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Victorian Fancy Stitchery: Techniques and Designs

Victorian Fancy Stitchery: Techniques and Designs

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by Flora Klickmann (Editor)

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This exceptionally fine needlecraft guide from the turn of the twentieth century includes instructions for projects that range from drawn-thread work — one of the oldest and simplest forms of art needlework — to the attractive novelty of bead embroidery on netting.
Abundantly illustrated directions for "fancy stitchery" also provide tips for such


This exceptionally fine needlecraft guide from the turn of the twentieth century includes instructions for projects that range from drawn-thread work — one of the oldest and simplest forms of art needlework — to the attractive novelty of bead embroidery on netting.
Abundantly illustrated directions for "fancy stitchery" also provide tips for such exquisite creations as reticella lace and Venetian crochet, elegant hardanger and hedebo work, macramé, cross-stitch, ancient cut-work, and embroidery on flannel.
A useful manual for anyone who enjoys re-creating needlecraft projects from an earlier era and a valuable reference for collectors of antique laces and dress trimmings, this volume also provides a captivating glimpse of needlework from a bygone era.

Product Details

Dover Publications
Publication date:
Dover Embroidery, Needlepoint Series
Product dimensions:
6.04(w) x 9.18(h) x 0.34(d)

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Victorian Fancy Stitchery

Techniques & Designs

By Flora Klickmann

Dover Publications, Inc.

Copyright © 2003 Dover Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-486-16463-2


A Handsome Tea=cloth.

We illustrate here a Five o'clock Cloth of unusually handsome design. It is made of the most transparent lawn and very fine crochet, and is an illustration of what needlework wonders can be accomplished if patience, care and evenness of stitch be brought to bear on the work. The actual crochet-patterns are composed of really simple stitches. We are not giving exhaustive instructions in this case, but merely supplying a few details that will be sufficient to enable any girl who has had practice in crochet to copy the cloth from the pictures.

As will be seen, five square insets are let into the lawn, and four rings or medallions are applied to the lawn; in the latter case the lawn is not cut away at the back. The edge is composed of these same rings laid on lawn backgrounds, and the same pattern edges the slightly scalloped edge of the cloth itself.

The Narrow Insertion Outlining the Squares.

1st Row.—Ch 18, I tr into the 9th ch from needle, * ch 3, 1 tr into 3rd ch from last tr. Repeat twice from *. You should now have a row of 4 sp.

2nd Row.Turn with 6 ch, 1 tr into top of tr in previous row, 2 tr into sp, 1 tr into top of next tr, 3 tr into sp, 1 tr into next tr, 3 ch, 1 tr into 3rd chain so as to end the row with a square sp.

3rd Row.—6 ch, 1 tr into each of the 8 tr in previous row, 3 ch, 1 tr.

The Loop Design in Centre of Square.

If the small detail of this part of the design is studied carefully, it will be seen that d c's are worked round the edge of the narrow insertion, 3 d c into each sp, while at every 4th sp occur 3 loops of 18 ch each. These loops are in turn held together by strands of 12 ch each, with 12 d c worked over each at the next round. These sets will lessen as the work proceeds, simply by omitting the connecting strand of 12ch at each corner. The looser strands, which are caught together between the groups of loops, consist of 18 ch each.

4th Row.—6 ch, 1 tr (this forms one sp), then make 3 more sp as in 1st row.

5th Row.—1 sp, 8 tr, 1 sp (like 2nd row).

6th Row.—6 ch, 4 tr, then 2 sp.

7th Row.—Like 5th row.

8th Row.—2 sp, 4 tr, 1 sp.

Repeat from 5th row.

Notice that each side of the square must start with the four open sp, then the solid block:formed by the 8 tr in rows 2 and 3, so as to make a good corner. The four sides are worked without breaking the thread, the final edges being sewn together.

The Round Medallions in Border and let into the Cloth.

Ch 7, then back into the very first ch, work 2 tr, 3 ch, 2 tr, 3 ch, 2 tr, 3 ch, 2 tr.

