Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Little Bit of Richelieu

Richelieu work or Cutwork is lace made by using a button hole stitch around fabric shapes.  The shapes are then cut out of the fabric and woven bars stabilize the fabric left.  Most of the cutwork I have seen was poorly made and used poor quality materials.  I mean no disrespect to the lacemakers.  They often work under poor condition, are under paid and have to supply their own materials.  But with time and quality fabric and thread there is no reason that it can't be beautiful.

Closeup of motif from a 19th century panel.

This morning I got up and wanted to try some Richelieu work.  Several years ago I bought a book on lace making called "The Art of Lacemaking" by Ann Collier.  The book includes a pattern for Richeliu and instructions. So today I prepared a finely woven cotton fabric and copied the pattern to it.  According to the instructions the first step is to embroider running stitches in between the pattern lines.  It doesn't say why but I believe it is to help stabilize the edges of the fabric.  Then as you stitch you run 3 or 4 long stitches when the pattern shows a connecting line.  At first I ran the stitches leaving working threads on both sides of the fabric.  But that would leave unworked threads hanging off the back of the fabric.  So I stitched a long stitch on the front and then brought the thread up beside the long stitch.  That way only small stitches would be on the back and they will be covered with buttonhole stitch later.  It will be a bit of work but it will also be lovely.

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