Repost: 16th Century Drawn Thread Handkerchief
By Genoveva von Lubeck

Drawn thread work likely began in the 16th century and was popular in Italy, Germany, Sweden, and England. I discovered it while researching pleated aprons and I theorize that some German aprons utilized drawn thread techniques based on imagery. Drawn thread work can be seen in a simple form on the 1567 Nils Sture shirt (in the Cathedral Museum) and in a much more elaborate forms beginning at the tail end of the 16th century. Drawn thread work is also sometimes referred to as cutwork, pulled thread work, Punto Tirato, or whitework. The defining technique of drawn thread work is that some warp and or weft threads are drawn (removed) from the fabric.

Links to video tutorials on drawn thread handkerchiefs:


The simplest form of drawn thread work is the hemstitch, which is both pretty and practical. The hemstitch allows you to hem at the same time you decorate the edges of your fabric, which makes it so much more fun than a standard hem. Here’s how you do it:

1. Prepare your linen by squaring up your edge(s) evenly on the grain. This is typically done by drawing one thread very near to the edge and then cutting off the excess (here’s my tutorial on how to square linen). In this tutorial, the warp threads are the horizontal threads and the weft threads are the vertical threads on the fabric shown in the photos.

… for the rest of her tutorial visit


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