Friday, March 19, 2010

1950s embroidery designs

This week I came across some guest-grade hand towels, some of which were given to my mum as wedding shower presents - gifts stitched by hand from her friends. Others were stitched by my great-aunt Chris.

I have no idea which came from who, which makes me feel rather protective of them all.

The towels have been well-loved and each has stains or holes or both, but even if I'm not able to repair and repurpose them I love looking at the designs their makers chose, and how they pulled them off.

So many French knots! and those aren't easy.

I also love how satin stitch was used to mark off one petal from another - same stitch, and maybe even the same colour, but by starting from a new point, you create the illusion of a separate piece.

I didn't realize you could use the lazy daisy stitch to make such long petals.

Similarly, I didn't know you could use applique for such a tiny, curvy application as these two swans.

Mostly though I'm just amazed that anybody dried their hands on such perfect works of art.


Kathleen Taylor said...

These pieces are lovely. True heirlooms.

TexNan said...


I saw something recently--on PBS's Cranford--where they used buttermilk to clean old lace. Wonder if that would work on your spots? Sure wouldn't hurt it. (I bought some to try cleaning an old zipper with but wound up using it for my pills instead. A handful of pills goes down a whole lot easier with buttermilk!)

If you have any tea towels not so nostalgic, check out what Centsational Girl did with hers: