Work done for City and Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Embroidery with Distant Stitch.

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Certificate Module 4 Chapter 6: Drawn Thread Work Stitching. A Start …

This is a traditional technique that I’ve been looking forward to doing.  About a million years ago (1989 actually) I did a little of it for the old City and Guilds Part 1 and I really enjoyed it.
I started by looking through my collection of antique embroidered teacloths etc that I have either inherited from my mother and aunt or have bought from charity shops and antique shops.  Quite a few had some drawn thread work on them.  The one that amazed me most was a small lady’s handkerchief in fine cotton lawn with four rows of drawn thread work around the edge.  I couldn’t believe someone could do that much work for something to blow your nose on!

Here are some examples.  Sorry my phone seems to be going through a pink phase at the moment and has coloured everything a pinkish colour when they are all either white, cream or beige.
4.6.1 My 1989 sample of drawn thread work for the old City and Guilds Part 1

4.6.2 An antique tray cloth with some drawn thread work

4.6.3 The corner of an antique table cloth which has some drawn thread work as well as some other white work techniques

4.6.4 An old ladies’ handkerchief with 4 rows of drawn thread work.  The remaining threads are grouped simply with hem stitch.

4.6.5  A tray cloth I started some years ago.  As you can see I never did manage to finish it as there are still a few inches of the edging to work.

4.6.6  A detail from my tray cloth

My first effort this time was a sampler again, trying to show a variety of ways of stitching on the threads left after some have been withdrawn.

First drawn thread work sample
4.6.7 First drawn thread work sample.  Explanation of techniques below:
a.  Threads withdrawn horizontally.  Remaining threads grouped into threes and secured with hem stitch in a thin thread.  A thicker thread was then used to make a twist pattern with the remaining threads.
b.  Threads withdrawn and grouped as in (a) and then a thicker thread used to group the remaining threads into bundles of four groups and secured with a knotted stitch.
c.  Threads withdrawn and hem stitched as before and then wave stitch worked using ribbon.
d.  Wave stitch using a thick thread.
e.  Bundles of two groups stitched with buttonhole stitch.
f.  A double twist securing four bundles of groups at a time.  Instead of hem stitch between (e) and (f), herringbone stitch in a fine thread was used.
g.  A frayed out strip of fabric was woven between the groups of threads after they had been hem stitched top and bottom.  The frayed out threads were brought to the front and allowed to curl freely.  They were secured with a very flat herringbone stitch catching in the bars at the back.

4.6.8 Second drawn thread work sample (partly completed).  The threads in this sample have been removed both horizontally and vertically, withdrawing four threads and leaving four each time.  Diagonal stitches have been worked on the bars and  cross-overs.  Since I was working on cream evenweave linen and wanted to work in colour, it was not possible to disguise the working threads at the edges of the work and so I thought it best to make a feature of them, along with the withdrawn threads which had been cut in the centre, drawn back to the edge and partly woven in, leaving the end on the surface to form a fringe.  When I finish this sample, I’ll give details in my next post of the techniques used.

I have not yet completed this chapter, but felt the need to post something since I want to keep working and posting in a regular way.  I shall finish this sample and then go on to machine stitching combined with further hand stitching and using tucks and other ideas.


  1. I love your elegant, restrained colour scheme and the samplers are just beautiful, Catherine.

  2. Just a thought about the 'pink phase' - my iPhone was giving me the most appallingly distorted colours and I discovered it was randomly applying filters to the photographs. Maybe worth checking?

    1. Thanks Judith. I did play about with the photo menu when I was trying to take a photo at night without flash. I'll re-set everything to the default settings and see if that helps.