5 Facts You Never Knew About Embroidery


We recently acquired The Embroidery House as a part of our company. As part of my marketing initiative I wanted to understand machine embroidery as a process and learn more about embroidery in general. I did know a little bit since my Grandmother taught me how when I was a young girl. However, it has been many years since I embroidered anything, and I couldn’t even begin to tell you the difference between one stitch and another, or be able to point out the difference between hand and machine. Naturally, to learn and relearn about the subject, I turned to Wikipedia. I’m going to share with you five facts that were very interesting to learn.

picture by notahandbag via Flickr



Hand method is still mainly comprised of the earliest stitch types: chain stitch, buttonhole or blanket stitch, running stitch, satin stitch, and cross stitch.”


The origins of embroidery are unknown, but early examples survive from ancient Egypt, Iron Age Northern Europe and Zhou Dynasty China. Examples of surviving Chinese chain stitch embroidery worked in silk thread have been dated to the Warring States period (5th-3rd century BC).”


Because embroidery was a sign of high social status in Muslim societies it became a hugely popular the art. In cities such as Damascus, Cairo and Istanbul, embroidery was visible on handkerchiefs, uniforms, flags, calligraphy, shoes, robes, tunics, horse trappings, slippers, sheaths, pouches, covers and even on leather belts. Many craftsmen embroidered with gold and silver. And each of these cottage industries employed over 800 people.”


The development of machine on a mass production scale came about in stages. The earliest machine embroidery used a combination of machine looms and teams of women embroidering the textiles by hand. This was done in England by the mid-1800s.”


Much contemporary embroidery is stitched with a computerized embroidery machine using patterns “digitized” with embroidery software. In machine embroidery, different types of “fills” add texture and design to the finished work. Machine embroidery is used to add logos and monograms to business shirts or jackets, gifts, and team apparel as well as to decorate household linens, draperies, and decorator fabrics that mimic the elaborate hand embroidery of the past.”

I found all of these facts particularly interesting, and I hope you do, too.


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