The holiday season is around the corner, and while designers are offering plenty of fabulous festive looks in their holiday/resort collections, here at UOF, we want to teach you how to embroider, embellish and bead your own pieces. It’s no surprise that the art of embroidery is taking the fashion industry by storm. With COVID-19 lockdowns worldwide, many fashion creatives looked to crafty techniques to help pass the time and to revitalize and customize their wardrobes.
Of course, in the world of fashion insiders, customized clothing is widely embraced by celebrities, street-style stars, and influencers. And nothing shouts personalization more than peacocking embroidered and embellished items.
While embroidery dates back to 30,000 B.C., the intricate technique has become popular again and proves to be a mainstay in fashion settings. Embroidery is the craft of decorating textiles using a needle to apply thread or yarn. The word embroidery is derived from the French word broderie, meaning embellishment. In a variety of forms, embroidery has existed since the creation of fabric. The technique is practiced around the globe, but its origin stems from China and the Near East. The earliest embroidery can actually be traced back to Cro-Magnon days or 30,000 B.C. Archeological finds from this time period uncoveref fossilized remains of heavily hand-stitched and decorated apparel.
According to the encyclopedia source britannica.com, further examples of embroidery are found in China dating to the Warring States period between 5th and 3rd century B.C. In Sweden, the earliest finds of embroidery are from a period known as the Viking Age, around the 9th and 10th centuries. Around the year 1000, the technique of embroidery began to rise in Europe with the expansion of the Christian church and royalty gaining power. Richly decorated garments and ornaments in the form of wall hangings and tablecloths were commissioned to display power and wealth.
Embroidery was also important in the Medieval Islamic world because it was a symbol of high social status in Muslim societies. In cities such as Damascus, Istanbul, and Cairo, embroidery could be found on items such as handkerchiefs, flags, uniforms, robes, horse trappings, pouches, and covers.
However, by the 18th century England and its colonies, embroidery became a skill marking a girl’s passage into womanhood, as well as expressing rank and social standing. Soon after, however, the advancement of the embroidery machine and mass production came about in stages during the Industrial Revolution. The earliest machine embroidery, discovered in France in the mid-1800s, utilized a combination of machine looms and hand embroidery.
By the early 1900s, mail order catalogs and pattern papers helped embroidery become more widespread. The intricate craft was no longer just a hobby of the upper class, as it could now be done on less expensive fabrics.
Present-day embroidery looks quite different from the delicate needlework of the past. Most contemporary embroidery is stitched with a computerized embroidery machine using patterns that are “digitized” with computer software. While the style and technique of modern embroidery may be different from its earliest roots, the main purpose of embroidery remains the same. Embroidery was, and will always be, a fashionable way for people to adorn their homes and themselves. We’re here to tell you that you can learn it at UoF. So…get into your closet, find an item that you think would benefit from an embellishment then crank up your computer and let us teach you how to bead and embroider. Upcycle, recycle and turn that garment into WOW!
Here are a few pieces to inspire you:
GLITZ UP YOUR FAVORITE DENIM JACKET
ADD FRINGE TO THAT LITTLE BLACK DRESS
EMBROIDER A SIMPLE PANT
EMBELLISH A KNIT SWEATER
ADD APPLIQUÉ TO A SIMPLE SHEATH
EMBROIDER A SHAWL
BEAD & APPLIQUÉ YOUR FAVORITE SKIRT
Check out our lesson previews to learn how to add embellishments of all types:
SILK RIBBON EMBROIDERY
BEADING NEEDLE EMBROIDERY
INTRO TO HAND EMBROIDERY