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Idle Hands are the Devil's Workshop: Embroidery

Instruction in useful and ornamental

accomplishments for the work-table

Most of us are used to deciding on a project and running down to our local Joann's or Hobby Lobby or Michaels and finding a pattern and all the supplies we need. For the modern-day living historian and/or reenacter this is not always that easy. Katelyn Heisch and Paula Frederick have put together this blog series to help identify resources needed for keeping our hands busy -- while sitting on the couch watching TV or interacting with guests at our sites.


General Whitework

Whitework is simply the term for white thread worked on white fabric. Often used for underthings and accessories such as undersleeves and collars, children’s clothes, and embroidered edgings. It is seen throughout most time periods portrayed by Texas living historians. Depending on the time period, nearly any ‘traditional’ embroidery stitch is possible. Stem stitch, satin stitch, buttonhole stitch, back stitch would be common nearly at nearly any time frame.

Whitework doesn’t always have to be worked by the person who is wearing it. Whitework and lace making were cottage industries where women would work the embroideries then it would be sold as yardage or by project (one could buy fabric embroidered for a wrapper, for example. Not made up; the purchase