* Turn with 6 ch, and into the first little sp in previous row work 2 tr, 3 ch, 2 tr, 3 ch, 2 tr, 3 ch, 2 tr. Repeat from * till you have 14 scallops on one side and 13 scallops on the other. Then join in a ring, having the 14 scallops on the outside and the 13 on the inside of the ring.

Now work 5 d c into the first large sp on the outside edge (made by the 6 ch you turned with), then 5 d c into the next sp, 5 d c into the 3rd sp, and 1 d c down into the root of trs.

Next ch 7, and carry it down to the large sp on the inner side of the circle (this sp will be just a trifle in advance of the one above that you have just filled in with d c's). Fill in this first sp with 5 dc, and (going backwards along the work) make 5 d c into the next 2 sp, and 1 dc again into the root of the trs.

You have now put dc into what may be called both sides of one scallop.

Now ch 7, and cross with this right over to the outer edge of the circle, and proceed to fill in with d c the top of the next scallop.

In this way work all round the ring. If you study the illustration showing this ring in detail, you will see that part of it is without this extra cross-bar working, while the centre portion has the d c started, and the 7 ch crossing over the work can be seen.

It is more convenient if the extra d c and cross ch are worked before the strip is actually joined in a ring.

This ring forms the round medallion on the cloth; it is also used in the border. This design also edges the lawn and serves to unite it to the border.

The Edge of the Cloth.

To make the open-work ring round medallions already described in the border, * make two loops of 18 ch each into the centre-point of one of the scallops. Ch 9, catch back into the fifth loop, making a picot loop. Then ch 5 which carries you to the next scallop. Repeat from *.

2nd Row.—Make a d c into the bottom of each of the 2 loops already made. Ch 4, catch into picot loop above, ch 18, catch back into picot loop, ch 4, then make a d c into each loop above and repeat all round. Catch into the table-cloth edge and to the next medallion where shown in the illustration.

You will see by looking at the corner illustrated that each medallion is surrounded with this open-work circle.

For the outside edge of the border, work as follows:

1st Row.—Into the long loop of 18 ch already made, make 6 loops of 18 ch, then ch 18 to carry you to the next loop of 18, where you make 6 more loops. In this way proceed round the cloth.

2nd Row.—The outside loop of every group of six is caught to the 18 ch, which connects the sets together. (See small detail of outside border). Ch 7 from this point and catch into the next loop, Into this make another loop of 18 ch, 5 ch between the next loop, and another loop of 18 ch. Complete the row in this way with 4 loops of 18 ch to each little scallop.

3rd Row.—The first and the last loop of each scallop are caught together with a d c into each loop, then ch 9, catch back into fourth ch. Ch 5, catch into loop above. Into this same loop make another loop of 18 ch. One more connecting picot ch, another loop of 18 ch, 2 picot ch, then start the next scallop in the same way.

4th Row.—Into each of the 2 loops above make 3 loops of 18 ch each, connect with a between ch of 18.

5th Row.—Into the middle of the 3 loops again make 3 loops of 18 ch. Then ch 12 to connect the third loop to the between ch, and another 12 to carry you to the loop in the centre of the next 3.

6th Row.—A d c into each of the 3 loops, from the middle loop make another loop of 18 ch, then ch 18 and carry to the centre of the between ch. Another 18 ch brings you down to the next group of loops.

Several of the features of this cloth could be employed in other ways. The square insets would make very pretty pin-cushion tops. The insertion round the squares could be used in household linen. The pattern used for the medallions would in itself make a very pretty edge, and looks well worked in two shades of cotton. The outside border to the cloth would be a handsome decoration without any other addition.

For a Fine Cloth, use Barbour's No. 120 Lace Thread. Beautiful Lawn can be obtained from Messrs. Robinson & Cleaver, 42R, Donegal Place, Belfast.

Soutache Braiding on Net.

Soutache braid embroidered on net is much used for trimming costumes, blouses, coats, etc.

The work is easily done and very effective. Net of any kind and in every shade can be used, with the braid to correspond in fineness, and in colour to match or contrast with the material trimmed.

The design is first copied on the usual glazed calico, or stout paper answers very well, then the net is carefully tacked over the pattern, next place the braid over the outline and neatly sew to the net, putting the stitches through the centre of the braid and using a fine thread.

