Vintage Embroidery Compliments of Mom

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I ran across an old box with some of my mom’s embroidery in it the other day in the basement. Mom told me that she used to embroider between the ages of ten and fifteen – she’s 63 now – so I suppose that makes her work both handmade and vintage. The pieces have been sitting a while, I don’t think the ones I found were ever used, but they did get exposed to some dust and grime when my brother went digging for the larger pieces to use in his own home. What was left behind, I took photos of. They need to be laundered, but then I think I may use a few of the myself. I am particularly fond of the hankies.
Of course finding the pieces and quizzing mom on their age, led to a little more family history. Mom used to embroider as an adolescent and teen because she wasn’t fond of watching tv. She was first taught how to embroider using only x’s for the design (note the cherries in the photo above), and later learned more complicated techniques. In addition to embroidery, she also used to sew. Mom learned to sew on an old, vintage treadle sewing machine – the kind that is operated by foot. In fact, she’d planned on keeping that machine, but it got stored in a barn that leaked, and was basically destroyed after that from water damage. My mom’s mom, or rather my grandmother, used to sew for a living as a seamstress. She also made all of my mom’s dresses, her baby doll dresses, and even diapers for her baby dolls that wet themselves when you “fed” them.
Following are a few photos of my mom’s handmade, vintage embroidery that I am particularly fond of.
Vintage hand embroidered handkerchiefs.
Vintage hand embroidered table scarf.
Vintage hand embroidered sampler on scrap fabric.
Vintage hand embroidered sampler meant for framing.
Vintage hand embroidered table scarf or runner, folded.

If you’ve never tried your hand at embroidery, you should certainly give it a try. I haven’t gotten into it myself, but I’d like to embroider some pillow cases once I have extra funds and maybe even do a sampler in an embroidery hoop for hanging. I used to cross stitch when I was in adolescence, but I think embroidery lends itself to more endless possibilities, with the ability to go wherever your creativity and imagination take you.

If you’re looking to get started, I found a great site called Sarah’s Hand Embroidery Tutorials that teaches you all of the basic stitches, pattern darning, chicken scratch and more. There are photo illustrations for every step. Search for embroidery patterns online or purchase them from your favorite craft store. In the meantime, you can also check out my collection of  embroidery photographs on Pinterest for ideas and inspiration. I’ll be adding to my Embroidery Board as I discover new works I like.