Review: Encyclopedia of Needlework, Therese de Dillmont

This book is old school. It’s an excellent and fascinating overview of needlework, first published in 1884. I originally found it in a Half Price Books store, but it’s also available  free on the internet (copyright expired) from the Gutenberg Project Encyclopedia of Needlework or at Encyclopedia of Needlework although this seems to not quite match the Complete Encyclopedia of Needlework print edition I have (I can’t find the individual monogram’s section). It covers an amazing amount of ground – it covers a huge number of techniques, and there are example patterns of embroidery from all over the world. My hardcopy clocks in at just under 800 pages. The author, Therese de Dillmont, was a true artist and chose a lot of very nice patterns. The diagrams and explanations are really clear.

My current favorite section is the drawn thread section (Single and Cut Open Work). Here’s one of the diagrams from the book (there are several diagrams leading up to this, so it’s quite clear how easy it is to do this yourself):

Three rows of a drawn thread border

I plan to try incorporating this into my work sometime soon.

I enjoyed the monograms section too – quite a few very original ideas on filling letters, and some interesting details: Therese de Dillmont provides separate patterns for the nobleman’s coronet, the Baron’s coronet, the Count’s coronet, and a royal crown, to be included with monograms.

baron and royal crowns

Finally, this is an entertaining read due to the old-fashioned language. Preface: “The absolute want of any comprehensive book on needlework—such an one as contains both verbal and pictorial descriptions of everything included under the name of needlework—has led me to put into the serviceable form of an Encyclopedia, all the knowledge and experience, which years of unceasing study and practice have enabled me to accumulate on the subject, with the hope that diligent female workers of all ages, may be able, by its means to instruct themselves in every branch of plain and fancy needlework.”

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2 Responses to Review: Encyclopedia of Needlework, Therese de Dillmont

  1. Rachel says:

    Well, you have to say for Mme de Dillmont that she’s precise about what she says!

    I suspect she bases her stitchings for the different crowns and coronets on the way they are represented in heraldry.

  2. Pingback: Enciclopedia de las Señoras | enbrouderie

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