There are numerous books on embroidery stitches. Mrs. Beeton's Book of
Needlework was (and still is) a very popular book. It explains and
illustrates a number of stitches, not only in embroidery but other needlework as well. Here are some of the embroidery stitches from her
book that you may find helpful and interesting. The pictures, being in black and white, and very old, are not always very clear. I have cleaned them up so that, hopefully, you may see what she is explaining.
Scallop Stitch | Overcast or Button-hole Stitch | Double Overcast Stitch | Slanting Overcast Stitch | Back Stitch | Point Croise Stitch | Knotted Stitch | Satin Stitch and Variations | Point de Plume Stitch | Point de Minute Stitch
ILLUSTRATION 66 shows
how to prepare a scallop. Take thicker cotton than that with which you
work; never commence with a knot, and do not take a thread longer than
sixteen or eighteen inches. The outlines of the scallops are first
traced with short straight stitches. In the corners particularly the
stitches must be short. The space between the outlines is filled with
chain stitches, as can be seen from illustration; they must not be too
long, otherwise the embroidery will look coarse. It is in this way that
every pattern to be worked in button-hole or satin stitch is to be
ILLUSTRATION 67 shows the double overcast stitch or button-hole stitch in a straight line. After having traced the outline begin to work from left to right; fasten the cotton with a few stitches, hold it with the thumb of the left hand under the outline, insert the needle downwards above the outline, draw it out under the same above the cotton which you hold in the left hand, and draw it up. Repeat for all the stitches in the same manner; they must be regular and lie close to one another. Great care should be taken that the material on which you embroider is not puckered.
ILLUSTRATION 68 (Overcast Stitch). The double overcast and the button-hole stitches are worked from left to right, whilst back stitches, knotted and satin stitches are worked from right to left. The stitch is worked in the same way as the double overcast, only the needle must never be drawn out above, but below, the cotton with which you work, and which you keep down with the thumb of the left hand.
ILLUSTRATION 69.--The Slanting Overcast Stitch
is worked without tracing the outline, always inserting the needle
downwards--that is, from top to bottom. The needle must be inserted in
the manner shown in illustration--that is, not straight, but slanting;
insert it a little farther than the last stitch, and draw it out close
to it. The wrong side of the work must show back stitches. This sort of stitch is used for the fine outlines in patterns or letter.
ILLUSTRATION 70.--This shows the back stitch, the working of which is well known; it is worked in several rows close to each other.
ILLUSTRATIONS 71 & 72 show another kind of back stitch, called point croise, which is only used on very thin and transparent materials. This stitch forms on the wrong side a sort of darned pattern, which is seen by transparence on the right side, and gives the embroidered pattern a thicker appearance, contrasting with the rest of the work (see the lower leaves of the flower on illustration 110). For this stitch insert the needle into the material as for the common back stitch, draw it out underneath the needle on the opposite outline of the pattern, so as to form on the wrong side a slanting line. Insert the needle again as for common back stitch; draw it out slanting at the place marked for the next stitch on the opposite outline, as shown in illustration 71.
ILLUSTRATION 73 shows the knotted
stitch; the simplest way of working it is to work two back stitches at a
short distance from each other over the same thread.
The knotted stitch seen in ILLUSTRATION 74 is
worked thus:--Take about four threads of the material on the needle,
draw the needle half out, wind the cotton twice round the point of the
needle, hold it tight with the thumb, draw the needle out carefully and
insert it at the place where the stitch was begun, and draw it out at
the place where the next stitch is to be worked.
The knotted stitch seen on ILLUSTRATION 75 is worked in nearly the same manner as the preceding one. Before drawing the cotton out of the material hold it tight with the left-hand thumb; leave the needle in the same position, wind the cotton twice round it, turn the needle from left to right, so (follow the direction of the arrow) that its point arrives where the cotton was drawn out (marked by a cross in illustration), insert the needle there, and draw it out at the place of the next stitch.
ILLUSTRATIONS 76 & 77.--Raised satin stitch
is principally used for blossoms, flowers, leaves, letters, &c.c.
After having traced the outlines of the pattern, fill the space left
between them with chain stitches in a direction different from that in
which the pattern is to be embroidered; begin at the point of the leaf,
working from right to left, make short straight stitches, always
inserting the needle close above the outline and drawing it out below.
The leaves on the flowers, as well as on the branches, must be begun
from the point, because they thus acquire a better shape. If you wish to
work a leaf divided in the middle, as seen in illustration 77, you must
trace the veining before you fill it with chain stitches, then begin at
one point of the leaf and work first one half and then the other.
ILLUSTRATION 78 shows the so-called Point de Plume Stitch on a scalloped leaf. It is worked like the satin stitch, only the needle is drawn through the material in a slanting direction.
ILLUSTRATION 79 (Point de Minute).--This stitch is often used instead of satin stitch when the patterns must appear raised. Wind the cotton several times round the point of the needle, which is inserted into the material half its length (the number of times the cotton is to be wound round the needle depends on the length of the pattern), hold fast the windings with the thumb of the left hand, draw the needle and the cotton through the windings, insert the needle into the material at the same place, and draw it out at the place where the next stitch is to begin.
The Last and Best Book of Art Needlework
Over 100 pages of authentic Victorian instructions and patterns from 1895!
Sign up for VEAC! Everything you wanted to know about Victorian embroidery, needlework, crafts and more!
Priscilla Bead Work Book
Make Beautiful Victorian Beaded Purses, Jewelry & Accessories - Starting