Embroidery is the art of decorating fabric or other materials by stitching designs using thread or yarn and a needle. Often, other materials such as metal strips, precious and semi-precious stones, and sequins are used to add to this decorative stitching technique.
Hand embroidery involves stitching embroidery designs by hand onto the fabric. This process is time-consuming and painstaking, but produces amazing results. History of Embroidery The use of embroidery to decorate clothes has been around since man began to wear clothes. A method of decorating and embellishing clothing, embroidered designs came about as a result of hard work and care. Embroidery as an art form has origins that can be traced far back to the Iron Age.
This journey began when primitive man discovered that he could use thread to join pieces of fur to make clothes. As a natural progression, he also discovered that the same thread could be used to make decorative patterns on the clothes. He also used colorful beads, stones and bones to add to these decorations.
Several excellent examples of beautiful embroidery work are still surviving till date. Samples can be found from Ancient Egypt, China, Persia, India and England. Each country has its own distinctive style of embroidery, which incorporates the culture and imagery from their history and tradition.
Embroidered clothing was also considered to be a symbol of wealth. Many scenes from history are often found embroidered onto fabric - a wonderful example is the Bayeux Tapestry. This is 231 feet long and portrays the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
Industrial Revolution and Embroidery
The discovery of the shuttle embroidery revolutionized the embroidery industry. In the 1800s, Joshua Heilmann worked on improving the design of a hand embroidery machine. This revolutionized the embroidery industry and began a chain of events leading to the development of sewing machines in the 1860s to the invention of hand powered embroidery looms in the 1870s.
Today, machine embroidery has grown by leaps and bounds. Computers have added another twist into this sewing technique making the process easier for mass production of embroidered designs. Nowadays, machines are available in the market which can embroider designs for you. Specially designed machines can even read a computerized design and stitch it for you.
Embroidery as an art form has enhanced our civilization, making it more aware of the beauty that can be created with a needle and a thread. Intricate designs and brilliantly colored patterns have infused a beauty of their own onto fabrics, adding to their value and worth.