The embroidery is further embellished with a few motifs in crochet worked with thread to match the braid.

In the piece here illustrated a small padded ring is worked over in d c with ivory white silk which matches the colour of the silk braid employed.

When all the outline has been gone over, cut the threads on the back of the paper pattern, and remove the lace, then press with a hot iron on the back to complete it.

If you are doing a long strip for insertion, you will need to cut the threads when one section is finished and go on tacking the net down on to the same piece of pattern till the strip is complete.

The top illustration shows several motifs that could be worked on net and combined with the braiding.

Be very careful in working not to draw the thread too tight.

Good Net can be obtained from Messrs. S. Peach & Co., The Looms, Nottingham.

Embroidery on Net.

Embroidery on net is very popular now for trimming blouses, camisole tops and the finer kinds of lingerie. All grades of net are employed, from the finest Brussels to heavy filet, and the threads used to embroider them match the net in texture. Silk, vegetable silk, or mercerised cotton, white or tinted, are all employed for this class of work. The introduction of the crochet edge has a strengthening effect on the work.

It is usual to use a coarser thread for the outline than for the filling, or the filling thread may be doubled for the purpose.

For summer Casement or Bris bris curtains, this work is exceedingly light and pretty. Here the coarser net is quite as effective as the finer makes, and is much easier to work upon, the large mesh simplifying the counting of the holes.

Be careful not to draw the working thread too tightly, or the net will pucker; even work is to be aimed at.

Crochet edges do much to strengthen the work; but here again care must be taken not to draw the thread too tightly. Single crochet into each mesh is as good a foundation for crochet edge as any: then if desired a deeper edge can be worked on to this. Be careful, however, not to make the crochet edge too deep or too heavy, otherwise it will weight down the net.

Another good finish to curtains is a broad hem, simply run down with the linen thread or mercerised cotton.

Designs for Lacy Woollen Scarfs.

For these scarfs we recommend Baldwin's Beehive Pyrenees Wool, which is as fine a wool as you can obtain, and delightfully soft and charming in appearance.

Cog-wheel Design.

Use a No. 1 steel crochet - hook, making 8 ch, which form into a ring, 5 ch, 2 d c into the ring six times, forming six loops.

2nd Round.—5 ch, 3 d c into each loop.

3rd Round.—5 ch, omit the first 2 d c in preceding loop, I d c into the third d c, 3 d c over the ch stitches.

4th Round.—In this and each succeeding round put 5 ch between the groups of d c, omit first two in each group, I d c into each of the other dc, and 3 d c over the ch. There are eight rounds in each motif, and they are connected by a row of single stitch on the wrong side in two adjoining groups of d c.

In every second row it will be necessary to work exactly half a motif, to fill the spaces at each side. For this, start on the ring centre, putting only three loops into it, then work on these, breaking off the thread at the end of each row after fastening it off neatly, and starting at the beginning again, preserving the pattern of the motif.

Finish the edges with a row of 10 ch loops, fastened with 2 d c, and in the half motif these 2 d c should be worked over the ends of the rows. Into the loops put two 6 ch picots, each fastened with a d c, and put 3 ch between the loops. Continue the 10 ch loops around the ends, and finish with a deep fringe knotted twice.

For the fringe, wind the thread around a piece of stout cardboard six inches deep (or a book of the required size will do), cut the threads along one edge, take eight strands, and putting the ends evenly together, insert the loop through one of the loops in the end of the scarf, run the ends of thread through the loop and draw up the knot. When all the loops are filled in this way, take the four strands of the first group at the right hand side, and the next four of the second group, twist around to form a loop, and insert the ends through this loop, then pull up the knot gradually, until it is about three-quarters of an inch from the first knot; it is pulled tightly here to secure it. Form a second row in the same way, then cut the ends evenly to finish it.

Scroll Design.

