Handkerchief Art: Drawnwork

Picture this:  A woman in the mid-to-late 1800s, dressed in a high-collared, long-sleeved black, satin, full-length dress sitting at her embroidery stand patiently counting threads and painstakingly designing an elaborate handkerchief, like the one here:

SANY0067SANY0071 SANY0068

This outstanding example of handkerchief drawnwork may have taken MONTHS to complete! BREATHTAKING! Isn’t it? This handkerchief is from my collection and it is approximately 120 years old.

One of the pioneers of this type of handkerchief artistry was a woman by the name of Thérèse de Dillmont, 1846 – 1890. She was an Austrian needleworker and writer. She was raised and educated in Vienna and later, moved to France to begin a working relationship with DMC, a thread and embroidery floss company.

One of her greatest successes was the publication of Encyclopedia of Needlework in the late 1800s. The book was translated into numerous languages and distributed to dozens of countries. Below is a excerpt from her book on drawnwork:

‘The above heading comprises every sort of needle-work, to which the drawing out of threads is a preliminary. By sewing over the single threads that remain, and drawing them together in different ways, an infinite variety of patterns can be produced. Many pretty combinations also, can be made of open-work, cross-stitch, and other kinds of embroidery.

Materials suitable for open-work.—For all the coarser stuffs, such as Holbein-linen, Java and linen-canvas and the like, now in such favour for the imitation of old needlework, it will be best to use: Fil à pointer D.M.C, No. 30 and Cordonnet 6 fils D.M.C, Nos. 10 to 20, and for the finer stuffs, such as antique-linen and linen-gauze.

drawnworkTD

Single three-rowed open-work—This, and the following patterns, are suitable for the headings of hems, and for connecting stripes of embroidery, and are also often used instead of lace, and lace insertion.

drawnTD

Open-work insertion with spiders —The edges are to be herring-boned. In the middle, the so-called spiders are made, over every group of four clusters. The thread that runs out from the spider, passes over two clusters and under one, and then three or four times, over and under the clusters, as in darning, and so back, under the spider, at the place at which it was drawn in, and then on, to the next four strands of thread.’

And there you have it, a little information about how this lovely form of handkerchief art is accomplished.

If you would like to see other drawnwork handkerchiefs, please feel free to visit me at my shop on Etsy, All Vintage Hankies.

Until next time, friends.

Have an elegant day. xo

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Exquisite Antique Handkerchiefs

I have a passion for antique handkerchiefs. I think they are exquisite. Period. I can’t think of another word to describe them.

For example, the three photos below show a linen handkerchief with drawn work and embroidery work. The number of hours that had to go into making this piece, by hand, is unfathomable in today’s world. Take a look at the intricacy of the stitches.

Antique Handkerchief c.1800s from AllVintageHankies.etsy.com

Antique Handkerchief c.1800s from AllVintageHankies.etsy.com

Antique Handkerchief c.1800s from AllVintageHankies.etsy.com

Antique Handkerchief c.1800s from AllVintageHankies.etsy.com

Antique Handkerchief c.1800s from AllVintageHankies.etsy.com

Antique Handkerchief c.1800s from AllVintageHankies.etsy.com

Breathtaking!

I just came up with another word to describe exquisite antique handkerchiefs.

Imagine the woman who created this magnificent piece of art. I envision her during the Victorian or Edwardian era, sitting in a velvet chair near a window for good lighting. Her hair is fashioned into the Victorian curled upsweep. She’s wearing a silk moire gown. Before her is her standing embroidery hoop with this swatch of linen fabric sinched between the wooden hoops. With needle in hand, she pierces the fabric and begins to weave her magic. The result is the fabulous vision above.

I hope I can find some fellow handkerchief enthusiasts who share my passion.

If you love antique and vintage handkerchiefs, take a stroll through my independent shop in Etsy, AllVintageHankies.etsy.com, for a look at some marvelous examples of handkerchiefs from the 1800s through the 1960s and 70s.

