Five Star Embroidery & Design York

We embroider onto a wide range of fabrics for a variety of purposes. Make your business instantly identifiable with embroidered clothing.

01937 832 579 / 07917 247 472

A little history of embroidery

Here at Five Star Embroidery & Design we love embroidery, our day to day work can sometimes mean we forget how simple and yet beautiful embroidery is and what a great hobby it is for many – including us!  We’ve enjoyed researching the history of embroidery and hope you enjoy reading our blog.

By definition

A good place to start is the meaning, according to the trusted source, Wikipedia, “Embroidery is the handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins. Today, embroidery is most often seen on caps, hats, coats, blankets, dress shirts, denim, stockings, and golf shirts. Embroidery is available with a wide variety of thread or yarn color.  The basic techniques or stitches on surviving examples of the earliest embroidery—chain stitch, buttonhole or blanket stitch, running stitch, satin stitch, cross stitch—remain the fundamental techniques of hand embroidery today.”  An excellent definition, thank you Wikipedia!

Where did it begin?

The basic principles of needlecraft probably began with the primitive man, using threads, such as animal sinew or plants and needles made from bone or ivory.  This was originally with the practical purpose of making warm clothing to protect themselves, this evolved with the realisation they could embellish their clothing using stitches to make a design. This decoration continued to develop with the addition of stitching bones, stones or beads to add to the design.

This shows that embroidery has been around since we began wearing clothes, decorative embroidery seems to be nearly as old with artefacts still in existence from ancient Egypt, China, India and England.   These examples are distinctive and steeped in the culture and traditions of their countries respective histories. But a common factor across all these ancient examples is that wearing embroidered clothing symbolised wealth and importance.

The sewing machine

The first sewing machine was invented in 1790 by an Englishman, Thomas Saint, however it was the early 1800’s before a machine was invented to specifically embroider by a Scotsman, John Duncan.  Machines were first used in industry to make uniforms for the armed forces, however this was a very primitive machine.  The modern singer machine which we are familiar with was first built in 1851.

Machine embroidery before the introduction of computer software involved holes punched on paper to create a design which was run through an embroidery machine, this was labour intensive and time consuming especially for volume production.

It was the 1980’s before the introduction of a computer graphics embroidery design system, and things have continued to move on from there with computerised sewing machines being common place not just in the commercial workplace but also our homes.

Bottom of Form