For articles appertaining to dress, white embroidery is especially suitable. Most beautiful pieces of dress decoration in white work are to be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum. The detail from a muslin collar shown on Plate No. 49 will give the reader some idea of the scope of treatment in this branch of work. The little piercings are immensely valuable in lightening the effect; and the varying tones suggested by the method of stitching give great interest and delicacy. Parts are slightly padded, and the flat tone, in the banded form which connects the groups, is obtained by the use of French knots, placed close together.
In a half-hearted way white embroidery has always been brought into service for marking linen. Occasionally one sees a nicely worked monogram on the corner of a pocket handkerchief, but generally the lettering is poor in form. There is a great field open for good lettering, not only in white work, but in all branches of embroidery. For white work the ordinary stitches are employed. Much of it is executed in the hand, and the material to be marked is often tacked on American cloth, or toile ciree, during the process of working. A tambour frame is sometimes utilised for the purpose. From Persia we get some geometrical designs worked in white on a white ground of cambric. This kind of work at the present day is often effectively used to decorate the edges and network visieres of ladies' veils. In most cases there is no reverse side to the work; both sides are exactly the same.* It is said that the embroidery of this kind is executed by two persons, one on either side of the material working simultaneously with one needle.
* In Exodus we read that Aholiab, the chief embroiderer, is specially appointed to assist in the decoration of the tabernacle. In celebrating the triumph of Sisera, his mother is made to say that he has a " prey of divers colours of needlework on both sides," evidently meaning that the stuff was wrought on both sides alike, a style of embroidery exhibiting a degree of patience and skill only practised by the nations of the East.
The use of crewels is rather scoffed at, for the simple reason there are not many people at the present time who can handle them properly; for furniture coverings and curtains they could be used with greater advantage. The use of a poorer material on a richer one appears to be wrong. We do not feel inclined to use wools on silk, but do not hesitate to use silks on linen. Let us never forget that we are enriching a material when we embroider.