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Posts Tagged ‘Dresden embroidery’

For my previous stitch sampler I focused on practising some of the stitches used in Dresden whitework embroidery. Many of these stitches had been used from before the 18th century and continued to be used during the Regency. So for my next sampler, I decided to focus more on how the Regency embroidery designs had changed.

During the Regency period, embroidery designs became much more delicate and “flowy” than their 18th century predecessors. Some of the common flower, bud, leaf and frond motives had been quite large and bulky, but changed a little in shape to be more delicate. Often the designs were smaller in size and were repeated more frequently in the embroidery sequence, and – as a result – the areas of pulled work embroidered also became smaller during this era. Other Regency designs were still quite large but the flowing and dainty nature of the design made it subtly different to the style used in the 18th century. “Sprigged muslin”, where muslin fabric was embroidered with quite small motives to form a “dotted” design, became very popular. Linear designs also became more popular, probably due to its likeness of Greek and Roman clothing trims which the new model of Regency fashion was based on.

My design has been copied from a needlework pattern from Ackermann’s Repository, the one in the centre below.

A Regency needlework pattern, from Ackermann's Repository (June 1812).

A Regency needlework pattern, from Ackermann’s Repository (June 1812).

Once again used premium cotton muslin and chose a convenient handkerchief-sized piece for my sampler, finished with a handsewn rolled hem. I used many of the same stitches as I used in my previous sampler: chain stitch, satin stitch, eyelets and blanket stitched pinwheels. The pulled stitches I have used here have also been used before in my pulled work sampler.

My finished "handkerchief", ready to throw down so the nearest "redcoat" can pick it up for me.

My finished “handkerchief”, ready to throw down so the nearest “redcoat” can pick it up for me.

The six pulled work areas were worked in the centre of the paisley shapes and were all different: (from top left to bottom right) ring-backed stitch, double backstitch, faggot stitch, honeycomb stitch, spaced wave stitch and four-sided stitch. The pulled work in period examples leaves much larger “holes” in the fabric than I have in this example, so I will have to practice my technique some more.

A close-up of one edge of the embroidery, with the stitches labelled.

A close-up of one edge of the embroidery, with the embroidery stitches labelled.

I am really pleased with how this turned out, and now I am ready to start designing my embroidered fichu!

Related Posts

Pulled Work Sampler: Part One

Dresden Whitework Stitch Sampler

Sources and Relevant Links

Regency needlework designs (1811-1815), from Ackermann’s Repository – at My Fanciful Muse

Pulled work stitches – by Lynxlace

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Whitework is the name given to white embroidery on a white fabric background. This term is rather broad however, as it encompasses many different types of embroidery, such as Dresden, Schwalm, Ayrshire, Hollie Point, Hardanger, and Mountmellick. Whitework has also been popular (in many different forms) through many periods in history. I am now making my second whitework sampler, and I decided to focus on practising the stitches often used in during the 18th century for Dresden embroidery. Dresden work was the name given to a particular type of whitework performed on thin white muslin during the 18th century. During this period, the popular (and expensive) French and Flemish bobbin lace became more difficult to import to England, which created a need for a cheaper lace imitation. This type of embroidery uses a number of techniques to create the “lacey” effect that was particularly desirable at the time. According to Gail Marsh, Dresden in Saxony was one of the main centres of production for this type of embroidery, hence the name.

Techniques

The stitches that I used in my sampler are pictured below, with links included for further instruction. All of these stitches I have seen in extant examples of whitework viewable online and in books.

Outline stitches

Chain stitch

Chain stitch: I used this as an outline, but it can also be used as a filling. Source: Rocksea & Sarah

Chain stitch: I used this as an outline in this example, but it can also be used as a filling. Source: Rocksea & Sarah

Back stitch

Back stitch: I also tried using a double running stitch, where you use a running stitch one way and then a running stitch back again, filling in all the spaces. Source: Rocksea & Sarah.

Back stitch: I also tried using a double running stitch, where you use a running stitch one way and then a running stitch back again, filling in all the spaces. Source: Rocksea & Sarah.

Stem stitch

Stem stitch: A good outline stitch. Source: Rocksea & Sarah.

Stem stitch: A good outline stitch. Source: Rocksea & Sarah.

Filling stitches

French knot

A french knot: stitched close together they form a very textural filling. Source: Rocksea & Sarah

French knot: When stitched close together they form a very textural filling. I have also seen them used for a shading effect, and an outline. Source: Rocksea & Sarah

Shadow work (using herringbone stitch)

Herringbone stitch. When it is used for shadow work, the stitch is done on the underside with the stitches on the outside appearing like back stitch. Source: Rocksea & Sarah

Herringbone stitch: When it is used for shadow work, the stitch is done close together on the underside with the stitches on the outer side appearing like back stitch. Source: Rocksea & Sarah

Satin stitch

Satin stitch: I found that doing an outline in running stitch was really effective in helping the final result to look good. Source: Rocksea & Sarah.

Satin stitch: I found that first doing an outline in running stitch was really effective in helping the final result to look good. Source: Rocksea & Sarah.

Single feather stitch

Single feather stitch: Basically blanket stitch on an angle. If the stitches are done very close together it can form a nice filling stitch. Source: Rocksea & Sarah.

Single feather stitch: Basically blanket stitch on an angle. If the stitches are done very close together it can form a nice filling stitch, with an edge already included. Source: Rocksea & Sarah.

“Shaped” stitches (That is, stitches that form their own shape in the embroidery.)

Blanket-stitch pinwheel

Blanket-stitched pinwheel: A blanket-stitched circle, with an attractive eyelet-hole resulting in the centre. Source: Rocksea & Sarah.

Blanket-stitched pinwheel: A blanket-stitched circle, with an attractive eyelet-hole resulting in the centre. Source: Rocksea & Sarah.

Eyelets

Eyelets: Usually pricked with an awl first (to make a wide enough hole) and then an overcast stitch sewn around the edges. Source: Rocksea & Sarah.

Eyelets: Usually pricked with an awl first (to make a wide enough hole) and then an overcast stitch is sewn around the edges. Source: Rocksea & Sarah.

My finished item is approximately the size of a small handkerchief, with a hand-sewn rolled hem on all the raw edges. I created the design myself to imitate some of the more common motifs used in the 18th century. These often included large stylised flowers, normally with pulled work in the petals or centres, and large fronds of ferns or leaves.

The finished piece!

The finished piece! You will notice, if you look closely, that I tried a few different techniques with the single feather stitch, none of which I was particularly happy with. The finishing touch to this work would have been the pulled work that is intended to go in the centre of the oval “flower”, which was very characteristic of Dresden embroidery, but as this is intended as a teaching sample I decided to leave it blank for the moment.

My next sampler will be more of a Regency whitework design, which often contains elements of the earlier Dresden embroidery.

Related Posts

Pulled Work Embroidery Sampler: Part One

Making a Pair of Lawn Ruffles

Sources and Relevant Links

History of whitework 18th Century Embroidery Techniques, by Gail Marsh – buy on Amazon

Types of whitework and techniques – plus a free sampler

Embroidery stitches – by Rocksea & Sarah

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