Embroidery is the art or handicraft of making or decorating a design on a piece of fabric or other similar supplies with ornamental needlework. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins. Modern-day, computerized machines have made embroidery a lot more intricate and complex. With these substantial-tech machines, you can choose your personal design and add lettering or dates to an occasion.


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  1. Embroidery
  2. History of Embroidery

Embroidery

multi head embroidery

Embroidery is the art or 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.

Types of embroidery include every sort of ornamental work done with a sewing needle of any kind. Embroidery may be done on any number of fabrics from satin to canvas. Embroiderers, know for their resourcefulness, experiment and learn from others which kind of stitch and thread works best and proceed to produce wonderful works of art, many times mixing types of embroidery.

Often embroidery types were named after the predominate stitch that was used, such as cross-stitch. Others were named after the place they were first introduced, such as Berlin Wool Work or Mountmellick embroidery. What can make finding a "type" of embroidery confusing is that many times there are more than one name for a particular kind of embroidery. For example, pulled thread, drawn thread and Hardanger are often classified as the same embroidery style.

Embroidery techniques can produce a wide range of effects. Some produce a flat surface while others produce a relief effect. Almost any effect wanted can be produced in embroidery - from simple line to fancy stitches with beads, baubles and anything else attached. Embroidery is definitely one of the most versatile crafts ever created.

Embroidery machines for home sewing may feature built-in designs, a slot for an embroidery card, or even a built-in disk drive through which embroidery designs can be uploaded.

Commercial embroidery machines feature multiple needles, stitch a wider variety of fabrics and designs, and stitch multiple colors without stopping to change the thread colors.



History of Embroidery

Embroider with a trapeze-type embroidery rod. Byzantium around 450 b.c.

Embroider with a trapeze-type embroidery rod. Byzantium around 450 b.c. According to mythology embroidery was invented by the goddess Minerva.


Antique Chinese embroidery, excavated from the Ming Emperor Tomb

Antique Chinese embroidery, excavated from the Ming Emperor Tomb

The History of Embroidery dates back some 3000 years ago. It started with Ancient Egypt, Babylonians, Phoenicians and the Hebrews, who used it for decorating their robes. The Moors also decorated much of their clothing with embroidery. They had a style of their own which spread to other countries like Spain and Sicily. Moorish embroidery greatly influenced many European countries.

Embroidery in the Middle Ages was very prolific. Rich traders and merchants were willing to pay a large sum of money for the luxury of embroidered clothing. It wasn’t until the Renaissance Period that new applications for embroidery came about such as tapestries, laces, curtains, and bed covers.

In America, the first commercial embroidery manufacturing establishment was started in 1848 in New York by Jacob Schiess. He came from Switzerland and within a year had his own embroidery plant in operation. All the stitching was done by hand by fifteen woman stitching exquisite designs by hand.

The development of machine embroidery did not take place until the 1800’s. Joshua Heilmann from Mulhouse worked on the design of a hand embroidery machine. Though he did not sell many, it revolutionized the embroidery industry. Heilmann’s invention was quickly followed by the "shuttle embroidery" and the "chain stitch embroidery" methods.

The beginnings of shuttle embroidery dates back to the 1860’s when Isaac Groebli, from St. Gallen, Switzerland, was inspired by the work produced on the sewing machine.

Around the 1870’s there were fourteen companies manufacturing embroidery machines in Switzerland manufacturing hand loom embroidery machines.

In 1873, Alphonse Kursheedt imported twelve of the then new embroidery hand looms from St. Gallen, making him the first American to use a mechanized embroidery process. The looms used multiple needles and were an unbelievable improvement over the age-old process of stitching by hand. They were, however, powered manually.

Immediately afterwards, Issac Groebli of Switzerland invented the first practical Schiffli Embroidery machine. This machine was based on the principals introduced by the newly invented sewing machine. Groebli’s machine utilized the combination of a continuously threaded needle and shuttle containing a bobbin of thread. The shuttle itself looked similar to the hull of a sailboat. His machine came to be known as a schiffli machine. "Schiffli" in the Swiss dialect of the German language , means "little boat".

In 1876, Kursheedt also imported a number of schiffli machines, thereby making him the real founder of the schiffli embroidery industry in the United States.

Dr. Robert Reiner, founder of Robert Reiner, Inc., of Weehawken, came to this country in 1903 in his early twenties. Realizing the potential of the embroidery industry, he persuaded the Vogtlandishe Machine Works of Plauen, Germany, to appoint him it’s American Agent. Then began the mass importation of embroidery machines into northern New Jersey’s Hudson County. The banks arranged long term credit to purchasers. Dr. Reiner made it possible for hundreds of Austrian, German, and Swiss immigrants in New Jersey to become manufacturers of embroidery.

The industry grew until 1938, when suddenly the two sources for the manufacture of machines in Plauen, Germany, and Arbon, Switzerland, ceased operation because of World War 2. No additional machines were produced until 1953, when Robert Reiner Inc. introduced the first American made schiffli machine.