HISTORICAL NEEDLEWORK BOOKS
|Elizabethan Stitches by Jacqui Carey is is subtitled A Guide to Historic English Needlework. The author has extensively studied actual samples of needlework produced during the Elizabethan Era, and attempted to determine the techniques (many of which are different from techniques used in modern times) that produced them. Concentrating on two main types of needlework, the book first examines techniques done by counting on the weave of the background fabric which she describes as needlepoint stitches. Then it switches to embroidery stitches that consist primarily of braided and looped stitches, with a small section on what she calls “applied” work. By applied work, she refers to couched and sewn metal threads and sewing on paillettes/spangles (similar to sequins but made of materials such as real gold and silver).
This book is profusely illustrated both with photographs of historic embroidery as well as very detailed stitch diagrams. In a few cases, due to copyright issues, instead of including a photo of an historic piece of needlework that is referenced in this book, the author refers the reader to internet web sites where the piece she is discussing may be viewed.
Elizabethan Stitches (2012, 160 pages, softcover) $55.00
|Baby Wore White by Heather Toomer features christening gowns and other special baby robes from the 19th century. The first section compares baby gowns with adult clothing from the same era. The main section of the book features details of more than forty baby gowns in both public and private collections. This book is profusely illustrated with photographs of elaborately embroidered and embellished gowns.
Baby Wore White (2004, 168 pages, softcover) $38.00
|Embroidered with White by Heather Toomer is a book about 18th century whitework embroidery, primarily Dresden lace. Dresden lace is the name given to a form of extremely fine pulled thread embroidery. Many samples of 18th century whitework embroidery are illustrated in this lovely book. Little has been written on this subject and this well-researched book is very welcome.
Embroidered with White (2008, 180 pages, softcover) $40.00
|White-Embroidered Costume Accessories the 1790s to 1840s by Heather Toomer is described by the author as the "sequel to our book on 18th-century whitework accessories." It explores in chronological order changes in whitework clothing accessories including kerchiefs, fichus, aprons, chemisettes, cuffs, etc. It is as beautiful as all Heather Toomer's books, and is profusely illustrated with photographs of historical examples, old fashion illustrations, and in a few cases, line drawings of embroidery designs and clothing accessory patterns.
White-Embroidered Costume Accessories (2013, 192 pages, softcover) $40.00
|Fashionable White-Embroidered Accessories c. 1840 to 1900 by Heather Toomer completes her series, detailing the changes in design and production, in a format like her previous books (with many photographs of samples, reproductions of fashion illustrations, and a few line drawings).
Fashionable White-Embroidered Accessories c. 1840 to 1900 (2018, 192 pages, softcover) $41.00
Girlhood Embroidery by Betty Ring is available in limited quantities. This two volume set will be of interest to those of you who enjoy learning about American samplers and other forms of embroidery that young women learned in school. Please note that supplies are VERY limited and the few copies that remain, although brand new, are not in perfect condition (problems are mostly limited to dustcovers and slipcovers). Remember, this book was published almost 20 years ago so the fact it is available at all is highly unusual.
Girlhood Embroidery (1993, 583 pages total, hardcover) $175.00
The Art of Elizabethan Embroidery by Jane Zimmerman is a slim book about the type of embroidery that was typical of Elizabethan England. About half the book consists of historical information, while the rest of the book consists of stitch diagrams. The book has a few black-and-white pictures of historical examples (the photo reproduction is not great quality but still interesting) and clear, black-and-white drawings of stitches. This is NOT a project book as it does not include designs to stitch. It is a welcome addition to the body of work on this subject.
The Art of Elizabethan Embroidery (1999, 31 pages, wirebound softcover) $20.00
|18th Century Embroidery Techniques by Gail Marsh is interesting to me because, like the author, I consider the embroidery from this century to be some of the best ever. It was a time when embroidery was considered art as well as craft, when highly talented artists created embroidery designs, and when those who executed the embroidery were highly skilled. Chapters in this book cover different stitching techniques such as metal thread embroidery, silk embroidery, quilting (as used on clothing), whitework, crewel work, and even a chapter on the rare English needlelace technique known as hollie point. Every page of this book is illustrated either with photographs of samples in museums (primarily British museums), or drawings of embroidered clothing or design elements. The only thing that could make this book better were if it included more examples from continental Europe but that is a minor quibble.
18th Century Embroidery Techniques (2001 reprint of 2006 original publication, 192 pages, paperback) $19.95
Copyright 1998-2019. All prices are in U.S. dollars and are subject to change without notice.