stitch is worked with finer thread than that used in the founda-
tion, No. 10, perhaps, on a netting of No, 6.
Point de Toile, or Linek Stitch, is merely plain and regular darn-
ing over and under each cross thread, making the foundation a closer
piece of network. There must be the same number of stitches in each
square both ways, to keep the foundation perfectly even; and al-
though the illustration has only four squares within each of the larger
ones, it is often made fine enough to contain six or eight.
Point de Feston is done in overcast stitches. At each stitch the
frame is turned; the stitches are taken across the square, and increase
in length at the top of the square.
Point de Reprise, or Darning, is begun by stretching two or
three threads over one, two, or more squares. The threads are then
darned over and under; and the last stitch, while passing through, is
arranged with the needle to form the next. This is one of the easiest
stitches to learn; and it is always worked with coarser thread than the
Point de Bruxelles is merely a kind of loose button-hole stitch,
and is principally used for filling up squares. It will also fonn leaves
when the number of stitches is lessened in each row until they finish
off in a point.
Wheels are begun in the centre. Four threads are taken across,
as shown in the first illustration; the thread is twisted in returning to
the starting point, and the wheel formed by passing thread under and
over the netting and the crossing threads. It is fastened off at the
back of the wheel.
Fig. 118. — Wheel Begun.
The next design is a square wheel. It is worked in the same way
as the preceding, with the addition of loops in Point d'Esprit,
through which and under and over the cross-twisted threads four or
five rows of thread are passed.
Fig. 120. — Square Wheel.
Stars are of various forms, as shown in figures.
The first one is worked in Point de Feston around a single square
hole, which is filled in by a small wheel, or rosette.
The second is worked alternately in Point de Feston and Point
DE Bruxelles around a centre crossed by Point d'Esprit threads.
Figure 123 is more elaborate. Begin at the place marked a (Figure
124), twist the thread three times round the nearest thread of the
netting, draw it on to the knot, h ; repeat this three times, following
the order of the letters; twist the working thread also between the
threads, as seen in the illustration, and fasten it underneath the knot,
a ; for the wheel, fasten on the cotton afresh, and work the rest of
the pattern in Point de Reprise.
The small square is worked on a foundation which is netted over a
mesh 2 1-10 inches round; this foundation has seven stitches each
way. The embroidery is in Darning-Stitch, Point d'Esprit, and
Wheels. The outer edge is button-holed. Larger squares can be
made in the same way, with a few added rows in length and breadth.
These pieces are easily joined together with a few stitches.
A quarter of a large square is given on page 121. The outer border
is done in Point d'Esprit; next to this there is a border in linen
stitch. In each comer there is a large star, which is worked in raised
darning-stitch, and fastened to the netting at each point; there is a
wheel edged with button-hole stitch in the centre of the star. The
pattern for the centre of the square — only a quarter of which is
shown in the illustration — consists of four branches forming small
triangles in Point de Bruxelles, four open-work stars or wheels worked
over four holes of the netting, and a four-branched centre of Point
de Feston with a wheel in the middle.
Fig. 125. — Small Square.
Fig. 127 is a pretty square that has the advantage of being very
quickly worked. The border and groundwork are done in Point
Fig. 126. — Quarter of a Square ik Guipure d'Art.
d'Esprit, the centre star in Point de Reprise, the pattern in Point de
Toile. The four holes in the centres of the darned squares are filled
in with wheels.
Small squares are very pretty for cuffs, handkerchiefs, or cravat
ends. They are worked with very fine cotton in the same manner as
122 ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY.
the larger ones, beginning on two stitches in one corner. The differ-
ent stitches in the two patterns given will be recognized as Point de
Feston, Point de Reprise, Point de Toile, and Point d'Esprit.
Fig. 127. — Square for Antimacassar.
The handsome square (Fig. 130), is worked in Point d'Esprit, with an
outline edging of Point de Reprise. This part may also be done in
close button-hole stitch. The groundwork is in Point de Toile, with
Fig. 128. — Square ik Guipure Fig. 129. — Square in Guipure
Point de Reprise worked on it. It is very effective, and large and
small squares may easily be multiplied by different combinations.
ROSETTES, INSERTIONS, ETC.
The first Rosette is worked in Point de Toile and small \. neels.
