Handbook of Embroidery

1880, by L. Higgin, edited by Lady Marian Alford






Let Others Know about Us!
Handbook of Embroidery by L. Higgin
Handbook of Embroidery
Visit Our other online vintage needlework books:

Beeton's Book of Needlework, by Isabella Beeton
Encyclopedia of Needlework, by Therese de Dillmont
Exercises in Knitting, by Cornelia Mee
Quilts Their Story, by Marie Webster




Embroidery Gold Thread


Japanese gold thread,” which has the advantage of never tarnishing, is now extremely difficult to obtain. Being made of gilt paper twisted round cotton thread, it cannot be drawn through the material by the needle; but must in all cases be laid on, and stitched down with a fine yellow silk, known as “Maltese,” or “Horse-tail.”

Chinese gold” is manufactured in the same manner as the Japanese; but being of a much redder colour is not so satisfactory in embroidery unless a warm shade is desirable for a particular work.

Gold and silver passing, a very fine kind of thread, can either be used for working through the material, or can be laid on like the Japanese gold. They are suitable for “raised gold or silver embroidery.”

Bullion, or Purl, is gold or silver wire made in a series of continuous rings, like a corkscrew. It is used in ecclesiastical work, for embroidering official and military uniforms, and for heraldic designs. It should be cut into the required lengths—threaded on the needle [Pg 9] and fastened down as in bead-work. Purl is sometimes manufactured with a coloured silk twisted round the metal though not concealing it, and giving rich tints to the work.

Spangles were anciently much used in embroidery, and were sometimes of pure gold. They are but little used now.

Plate consists of narrow plates of gold or silver stitched on to the embroidery by threads of silk, which pass over them.

The French and English gold thread is made of thin plates of metal cut into strips, and wound round strands of cotton in the same manner as the Japanese gold. If the metal is real, the cost is of course great. It is sold by weight, gold being about 20s. per oz., and silver, 10s. per oz. In addition to its superiority in wear, it has this advantage, that old gold or silver thread is always of intrinsic value, and may be sold at the current price of the metal whatever state it may be in. Many varieties of gilt thread are manufactured in France and England, which may be used when the great expense of “real gold” is objected to. But although it looks equally well at first, it soon becomes tarnished, and spoils the effect of the embroidery. Gold and silver threads are difficult to work with in England, and especially in London, as damp and coal-smoke tarnish them almost before the work is out of the frame. Mrs. Dolby recommends cloves being placed in the papers in which they are kept.