History: Antique & Vintage Hankies

A lady NEVER left home without a handkerchief in her handbag ~ that was back in the 1940s and 50s when women would dress in hats, gloves, silk stockings AND high heels just to “go to town!”  We’ve come a long way, baby ~ but, remnants of simpler times remain, case in point, the vintage handkerchief.

Vintage print handkerchief from AllVintageHankies.etsy.com

Vintage print handkerchief from AllVintageHankies.etsy.com

Gorgeous floral print handkerchiefs, in both soft pastels and vibrant colors, were carried by every lady. They were lovingly cared for by their owners and have managed to escape being tossed away, enabling us to enjoy them today. Thank goodness!

The history of the handkerchief is fascinating ~ and we’ll delve a little into it in my next post. We’re going to travel back to the 17th century for some tremendous facts about antique hankies.

I enjoy ALL handkerchiefs, even the ones with age-worn spots and even the tattered lace hankies, but I especially LOVE hankerchiefs made solely by hand from the 18th century.

Antique Applique Handkerchief from AllVintageHankies.etsy.com

Antique Applique Handkerchief from AllVintageHankies.etsy.com

In the example above, the amount of painstaking work that went into making one of these is astounding. Each tiny square was made by forcing the linen fibers apart with a sewing needle, also known as cutwork. The flower and leaf design is the applique work. Small swatches of cloth were cut and then “laid over” the linen handkerchief and stitched into place with hundreds of tiny stitches. The hem was rolled by hand, and again, hundreds of minute stitches hold the hem in place.

We’ll also be taking a look at numerous antique handkerchiefs from my private collection. I purchased them from a museum which was decommissioning an exhibit depicting a woman’s life from the 17th to the 18th centuries. Stay tuned for this one if you love antique handkerchiefs.

AllVintageHankies.etsy.com is an independent shop on Etsy featuring hundreds of antique and vintage handkerchiefs.

Vintage Handkerchiefs & Antique Hankerchiefs

A lady NEVER left home without a handkerchief in her handbag ~ that was back in the 1940s and 50s when women would dress in hats, gloves, silk stockings AND high heels just to “go to town!”  We’ve come a long way, baby ~ but, remnants of simpler times remain, case in point, the vintage handkerchief.

Vintage print handkerchief from AllVintageHankies.etsy.com

Vintage print handkerchief from AllVintageHankies.etsy.com

Gorgeous floral print handkerchiefs, in both soft pastels and vibrant colors, were carried by every lady. They were lovingly cared for by their owners and have managed to escape being tossed away, enabling us to enjoy them today. Thank goodness!

The history of the handkerchief is fascinating ~ and we’ll delve a little into it in my next post. We’re going to travel back to the 17th century for some tremendous facts about antique hankies.

I enjoy ALL handkerchiefs, even the ones with age-worn spots and even the tattered lace hankies, but I especially LOVE hankerchiefs made solely by hand from the 18th century.

Antique Applique Handkerchief from AllVintageHankies.etsy.com

Antique Applique Handkerchief from AllVintageHankies.etsy.com

In the example above, the amount of painstaking work that went into making one of these is astounding. Each tiny square was made by forcing the linen fibers apart with a sewing needle, also known as cutwork. The flower and leaf design is the applique work. Small swatches of cloth were cut and then “laid over” the linen handkerchief and stitched into place with hundreds of tiny stitches. The hem was rolled by hand, and again, hundreds of minute stitches hold the hem in place.

We’ll also be taking a look at numerous antique handkerchiefs from my private collection. I purchased them from a museum which was decommissioning an exhibit depicting a woman’s life from the 17th to the 18th centuries. Stay tuned for this one if you love antique handkerchiefs.

AllVintageHankies.etsy.com is an independent shop on Etsy featuring hundreds of antique and vintage handkerchiefs.