This week, I came across a little old gem of a church embroidery book online. When I came upon it as a free PDF, I was delighted, so I thought I’d share it with those of you interested in church embroidery.
The name of the book is Church Embroidery, Ancient and Modern, by Anastasia Marice Dolby. Typical of older church embroidery books, while there are some black and white drawings – and some little patterns that can be elaborated upon or adapted – the book is mostly text.
In it, you’ll find instruction on older forms of church embroidery, so if you’ve ever looked at old church vestments and vesture and wondered “how they did that,” this might be a book that answers those questions.
There are also plenty of tips in the book on goldwork, embroidery on linen, applique techniques, and so forth. Of course, since the book was written quite a while ago (1867), some of the instructions are a bit dated. For example, Mrs. Dobly’s instructions on making a paste made me chuckle:
To make a needlework paste. – Paste which is sure to bind, and will never come through on the surface of the material, is shoemaker’s paste; two pennyworth of which may be had from any adjacent shoemaker.
But supposing a shoemaker be not always adjacent, we give our receipt for an excellent paste, which may be made at home.
Take 3 table-spoonfuls of flour, and as much powdered resin as will lie on a shilling; mix them smoothly with half a pint of water, pour into an iron saucepan, and stir till it boils. Let it boil 5 minutes; then turn it into a basin, and when quite cold, it is fit for use.
Since I don’t have an adjacent shoemaker, I suppose I would have to go for the home-made recipe!
Some of the little patterns in the book are nice, and would adapt well to individual motifs for goldwork or silk shading, even for secular use. I may play around with some of them to see if I can work them into clean images to use as patterns. If I do, I’ll certainly share them with you!
The book is available on Internet Archives: Church Embroidery, Ancient and Modern, by Anastasia Dolby.
I don’t know about you, but I really love these nice old needlework books that are generously being made available by those who take the time to digitize them!
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