In this design two colours are used. It is in the well-known hairpin work for the lighter colour, and ch stitches for the connection and the darker. Use a three - quarter - inch hairpin staple, make a ch stitch with the crochet - hook, catch this with the thumb and middle finger of the left hand in the centre of the staple, having the prongs turned from you. Keep the thread over the fingers as in plain crochet, with the staple between it and the hook, bring the hook with the stitch on it to the centre of the staple, having the thread around the right prong, draw the thread through the stitch, turn the staple round on the hand to the left, thus bringing the thread around the other prong, hook the thread through the stitch on the needle, and make 2 d c on the upper thread of the loop on the left prong, * turn the prong again to the left, hook the thread through the stitch on the needle; 2 d c on next loop, and repeat from *.

Make a long strip, then with the darker thread make a d c in the last loop at one side, * 6 ch, I d c into next loop, repeat the 6 ch into each of next nine loops, I d c into each of next nine loops, 1 d c through the first of these to form a ring, and repeat from *, connecting the second loop to the corresponding loop at the opposite side in the centre.

Repeat this row at the other side, putting the 10 d c into the loops between the rings of first row. When four strips are worked, place two together, and connect with a row of 3 ch from loop to loop at opposite sides. The two top loops over a mitre are connected with a d c, in order to span the space at the other side.

The ends of this scarf may be drawn up to a point, and a cord made of twisted threads of both colours inserted, from which a large tassel may be suspended.

Lattice-work Design.

In this design, also hairpin work, only one colour is used, and the strip is very long, only one being required. Do not break off the thread at the end of the hairpin work until near the end of the last row in the scarf. Insert the hook at the back of each loop to give it a twisted appearance, 1 d c, * 5 ch, I d c into each loop at one side, repeat from * for the length of the scarf. 9 d c into next nine loops, 2 ch, I d c into last ch loop, 2 ch, I d c into next loop in the hairpin work, * 2 ch, I d c into next ch loop at opposite side, 2 ch, I d c into next hairpin loop, and repeat from * to the end, then turn as before with the 10 consecutive d c. There are eight rows connected in this way. The sides are finished with 1 d c, 9 ch, 1 d c into each loop, I ch between the loops.

Finish the ends in the same way, and add a deep fringe as directed in the first design.

To avoid "ladders"—where the wool runs slack at the needle ends—when knitting a stocking, slip the last stitch from each knitting needle on to the next needle, and knit it as the commencement of the new row. If this is always done, the stocking will show uniform knitting throughout, with no trace of "ladders."

Ideas for Handkerchiefs.

The girl who introduces a distinctive note into her per sonal belongings, nowadays, is noted by her friends. We get so used to seeing machine-made goods that are turned out by tens of thousands that it is positively refreshing to see something that is a little off the beaten track.

Now here are some new ideas for girls who like pretty handkerchiefs and yet do not care for those be trimmed with cheap lace and badly-done embroidery that are all too plentiful in the present day. And it is interesting to notice that these trimmings were made from oddments that appeared to be of no further use, though, of course, there can be no objection to new trimmings being made on purpose. The main thing is to see that they are of very fine make.

The ornaments on the handkerchief at the top right hand and the one above are fragments of an old-fashioned collar made of fine tatting. The little motifs were cut out and appliquéd to the linen, which was afterwards cut away from the back. The little " baby" edging was taken from the extreme edge of the collar. The corner just below shows how some odd motifs from another lace collarette were used—one in each corner—to smarten a handkerchief.

This suggests possibilities for tiny designs in very fine crochet or tatting. Or fragments from pieces of real lace that are too small for any other purpose would look very pretty and lacy used on lawn.

Pretty Featherstitchings.

Featherstitching and fancy stitchery of all kinds, in white or coloured threads, is much used now, both for decorating underclothing and further embellishing the trimmings of blouses, collars, cuffs, children's frocks, pinafores, etc. Girls' white muslin or linen "Peter Pan" or "Quaker" collars are very pretty when simply decorated with some of the stitches shown here, worked with a coloured thread to match the dress with which the collar is worn.

For decorating the napery of a "girl's own" bedroom nothing can give such satisfactory results from the little work required as this fancy stitching. Pillows, cushions, toilet covers and mats, and even bedspreads can all be quickly made to match the general scheme of colour of the rest of the furnishings, and mercerised threads can be had in almost every known shade of colour.


Excerpted from Victorian Fancy Stitchery by Flora Klickmann. Copyright © 2003 Dover Publications, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Dover Publications, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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