This section is from the "The Ladies' Work-Table Book: Domestic Needlework in Nineteenth-Century America" book, by Margaret Vincent. Also available from Amazon: The Ladies' Work Table: Domestic Needlework in Nineteenth-Century America.
For bottle-stand, or any small piece of work, star patterns are very beautiful. The materials proper for working them, are silk and wool, with gold or any other kind of beads, and gold thread or twist. For foundations, you may use either velvet or silk canvas.
Small sprigs are pretty, for work that is not too large ; chenille is proper for the flowers, and the stalks and leaves look best in silk; a few gold beads add to the effect.
For large pieces of work, medallion patterns are much used, and produce a good impression on the eye; the outline is to be traced in brilliant silk, and for the centre employ two shades of the same color, working half in each shade ; the medallion should be placed upon a white field, and the whole grounded in a dark color, which harmonizes well with the design of the pattern.
Bags may be worked in a variety of ways, to suit taste and convenience. The border is often made to resemble black lace, and when properly executed, looks extremely well. The parts filled up, should be worked in black floss or black wool. Leaves may be worked with gold twist, or beads may be employed. The grounding should be in fine twisted silk: any color may be used. In other cases, white wool, white silk, silver and glass beads, and several other materials are in requisition; so that here is ample scope for classification and arrangement. A mourning bag looks well done to imitate lace, worked in black floss silk, and ornamented with black glass and silver beads, disposed in a tasteful and ornamental style. Sometimes a bag is worked as a shield of four squares; in such a case, two squares should be worked in feather stitch, and the others in any stitch that will form a pleasing contrast: the border should be a simple, but elegant lace pattern.
For braces and bracelets, any small border pattern may be adopted. They should be worked in two colors, highly contrasted, for bracelets: gold twist round the edge is a great addition.
These suggestions in reference to patterns, might have been greatly extended; but we wish every young lady to draw upon the resources of her own mind, and to think for herself. To one, who is desirous to excel, we have said enough ; a little thought will enable her to apply the general principles, here laid down, to any particular case; and, without the employment of the thinking faculty, the most minute instructions, in this or any other art, would fail in producing their intended effects.