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I"" ' Chap. ^...xim. 

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Vol. III. 

yo. 192. 

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. 



F. H. LUPTON. Publisher 
63 Murray Street, N. Y. 









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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 


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 


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. 


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 


Fig. a 

Fig. 4. 

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 
of embroidery. 

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 
is pleasing. 

Fig. 5. 



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. 

Fig. n 

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. 

Fig. 8. 

Fig. 9. 

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- 
eral form. 

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 ? 




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 
scarcely undertake 


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. 


may be done in the same way, only that there 

Fie. 12. 



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 

Fig. 13. 

though it is, there is a richness about brown that is always suggestive 
of gilding. 


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 


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 
closer inspection. 


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. 


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 


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 


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. 



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 
lines : 

' ' 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- 


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 



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 
same tone, 

> 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 



Fig. 14. 

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. 


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 


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. 


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. 

Fig. 16. 

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 

Fig. 18. 


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 

another color. 





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. 

Fig. 22. 

Fig. 23. 

Fig. 25. 

Fig. 24. 


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. 

Fig. 26. 


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 

Fig. 27. 

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. 


This is an old-fashioned embroidery stitch revived, which is always 
f iTective. 

In ancient times, fine pieces of linen were embroidered all over with 


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. 

Fig. 34. 


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 


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 
and art. 

*'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; 

Fig. 35. 


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 


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 


black lines at the bottom. These fans may be very much varied, and 
can be made extremely ornamental. Figure 39 is a still different 

Fig. 36. 

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 
good-sized object. 

Fig. 37. 

Fig. 38. 

Fig. 39. 



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 
herselfo ^ 

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 
upright one. 

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. 





Fig. 40. 


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 
was perfect. 


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. 


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. 



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. 


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. 


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- 


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. 


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. 


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 


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- 
tine frame. 


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 
likewise embroidered. 

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. 


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 


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. 


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 
as black. 

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 
tint used. 

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 



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. 


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, 


J w 

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 
least durable. 


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. 


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 
their gilding. 

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 



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. 



" 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. 


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 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. 


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 


would be very ornamental with an embroidered cover. Crimson or 
maroon-colored velveteen, brown kid, or gray canvas, could be 


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, 
or blue. 



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- 

Fig. 46. 

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/ 

Fig. 46. 

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. 




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 

Fig. 47. 

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 

Fig. 49. 
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. 

Fig. 50. 
Monogram in Gold Thread. 

This very pretty monogram is worked with gold thread; the leaves 
and flowers may be done with silk if preferred. 



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 


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 
darker shade. 

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 


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- 

Fig. 53. 

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. 


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 
floss. V. 

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 
dark-yellow silk. 

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 


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. 


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. 


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 
embroidery silk. 

Artistic embroidery. 


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. 


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 
the key-note. 

We may be artistic even with Turkish-towelling and cloth applica- 
tion; bxit unless we are this, let us not be ornamental. 


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- 
thing else. 

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 


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. 



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 
pronoimced finished. 


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- 
like appearance. 

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. 



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 — 


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. 


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 


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; 


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 
all satisfactory. 

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, 


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 
pretty work. 



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 
Holbein work. 

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. 

Fig. 63. 

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 

Fig. 64. 

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 

Fig. 65. 

Fig. 66. 



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 

Fig. 67. 

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; 


■ . i 

■ • • a ' * • « 

e "S T . .» £ 

■ ? ' « 5 . • • . 4 

K _ _S"i _f 

1 - - SI 

1 : Si J 

i £ »-_* 

1 _ !__ 11 

[1 « • « « ■' -v ■■ i"i 1 

Fig. 68. 

Fig. 69. 

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 
Figure 71. 


"■ Z5ZS2S2525 


Fig. 70. 

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 

_ ' _ 

Fig. 72. 

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 

Fig. 73. 

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. 

















' ■ 














Fig. 74. 

Fig. 75. 

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. 

Fig. 76. 

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 




Fig. 79. 

Figure 80 shows the first row of this design; the first branch being 
finished, and the second in course of execution. 

Fig. 80. 

i^^ ^ ' , : KsiiMwjiian&n>^^i^£t 




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. 

Fig. 81. 

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 
main line. 

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 

"i :::;:::: jL 

_ X "I " " 

Fig. 82. 

Fig. 83. 

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 




_i_ — T — ._ ji 

■•-■ *. a* -v *i «. ,J ij <- .- -S* *i ^ . r - U U 

Fiff. 85. 

Fig. 84. 

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 







1-- QJ 











™p S 


Fig. 87. 

placing the branches. Figure 87 shows the manner of working 
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. 

Fig. 88. 

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. 

Fig. 89. 

Fig. 90. 

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 

Fig. 93. 

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 
the illustrations. 

Handsome portieres and curtains may be made of burlaps orna- 
mented with Holbein and other embroidery. 


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. 




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. 


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- 
factory results. 

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. 


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 
for applique. 


The stitches used in ancient ecclesiastical embroidery are found on 
examination to be quite simple, yet capable of producing the most 
beautiful effects. 

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 


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. 


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. 




• jI 

































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 
is reached. 

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. 



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 


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. 


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 
Desk Hanging. 

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. 


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. 


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- 
ing directions: 

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 


time or means will not justify their undertaking larger pieces of 
church work. 

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. 


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 
card alone. 

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. 


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. 



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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Fig. 112. 

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 

Fig. 113. 

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. 

Fig. 114. 

Fig. 115. 

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 

Fig. 116. 

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 

Artistic embroideky. 


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. 

Fig. 119. 

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. 

121.— Star. 

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 

Fig. 123. 

Fig. 124. 

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 


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 
d'Art. d'Art. 

Point de Reprise worked on it. It is very effective, and large and 
small squares may easily be multiplied by different combinations. 


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 
Guipure d'Art. 

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. 







1 1 







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. 

Fig. 136. 

Fig. 137. 

When the strip is long enough, finish it by decreasing in the same 
proportion as the increasing at the beginning. 


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 
pretty inserting. 

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 
geometrical character. 

Fig. 139. 

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 
openings thus 
made,wheels, stars, iiii: 
or other figures, 
are worked. 


Or drawn-work, 
is also suited to 
decorative pur- 
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 


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. 


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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