Punched Work

Victorian punched work should not be confused with today’s punch work. Punch work, as most people know it, is the craft of embroidery whereby the results look similar to a latched-hooked rug. It has small loops on top of the fabric that form the design. It is quite popular and is can be very beautiful.

Victorian punched work is easiest to describe with a picture. The figure below shows a finished sample of this type of work. Complete instructions are included here for those who wish to give it a try.

Completed Punched Work Sample

Victorian Punched Work Instructions

Select a rather open mesh round weave linen and a large round needle. Outline the design in coarse cotton thread. Fine linen or silk thread is then used, taking the stitches through dots in the background placed equally distant apart. It is a good plan to tie the thread to the eye of the needle to prevent it slipping out.

The work proceeds as shown in the diagram, Fig. 1, using Diagram, Fig. 2, working from side to side until all the work is done across the space, then turn the fabric so that the side becomes the top and do the same work in the dots already done, the stitches being placed at right angles to those already worked, following the same instructions, but using Diagram, Fig. 3. A detail of the work is shown in Fig. 4.

Victorian Punched Work Illustration 3



Punched Work Graph 1



Punch Work Embroidery Graph #2



Victorian Punched Work Illustration 4

To Work

Draw the needle through the dot at 7 (See Fig. 1), then

  • Down at 1, out at 8;
  • Down at 2, out at 8;
  • Down at 2, out at 9;
  • Down at 3, out at 9;
  • Down at 3, out at 10;
  • Down at 4, out at 10;
  • Down at 4, out at 11;
  • Down at 5, out at 11;
  • Down at 5, out at 12;
  • Down at 6, out at 12;
  • Down at 6, out at 18;
  • Down at 12, out at 18;
  • Down at 12, out at 17;
  • Down at 11, out at 17;
  • Down at 11, out at 16;
  • Down at 10, out at 16;
  • Down at 10, out at 15;
  • Down at 9, out at 15;
  • Down at 9, out at 14;
  • Down at 8, out at 14;
  • Down at 8, out at 13;
  • Down at 7, out at 13;
  • Down at 7, etc.

The spaces to be filled do not necessarily have to be square, but more care will be needed with filling circular shapes when you come to the outer and inner edges. However, with a little practice no difficulty will be experienced.

Many beautiful examples of old Spanish drawn work have in them patches or spots or geometric figures filled in with this open work, sometimes called “Pierced work,” so the work is not new except in its popular application.

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