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!
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.
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!