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A Brief History of Embroidery

A Brief History of Embroidery

“Embroidery is the handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins. Embroidery is most often used on caps, hats, coats, blankets, dress shirts, denim, stockings, and golf shirts. Embroidery is available with a wide variety of thread or yarn color.”

Wikipedia –

Archeologists, who are passionate about history together with their desire to learn and understand how people worked and lived through time, have found endless garments as well as artifacts from all over the world, which have all showed early remnants of embroidery which can be dated as far back as the 5th century BC.

These garments or objects were embroidered by hand, the work often very intricate and time consuming therefore signaling the wealth of a particular person or the hierarchy of the family within the local community.

A recent archeological dig found a roman lady buried at Spitalfields, London. Her burial garment was found to have fine threads of gold embroidered in to it. This type of embroidery was only found in certain countries of the Middle East who were producing this technique at this time. This type of gold weaving shows how important this lady once was and also how expensive it must have been to buy at the time.

Through the Norman to medieval ages people started to embroider not just on to garments but on to day to day items for example, curtains, linen and even on to one of the most famous tapestries in the world the ‘Bayeux Tapestry’ (which depicts The Battle of Hastings 1066) which has actually been embroidered on to and not woven as a lot seem to think.

By the turn of the 19th century and well in to the industrial revolution, a Frenchman Jose Heilmann invented the worlds first hand embroidery machine.

Developments in technology led to the Schiffli machine invented by Isaac Groebli. Then in 1911 the Singer Sewing Company produced the first home sewing machine.

The dawn of the computer age transformed embroidery further, advancements in technology helped Mr Wilcom produce the first computerised embroidery machine in the 1980s, which meant that embroidery can be completed in a fraction of the time if you did it by hand. Therefore because it reduced costs embroidery was more widely available and more importantly now affordable for all.

Since then machines have become bigger, quicker and specific computer software means that any design can be digitized then embroidered. For example; you now see companies with their logo embroidered on to their work wear, sports teams have their emblem embroidered on to their kit and special occasions are celebrated with one off designs on to all sorts of different materials.

With over 20 years experience Chesterfield Embroidery are here to help.


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