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7/11/2012 1:04:38 PM | by Anonymous


The art of creating decorated stitching is called embroidery and it is done by using a needle and a thread to create designs or patterns on a fabric or a base material. This art form has been around for several hundred years, ever since man learnt how to use a needle and a thread. The evidences from ancient Egypt and China which survived from the 5th-3rd century BC suggest how long ago men discovered this technique to decorate clothing and fabric. Even today, embroidery remains a very popular art form and past time for many. Learning how to embroider can be easy, but mastering the different techniques can take years. The basic stitching techniques from the past such as chain stitch, running stitch or cross stitch still remain the fundamental stitching techniques that are used for hand embroidery today. Machine embroidery has gained much popularity since the industrial revolution making it easier and faster to complete a piece of embroidery. However, there are people who still prefer to preserve the authenticity of embroidery and embroider through traditional technique of using only hands and needles.


Embroidery played a crucial role in many cultures and civilizations of the past, especially the medieval era, which deemed it as a way to show social status and class. Being a sign of high social status in Muslim societies, embroidery in the in Muslim nations of the past became a very popular lifestyle with the riches donning themselves in exotic, trendy fabrics that had unique embroidery. Embroidery started being used on items such as handkerchiefs, uniforms, robes and even shoes. The more wealthy ones invested in embroidery that had been cast with gold or silver to portray their status and class. Not only was it popular in Muslim nations, but Europe too saw embroidery becoming a lifestyle of the riches. These clothing were a sign of wealth and prosperity for many centuries and portrayed the class of the people who donned these fabrics. It was primarily considered a craft for women as they, in their free time would embroider coats, shirts, linens and sweaters. Even Queen Elizabeth I of England indulged and enjoyed this craft, having presented her half-brother with a shirt that she had hand embroidered herself.


For beginners who want to pick up this craft, there are several embroidery methods to choose from, with most having rich cultural histories dating back hundreds and thousands of years. Most people who indulge in this craft adopt either of the two basic concepts: the first being where the embroidery design is prepared beforehand and simply stitched over the base material and the second concept being where the thread is worked through the base material to create a design on it. There is a third method which involves a hole being cut in the base fabric or material and it is stitched with lace or embroidered with thread. Of all these techniques, the technique that involves a design being embroidered on the fabric itself is the easiest for beginners to grasp. The embroidery hoop, which is a simple wooden frame that usually comes in the shape of a circle, is an essential tool beginners could make use of to practice their embroidery skills. The hoop consists of two rings through which the fabric can be slipped and secured tightly to remove any folds in the fabric. This aids the person embroidering with ease to hold the fabric and better judgment of the space available for embroidering. There are larger frames of such that are available in the market as well, that are able to secure and stretch the entire fabric allowing easy access to it instead of single sections of the fabric.


Beginners can go to fabric stores to purchase the necessary items required to adopt embroidery. Easy to pick up, ability to create own designs and a good past-time, embroidery is something not only women can adopt, but also men who want to try something new can take up this enjoyable past-time as well.

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