The History of Handwork on Fabrics

Embroidery is the art of decorating fabrics with beautiful designs, patterns, and floral illustrations by using thread and a needle. In this way, it has been in practice for centuries, and the history of the handwork on fabrics is spanning over more than a few thousand years. 

The origin of handwork on fabrics dates to the Cro-Magnon era or 30,000 BC. A recent archeological finding has uncovered some fossilized hats and other clothing that was heavily hand-stitched. 

Chinese embroidery dates to 3500 BC, where pictures depict the fine art of embroidery on clothing, heavily decorated with silk thread, precious stones, shells, and pearls. 

Embroidery and the most intricate forms of needlework originated somewhere in the Middle East in the remote past. Our ancestors quickly found that stitches used to join animal skin can serve as a means of embellishments and motifs. Recorded history, ancient paintings, and sculptures show people wearing clothes with a lot of needlework. 

The History of Handwork on Fabrics, Designer Fashion Fabrics - AALA.com
handwork on fabrics

Elaborately embroidered household items, religious clothing, and everyday wear have always been a status symbol in many ancient cultures. Traditional folk techniques were passed from generation to generation in almost every culture. Professional workshops and guilds but arose first in England and then spread to other European countries. The output of these workshops was very famous in entire Europe and was called “English Work”. Machine-made embroideries but originated somewhere in Switzerland. 

The process used to tailor, patch, and mend wearables led to the discovery of sewing techniques and the possibilities of sewing gave way to the art of handwork on fabrics. With the origin of the machine age, the intricate art of freehand needlework dwindled greatly. But soon, bead embroidery was gaining popularity in almost every culture. 

The fabric and yarn used in the art of needlework continued changing from place to place. Wool, linen, and silk were the most popular threads used for embroidery in the past. But today, cotton, rayon, and novelty yarns are used for embroidery and traditional yarns like wool, linen, and silk. Ribbon embroidery makes use of silk ribbon for creating beautiful motifs. 

The contemporary work of embroidery is carried out through computerized machine embroidery. In this technique, digitized patterns are crafted on a fabric with the help of embroidery software. Different kinds of fills add to the texture and design of the final product. Machine embroidery of present-day adds monograms and logos to business shirts, team apparel, jackets, and gifts. It is also used to decorate household apparel, draperies, and clothing that mimic the elaborate handwork on fabrics of the past. Some people use embroidered logos as a means of advertisement for their company or brand. The art of ancient needlework has come a long way in style, technique, and use. It has maintained a certain intrigue in it that does not seem to dwindle with time. 

The process of handwork on fabrics is both science and art. Intrinsically speaking, it is an art that requires great imagination to produce beautiful and aesthetically appealing fabrics. On the other hand, advanced knowledge of certain scientific disciplines helps you a lot in designing and making beautiful designs on a particular fabric. You have to know precisely what kind of yarn you can use on fabric.