Tag Archives: Heirloom Sewing

Heirloom Sewing – by Machine

French Hand Sewing and Heirloom Sewing refer to the delicate stitching techniques of yesteryear where fine laces, entredeux, and high quality fabrics were combined to create beautiful clothing.  Martha Pullen has brought these intricate hand stitching techniques to the sewing machine with breathtaking results.  The wonderful sewing machines available today, coupled with fabulous feet and stitches, make heirloom machine sewing very exciting.  This christening gown is the one I made for my darling little granddaughter.  She looked like an angel in it.

Once a month I teach the Martha Pullen Gift of the Month demo class.  Martha sends instructions for small projects using a different technique every month.  Click on the Martha Pullen link to view her site and see the Gift of the Month projects.  In addition to the Gift of the Month class, I also teach an Heirloom sewing class each month.  Some months it is a notebook class where students learn the techniques and are provided information on how to use these techniques in their everyday sewing projects.  Other months we stitch a project using the techniques that we have learned in previous classes.  I teach at the Quilt and Sewing Center of Fredericksburg, Virginia.  If you are interested in taking these classes, visit their website or call the store to register for the Martha Pullen classes.

Century Old Christening Gown

Drawn Thread Work

Wow! A few weeks ago I had the privilege of handling a century old christening gown.   The gown design was all done in hand embroidered drawn thread work.   It was absolutely lovely and the embroidery was impeccable.   I was asked to recreate this gown – what an interesting challenge this will be. 

Drawn thread work is the art of withdrawing the weft threads from a piece of fabric and then doing embroidery over the remaining vertical warp threads.   Beautiful lacey designs are created by the various ways in which the warp threads are manipulated with the hand embroidered stitches and needle weaving.   Traditionally this type of work was done on even weave fabrics such as linen.   This christening gown appears to have been made of a linen batiste fabric.   Currently I am searching for a fabric that will be supple and soft enough for a christening gown, the threads may be easily withdrawn, and the fabric will be strong enough to support the hand embroidery stitches.   I have located several sources and samples are on the way.   I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one of the samples will be exactly what I am searching for.