The central wheel is larger, and is ornamented with a round of over-
The star-shaped one has a knitted groundwork, which is made by
casting on six stitches, joining the stitches in a circle, and knitting in
Fig. 130. — Square in Gtjipure d'Art.
the first round two stitches in every stitch. For the next eight
rounds, two stitches in every increased stitch; in all the other stitches.
Fig. 131. — Rosette in
Fig. 132. — Rosette in Guipure
one stitch. The last, or tenth round, is worked without increasing.
The rosette is then darned in darning-stitch, linen-stitch, and Point
d'Esprit. The edge is worked in button-hole stitch, three button-
hole stitches to every selvedge stitch.
Fig. 133. — Insertion in Guipure d'Art.
The netted foundation of the inserting pattern is six holes wide.
Begin the netting at one comer with two stiches; work five rows, at
the end of each of which increase one stiv. '~ • continue to work the
Fig. 134. Fig. 135.
strip with the same number of stitches — alternately decreasing one at
the end of one row, and increaamg one at the end of the next. To
decrease, net two stitches together; to increase, net two in one hole.
When the strip is long enough, finish it by decreasing in the same
proportion as the increasing at the beginning.
ARTISTIC EMBBOIDBEY. 125
The pattern is worked in Point de Feston and star- wheel; the
border is of Point d'Esprit. The strip is finished on each side with
a row of button-hole stitches.
The four patterns given above will be found very useful for filling
up small squares, or for varying the groundwork of Point d'Esprit.
Figure 134 is a succession of Point de Feston stitches, which half
fill each square of the netting. This pattern, to look well, must be
worked very evenl}\
Figure 135 is a kind of double Point d'Esprit.
Figure 136 is a twisted thread taken across each square, and
resembles lace stitches.
Figure 137 is a succession of small, close wheels, mingled with Point
d'Esprit. This makes a very effective grounding.
Fig. 138. — Flower in Guipure d'Art.
This flower, which can be used for many purposes, is worked in
Point de Reprise, and may be done either with linen thread or with
purse silk in colors.
The pretty comers for cushions, handkerchiefs, etc., are worked in
Point d'Esprit, Linen, and Darning-stitch ; and the netted foundation
is done by casting on two stitches, and working in rows backwards
and forwards — increasing one stitch at the end of every row.
The corner border requires a strip of netting nine squares wide, cut
out in Vandykes on one side, and worked round in button-hole stitch.
The embroidery is done in Darning-stitch, Point d'Esprit, Linen-
stitch, bars, and wheels. It is edged with button-hole stitch on the
outside, on which is worked a row of crochet-purl.
For this, work one double in every button-hole stitch; after every
other stitch draw out the loop on the needle about one-tenth of an
inch; take out the needle and leave the loop as a purl; take up one
loop in the last double stitch, and cast it off with the next double
Besides being used for tidies, cushions, etc., this border makes very
But we must leave the fascinating subject of Guipure cPArt, and
turn our attention to one or two other kinds of Linen Lace-Work.
Or Cut-work, improperly called Greek lace, is made on a foundation
of linen, of which some of the threads are cut away and the others
worked over, making regular square spaces.
A clearly defined ground plan is thus produced, and the pattern,
however rich and varied, is subdued and confined by guiding lines,
and may be made to form stars, circles, crosses, or cobwebs, of a
Fig. 140. — CoKNEK Borders.
This kind of work is very durable, and has all the respectability of
age. Old specimens of it are frequently seen, and the seventeenth
century painters were very partial to it, using it for the tnrned-up
cuffs of the Vandyke dress, and to edge the falling collars. The finer
kinds of it are very laborious, and one beautiful variety wrought on
thin linen fabrics is known as Spanish nun-work.
Point Coupe is very effective in furniture decoration, and for this
purpose it can scarcely be too coarse. Brown packing-cloth makes a
good foundation; worked with brown thread in a suitable pattern,
simple enough to be clearly defined by the thick threads, it will make
a beautiful border. A Macrame fringe, made of the same thread as
that used for the work, will form a pretty finish, if the knotted pat-
tern is simple and unobtrusive, as it should not divide attention with
the border, to which it is only an appendage.
