For many years we have embroidered materials - fine linens, thick brocade, softest velvet, plush, or satin, all have in turn served as background for the patterns worked in linen thread, in silks or wools, beads and sequins, and often the effect has been extremely fine.
Though it is quite possible to iron off patterns on to these thin fabrics, or to trace designs by means of carbon paper, the thickness of line inevitable with such methods is a decided drawback when the lines of embroidery are required to be of the fineness of a spider's web.
Other means have therefore to be devised, so that a simple or most intricate pattern may be achieved with no lines at all to mar the finest of material.
The design tacked in position under the material that is to be worked
Outline design for shadow embroidery. This should be traced and the tracing pasted on to thin cardboard The material to be worked upon is then tacked over it, and the actual embroidery commenced. (See page 3937)
Cut out the design given with this number, and paste it on to thinnish white cardboard, or on to a square of American cloth. Press and dry well, then tack the piece of chiffon or other thin fabric to be embroidered on to the pattern, and darn over the lines which can be seen quite plainly.
When one section is finished, move the material along, tack down all round as before, and darn another piece. This very firm and careful tacking is important, for only workers in chiffon and such fabrics know how slippery and difficult to keep in place they are unless very firmly held. If there is a selvedge to the material, it is a good plan to place it to the edge of the card, and tack it first in position, as a guide to further adjustment. When working shadow embroidery on net of the fine Brussels or coarse fish net type, great care must be used in keeping the mesh straight.
For embroidery on black chiffon slight touches of jet are extremely handsome and in good taste. The pattern is outlined in thick ropy silk, and tiny jet studs are placed at the extremity of the flower form, and also where the circles indicate the position of an ornament. .
Shadow embroidery on filet net, worked in fine wool. Such a scheme would look well on a girl's evening frock of net
It should be remembered that much jet on chiffon is liable to tear it away, so that the weight of the embroidery must be carefully regulated. In the example shown a fine black bead edging is employed to hold the chiffon in its place and add weight to the edge. Such a design is suitable for bodice drapery, or for the long, straight, panel-like pieces worn on the front and back of gowns.
On chiffon the outline may be carried out in thick ropy silk, tiny jet studs being placed in the flower form. A jet beading gives necessary weight to the chiffon
It will be found much easier to complete the embroidery before sewing on the beads or cabochons. They are apt to catch on silk, and cause trouble if worked as each piece of embroidery is done. The best method is to untack the work from the card before adjusting them, then thread the silk or cotton up from behind, put on the bead, bring the thread to the back, and tie on with a knot as a milliner ties on her trimmings. This tic, when securely made, is much more satisfactory than fastening off with a needle and thread on very thin materials. Another illustration shows shadow-work on filet net, and is intended for trimming a girl's evening dress. The stems and buds are in pale green wool, and the flowers in rose pink.
The half-finished example, shown tacked on to the card, is an evening scarf in the making. A pale grey filet net is used, to be embroidered in silk of a deeper cloud shade. This deeper shade of silk will be used also for a thick knotted fringe three and a half inches in depth at the bottom, the finished effect being extremely handsome.
Many embroidery patterns can be utilised for shadow embroidery if light and simple in line.
Materials for Embroidery
With regard to the materials for embroidery, it is best to adapt oneself entirely to the need of the moment. If the bottom of a tunic is to be embroidered for a light evening dress, silk is the most effective material. An example in the illustrations shows a fine make of grey silk net of a real shadow tint, the pattern outlined in white silk. Large hollow gold cabochons are sewn where indicated by the circles in the design. These are sewn on with a few black beads, a touch which is most effective. The wide silk selvedge is in this case used as a finish to the tunic, and no hemming up of the bottom is required. More of this embroidery would be used at the edge of the magyar sleeves, and a thick gold clasp should fasten the girdle. Such a shadow drapery, with the touches of gold worn over white satin, makes a very pretty frock for a young girl.
Every well-filled wardrobe contains at least one black evening dress, and the black gown of to-day is no longer the hard one of satin or brocade, but, like its fellows, is partly made of some soft fabric.
An example of antique darned netting in an elaborate pattern of Spanish origin
The specimen of antique darned netting shows a very elaborate pattern of Spanish origin.
A Spanish Design
This shows what used to be done, and its elaborate stitchery may prove suggestive for the further enrichment of the simple design given for the worker of to-day.
This method of working a design without marking the material opens up possibilities for artistic effects. Not only can silk or woollen threads be utilised, but narrow bebe ribbon would be a charming medium on certain fabrics. Tiny blossoms and delicate green leaves could thus be poised on a fabric seemingly too fragile to support them.