Types of embroidery include every sort of ornamental work done with a sewing needle of any kind. Embroidery may be done on any number of fabrics from satin to canvas. Embroiderers, know for their resourcefulness, experiment and learn from others which kind of stitch and thread works best and proceed to produce wonderful works of art, many times mixing types of embroidery.
Often embroidery types were named after the predominate stitch that was used, such as cross-stitch. Others were named after the place they were first introduced, such as Berlin Wool Work or Mountmellick embroidery. What can make finding a "type" of embroidery confusing is that many times there are more than one name for a particular kind of embroidery. For example, pulled thread, drawn thread and Hardanger are often classified as the same embroidery style.
Embroidery techniques can produce a wide range of effects. Some produce a flat surface while others produce a relief effect. Almost any effect wanted can be produced in embroidery - from simple line to fancy stitches with beads, baubles and anything else attached. Embroidery is definitely one of the most versatile crafts ever created.
Below you will find types of embroidery, listed in alphabetical order, used during Victorian times. These are described, and if possible, illustrations and instructions are provided.
was originally used to mark household linens and then used to personalize handmade gifts. This technique uses padding stitches under an even layer of even stitches to produced a raised embroidery effect.
is the technique of taking a pattern of one material, laid on another which forms the ground. The edges of the cut-out design are either sewed over, ornamented with fancy cord, braid, gold thread, or any other appropriate material.
is an embroidery material that was very popular during Victorian times. It was introduced for artistic embroidery around 1883 and was thought to likely supersede other kinds of embroidery materials used in bold designs in decorative needlework. It is a kind of fine chenile and came in both silk and wool.
is a style of canvas work embroidery. In the 1830's, a new processes of dyeing wools made this type of embroidery possible. The resulting embroidery produced very durable and long lasting pieces. Berlin work was used to create cushions, bags and furniture covers.
Crazy work is made by attaching random size and shape pieces of material together to form a larger piece of material. This material then can be used in making a quilt or other projects, such as table cover, cushions, etc. Many different projects described on this page.
This type of embroidery gets its name from the fine wool yarn that is used. The designs are generally bold, since it is difficult to create small intricate designs in wool.
is probably the most common types of embroidery. It is composed of floss stitched in an X like manner on canvas or a canvas like material. Aida cloth is the choice of most Embroiderers today. Java canvas was typically used by Victorian ladies.
Cut Work, also called Venetian embroidery and Roman embroidery, all of which are but the same style of work under different names. Small shapes are cut out of the ground material, the cut edges are embroidered, and the vacant space is often filled in with decorative stitches. Hardanger and Hedebo can be classified as cut work.
is also called Mountmellick Work or Fine White Work.
is embroidery done on canvas. Traditionally Needlepoint was completed on a linen canvas with wool thread. Although different stitches were used, depending upon locations, the tent stitch was used most often. Today embroiderers, when needlepointing, use a much wider range of stitches than ever used before.
Net Embroidery is an effective way of ornamenting White or Black Net for dress trimmings, caps, and other small articles of dress. It is also used for home decorative items that do not get a lot of wear.
Netting Silk in Embroidery
The most delicate kinds of embroidery are worked with fine netting silk, one strand of which is drawn out.
Oriental Embroidery is actually a class of embroidery. It includes Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Persian, Bulgarian, and Turkish embroideries. They are celebrated for a number of reasons.
Punched Work is another type of embroidery that has been used to described different types of embroidery. Most people today, when thinking of Punch or Punched Embroidery automatically think of the type that has the loops of top of the fabric (similar to a hooked rug). This type of embroidery has been around for centuries. The other Punched Work, as described and illustrated here, is more of a drawn work.
There a number of different Raised Embroideries. One kind is when stitches are taken over a wadding of cotton. Another is when the design is formed with loops of Plush Stitch, which are afterward fluffed up and cut. And yet a third kind is when a stiffening material, such as wire mesh, is used, then covered with cloth and then embroidered.
The earlier ribbon embroidery designs were worked out with a narrow China ribbon about one-half inch in width. The designs were chiefly floral in nature. Usually only the wealthy could afford to do this type of embroidery
The present adaptations of this work show it in any material that can be embroidered, and, of course, the thread employed must correspond with the material on which the embroidery is done. Often the work is padded and raised.
As you can see, there are many types of embroidery. Victorian ladies were expected to know each type of embroidery and understand the different stitches that were used with each. Like today’s embroiderers, creative license was used to obtain the look needed for each individual piece of work. Be creative like Victorian embroiderers were. Don't be afraid to mix and match types of embroidery to create YOUR work of art!