Cut-work is particularly suitable for the ends of a white linen altar-
cloth, worked on stout linen with a thick, soft, white linen thread,
and in a very rich pattern. The lace should he firmly finished off
with a flat hem of the linen all round, making it complete in itself. A
fringe of linen thread is a suitable finish to the Point-Coupe.
After the cover, of finer linen, has been washed and gotten up with-
out starch, the cut- work borders should be sewn on the ends with an
open stitch, which may be easily cut when the cloth becomes soiled;
which will occur much oftener than with the borders.
Afternoon tea-cloths, cake-covers, etc.,
may be very prettily ornamented with
this linen work. When intended for a
border, it should be finished with close
button-holing to make it strong.
For a tea-cloth, holland or crash makes
a good foundation; and a suitable pat-
tern for this purpose is made by drawing
out nine threads each way, and stitching
all around the square spaces — taking up
three threads with every stitch. In the
made,wheels, stars, iiii:
or other figures,
is also suited to
poses; it is very
simple and easy of
execution — being
very effective in
proportion to the
labor spent upon it.
Fig. 141. — Corner Border in Guipure d'Art.
It is an Italian invention, and is very ornamental
for the ends of table-cloths, toilet-cloths, tidies, or towels — the last
especially being its original use.
Point-tir6 is made in the material of the cloth itself; some of the
threads being drawn out, and the remainder worked into patterns more
or less elaborate. A hem-stitch like that used for pocket-handker-
chiefs is useful in this work; it may be done singly along a row of
drawn threads, or for a broader line on both sides the row — either taking
up the same threads as those taken on the other side, so making little
bars, or taking half the threads from each of two of the opposite
stitches, and thus forming a zigzag.
Other patterns may be made by passing a thick linen thread along
the centre of a row of threads from which the weft has been drawn,
and either twisting them over each other or knotting them into
groups. It adds to the beauty of an article to embroider the spaces
of plain linen between the rows of drawn work, either with silk, or
Fig. 142. — Cover fob a Small Tray.
with red or blue embroidery cotton, mixing a little of whichever is
used with the fringe. The patterns should be very simple: line pat-
terns, dots, stars, etc.
Figure 142 is a good specimen of embroidered drawn-work.
The materials used for this cover are white linen and coarse white
ARTISTIC EMBROIDERY. 129
embroidery cotton. The linen must not be very fine, and it should
be of rather loose texture.
When cut to the desired size the first thing to be done is to ravel
out the threads for the purpose of forming the fringe, which should
be about an inch deep. It should at first be ravelled on only three
sides: the selvedge and the two cross sides — the other selvedge side
being left until the work is nearly finished.
For the work, draw out twenty-seven threads close together; then
leave a space, and draw out twenty-seven more in the same manner.
The space from which the threads are drawn is worked in a kind of
open-stitch with coarse embroidery cotton. Twelve threads are taken
up with the needle, and fixed by a back-stitch. Six threads are
dropped; and then again twelve are taken up in the same way as
before — thus forming the chain pattern shown in the illustration.
From the middle of the opaque stripe a single thread is drawn, and
worked in common hem-stitch ; and on each side- narrow stripes in
satin-stitch form a sort of herring-bone pattern.
The work consists entirely of a series of opaque and open stripes.
When the requisite number of stripes is complete, the fringe may be
ravelled out on the fourth side, and the cover is finished.
This work washes well; but it should not be starched or ironed.
The proper way of doing it up is to pin or baste it flat and tight
while wet, upon a board, or the floor, and let it dry.
IMITATION OF ANTIQUE LACE.
A very rich kind of work founded upon old lace is done by drawing
patterns on linen and overcasting or button-holing the outlines. The
ground between is then cut away, and the patterns enriched with
bars, cords, and raised work.
This kind of linen embroidery may be made very beautiful and
lace-like; the exquisite patterns of Venetian, rose, raised, or bone
point, can easily be reproduced in it, although, while preserving the
peculiar beauty of their forms and proportions, they should, to adapt
them to this work, be considerably enlarged and their details much
simplified. Unless these rules are carefully followed, the linen-work
will appear only a coarse and unsuccessful imitation of the original
This work is sometimes outlined with gold thread, which has an
exceedingly rich and beautiful effect; and with a lining of amber, or
golden-brown satin, a handsome and unique covering may be made
for a variety of articles.
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