(See Coloured Frontispiece and Transfer presented with this Part)
Since the palmy days of the sampler, or sam cloth, the art of marking household and personal linen has suffered eclipse. All fine linen is still marked with the embroidery needle, and the beauty of the lettering, together with the fantastic variety of the monogram, have not waned; but the homely marking with serviceable cross-stitch on our everyday garments, or on the stout everyday house linen, is practically a thing of the past. More or less successful indelible inks have come, and scientific explanations tell us that, if properly used, they never burn holes nor do these ink-letters wash out.
Cambric stretched on a drum frame seven inches in diameter in order to embroider initials
Marking: by Deputy
It is quite a usual practice to commission the firm from whom we order a dozen school shirts and Eton collars for our boy to mark them with his full name and school number before they are sent home. Thus the trouble of the marking process is reduced to a minimum, and a single sentence written with the order takes the place of many hours of fine needlework in minute red cross-stitch, with much counting of threads and con-suiting the sampler. This would have been the process 150 years ago, or a long morning would have been spent with the sporting chances of the marking-ink bottle, with or without hot irons or a possible scorching mischance in front of the nursery fire.
A pillow sham in hemstitched linen and monogram F.n.j, made with our transfer letters
Two Essentials in Letter Designing
There are two essentials in letter designing - the first, legibility; the second, artistic beauty. That it is possible to combine these two qualities is very clearly demonstrated by the alphabets in our transfer pattern given away with this part of Every Woman's Encyclopaedia.
The large letters lend themselves to varied treatment. As seen in the nightdress case pattern, they may appear in their simplest form, well padded with soft embroidery cotton, and worked over from each outside line straight across, no notice being taken of the inside lines and pearls. The flower, also padded and worked in satin stitch, will make an agreeable break in the thick main lines, and the foliated edge will also be found to be very helpful in relieving this thick and handsome method of working.
Again, a more ornate method will be found not too difficult for the tyro in letter embroidery, because of the extremely plain and easy lines in the transfer. The edge should be slightly padded and afterwards worked in satin-stitch, the inside line indicating the width for this stitch. The small enclosed pearls in the main lines should also be in satin-stitch, and be very clear and round.
It is hardly necessary to remark that such embroidery as this should always be done in a frame. The small round ones of bent wood, with tiny metal clip, are the most useful. They are light, easy to hold, and by clipping in the material to be worked upon put no undue strain on fine fabric at a given point. When using the old-fashioned frame, where the linen or cambric had to be sewn on to stout webbing, there was always danger lest the material should tear or holes be made with the straining threads, however carefully done. The further drawback of the size and clumsiness of the frame was also obvious; the small bentwood frame can be carried about and used anywhere.
Though coloured cottons are not so popular as white, there is still a good deal of marking done in red, blue, or more delicate tinted ingrain and washing threads. Some women adopt a distinctive colour, such as pale blue, heliotrope, or faintest tinted green, and have their name or initials embroidered always in that tint, using lingerie ribbons of the same colour for threading laces and embroideries on their underlinen. Such fancies are very dainty, but do not appeal to the multitude.
There is an altogether desirable embodiment of the letter beautiful which we have not yet mentioned - the needlework a jour, for which our handsome large alphabet is eminently suited. The openwork letter is usually attempted only by the experiencec worker, and may be done in various ways, by stiletto holes oversewn, within the compass of the satin-stitch outline, or by cutting out the centre line between the embroiderec outline and working a filling of lace-stitch. The pattern of such a lace-stitch can be left to the imagination of the worker, but some simple variety of the ever-useful buttonhole stitch will be found most successful, as the space to be filled is comparatively small.
Huckaback towel with crochet lace insertion and initials F.b.h. in our transfer embroidered letters
A dainty work-bag in embroidered linen, with initial letter that harmonises perfectly with the design worked thereon
With regard to our small alphabet, padding and satin-stitch will be found most successful, and the choice worker will here see an opportunity for framing in some simple manner. Even a line drawn round with a penny as guide, if the letter is well set in the centre, greatly enhances the beauty of the marking if another line is drawn outside the penny one-eighth of an inch larger. Both these lines are padded and oversewn in fine cotton, and tiny French knots are placed between the two lines, or a single row of pearls, one-eighth of an inch space being left between each pearl or placed close together as pearls on a string.
This idea can be varied to any extent, but the working of such a design must be done in a frame, or the circle will not be accurate, for in embroidering a round, though one begins with the stuff square before us, we must work it where the woof and warp draw from top to bottom as well as crosswise, and on the bias, as the Americans and Canadians call it. Therefore the frame is our sure stand-by, and prevents the stuff from pulling unduly.
Let us suggest that only best things should at first be attempted. It is pleasant to have half a dozen handkerchiefs which are above reproach with regard to the daintiness of their embroidery, even if we have not time to do all. The girl who is preparing her trousseau will know well which garments shall be selected for this distinctive work.
With regard to household linen, also, if time does not permit of our whole stock being embroidered, let us begin with enough to furnish forth the necessaries for the guest chamber. A couple of daintily embroidered pillow shams, four pairs of sheets, and half a dozen to using the grace ful letter given in our pattern. which lend themselves so well to the i: rilling of Ini tials, which is the most effective and by far the most fascinating way of monogram making.
For those who do not care for the ordinary kind of fancy work, letter embroidery furnishes just the most interesting type of needlccraft.
Fancy Letters other than Linen
Card-cases, work-bags, travelling comforts, blotters, and book-covers are all greatly enhanced in beauty and value if they bear the initials of the owner. If one is making a present it gives the recipient an agreeable surprise to find her own name embroidered thereon. Men especially appreciate the extra thoughtfulness which this little service so delicately conveys.
The time is past when women embroidered the initials of their dear ones with their own hair. Perhaps the usages of the modern laundress put a stop to the pretty method of hair embroidery, but fine effects can be obtained with silk.
In designing our letters, very special thought has been given to the embroidress who wishes to use them for articles decorated with ribbon work, for sequins, for bead work, and all the other manifestations which the modern needlewoman knows so well how to display. The little flower in the main stems shows well as a dainty rose in gathered-up miniature ribbon in red and rose colour; the pearls may be worked in rose and have the semblance of buds, the rest of the outline letter in green. The blossoms may also be embroidered, and French knots, a tiny sequin, or beads form the centre of each flower.
In the hot-water cosy the letters are outlined in serviceable blue ingrain cotton; the flowers are worked entirely in French knots, with excellent effect.
Pink linen nightdress case embroidered in white flourishing thread. transfer letters