Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Embroidered Clothing: Vintage from the New York Times


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During the Victorian and Edwardian eras, embroidery on fine clothing was the norm. By the time the Industrial Revolution finished off the cottage industries, embroidery on clothing could be done by machine. But that didn’t stop some people from undertaking the embellishment of their own wardrobes, as this New York Times article attests.

Anyone interested in costuming, in vintage textiles, or even in general surface embroidery may find this “Message to Women” interesting. What’s the message? “Gold Thread to be Used Lavishly in Many Fabrics this Season” with explanations on “Honeycomb Stitchery.” Read the gold thread article if you get a chance – you can pick up some interesting instruction on how to work the techniques discussed. If nothing else, I think it’s amusing!

NY Times Article on Gold Thread use on Clothing

Speaking of embroidery on clothing and vintage textiles, another interesting source of embroidery designs is The Costume Galler’s Online Library of Vintage Publications, in particular the free page of McCall’s Magazine Self Transferable Embroidery Patterns, from May of 1908.

McCall's Magazine, May, 1908: Embroidery for Clothing

The nice thing about the patterns offered on the McCall’s page (there are five embroidery patterns altogether) is that you could easily modify the pattern for something other than the bodice of that dress you’re making for your summer tea parties…. you could take just one section of a motif and use it on linens or whatever!



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(4) Comments

  1. I agree with elmsley rose. I think the last one would be nice placed horizontally with a mirrored copy forming a circle in between the two ornaments. You could place a monogram in between.

  2. Margaret C,
    I’m stealing your ‘monogram in the middle idea’ to put in my design notebook. Hope that’s ok *grin*

  3. Great ideas!! Now, if we all had a leeeetle more time for stitching, imagine what could be accomplished!

    They’re great patterns, aren’t they?

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