Whitework Embroidery dates way back to the 12th Century – Whitework Embroidery has a variety of types. These types emerged from a variety of countries throughout the world; the example of drawn thread work got found in the 9th Century tomb of St. Cuthbert in the 12th Century. A pulled thread style emerged from Germany in the 1700s and pulled thread work developed in the 1200s. Embroidery got so popular in the 15th and 16th Centuries that the act got passed that only noble classes could wear it. Whitework Embroidery was only limited to the Churches and the Royalty before the 1500s.

Any Embroidery technique in which the foundation fabric is of the same color as its stitching can be called Whitework embroidery. It is also implemented in christening gowns, baby bonnets, heirloom sewing for blouses, etc. It has a wide variety of forms – Whitework Embroidery classifies itself into two categories; Open White Embroidery and Close White Embroidery.

The following types incorporate Whitework embroidery:

  • Broderie Anglaise
  • Hardanger Embroidery
  • Drawn thread work
  • Hedebo Embroidery
  • Mountmellick Embroidery
  • Schwalm & Reticella.

Whitework is also referred to as freestyle technique – the two divisions of Whitework Embroidery; open and close – depends on if the threads are cut or not. In Close Embroidery, the threads are formed in such a way that it provides an open effect – some are pulled apart and grouped. Another name for Close Embroidery is “Pulled work.” In Open Whitework Embroidery, the threads get separated from the background fabric, which makes up a lacy and open effect. Open Whitework Embroidery also covers drawn thread work and related cutwork.

You can do some whitework yourself! All you need is some white fabric and a design that uses white thread and you will be good to go. Feel free to check out Falcon’s shop to get any sort of design you want. We would love to hear your thoughts!

Have Fun Sewing & Embroidering!

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