Saturday, February 14, 2015


"SU" or Suzhou embroidery became prominent in China during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) it's origins go back more than 2000 years. It is one of the oldest embroidery techniques in the world.

It is a style characterized by it's beautiful hand dyed silk threads and detailed needlework, intricate designs that were said to have " rivaled nature".

There were many styles of embroidery in China but Su embroidery set the standard for all styles.

Su embroidery is so realistic it looks like a photo. Some of the art work takes years to complete.

The masters of this technique have been training students for hundreds of years. At this point in time it has become a thriving industry, you can now purchase these beautiful works of art online.

Su embroidery is done on a piece of silk fabric and embroidered with the finest hand dyed silk thread. The thread is dyed so artfully and has wonderful color variations. 

Some of the threads are pulled apart into the thinnest filaments, so much so they are almost invisible. The threads a built up in layers this is what gives it such depth and realism.

Almost anything can be captured in stitches with this most intricate and detailed technique and the piece becomes a work of art.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015


In ancient times when embroidery was at it's most extravagant and beautiful, some nobles went over the top so to speak in their taste for showy clothes.

Some of these nobles took advantage of public ceremonies to uphold luxurious displays and at times carried out to amazing excess.
Nobles at court showed their wealth by the display of embroidery and jewels attached to their clothes.

Louis the XIII, in 1629 issued an edict bearing the title  "Regulation of the Superfluity in Clothes. " The law stated there was a limit to the expenditure
of money on clothes.

Article 133 goes like this -

"We forbid men and women to wear in any way whatsoever embroidery on cloth or flax, imitations of embroidery, of bordering made up with cloth and thread, and of cutwork for rebatos, capes, sleeves, done upon quintain and other linens, laces, passamaynes, and other threadwork made with bobbins.

And we forbid the use of all other ornaments upon capes, sleeves, anf other linen garments, save trimmings, cutwork, and laces  manufactured in this counrty which do not exceed at most the price of three pounds the ell, that is , for the band and it's trimings together, without evasion.

"Upon pain of confiscation of the  aforesaid capes, chainwork, collars, hats, and mantles which may be found upon the offending person; as well as coaches and horses which may be found similarly bedecked."

The enforcement of this edict was not really carried out, in fact how much was too much?

The gold thread embroidery was magnificent in it's execution, thread work at this time was at it height in my opinion.

We are so lucky to have these examples of such wonders from the past in our museums.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015


When I first saw this stunning dress, no, a work of art , I was in awe. This work of art was made in 1904 one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Will we ever see this museum quality ever again?

The fluidity of the design and attention to detail is most wonderful. 
 What an experience it would have been to step into a dress such as this. The lace is exquisite and the embroidery looks to have been hand done.

In my wildest dreams I wish I could go back in time a be a Gibson girl. The styles were so feminine and charming. C'est la vie

Friday, January 9, 2015


The most popular type of thread in my view is rayon. It comes in a few weights like 40 and 60 .I use #40 for most things , it has a lovely shine to it that gives your sewing lots of depth. Rayon can with stand lots of washing and still looks great, it looks delicate and feels delicate but its very hard working.

The selection of colors is enormous, you can get swept away. I have to stop myself sometime. I want every color, its like paint you can mix them together much like paint and create the most amazing things with thread.

Embroidery in my opinion is one of the longest used art forms since antiquity. But in the last few decades it has jump off the charts in its popularity.

Ever thing including your under wear can be embroidered. With the diversity of items that can be embroidered there is no shortage of work.

Blue and purple shawl

A shawl I made of wool with Celtic designs all over and initials on the bottom edge. I used rayon thread throughout. With out a doubt I would use rayon for most of my ever day work.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015


Pictures say a thousand words and I could try to explain how this jacket came about, but you can  see its a one of a kind.

When I first sent for this jacket from Macy's department store about 20 or so years ago they sent me the wrong jacket, it had an eagle on the back and a bunch of studs randomly placed around the jacket. I loved it, I wore it everywhere it was my favorite. But you know times change ,
I wanted to update my beloved jacket. I knew I had some great tapastry fabric and thought it might do the trick. Well to my surprise and delight I had more fabric then I realized. After cutting and placing the appliques in places I liked I used free motion embroidery in a satin type stitch around the appliques. I was very pleased with the effect. So in finishing I sill love this jacket and wear it whenever I can.

Sunday, January 4, 2015


This lovely forest green velvet box is embroidered with leaves sewn with polyester thread and the little berries are done in rayon and the whole is
outlined in gold metallic thread. A friend gave it to me one Christmas I loved it. It was filled with the most wonderful chocolate as divine as the box itself. I will cherish it always even though the chocolate is gone.

Saturday, January 3, 2015


The most important aspect of embroidery of course is the thread. And there is lots of this to choose from, but by far the most beautiful is silk thread. In the type of embroidery I do, I don't use much silk but if I am doing a specialty item or a form of art, such as free motion embroidery and hand embroidery I would most definitely use silk in some parts of the design if not all.                       This is a doll I made in Japanese style all hand embroidered by me in silk thread ,she turned out quite nice. This is a doll built up on a wire frame and covered in fabric she stands about 15 inches tall. She came about long before I became involved in the embroidery business.