Thursday, 2 May 2013

Blackwork Clothing Ideas

After my blackwork discovery in the laundry this week I decided to do a little bit of research into how people have used it in clothing and was a little bit disappointed. It feels like almost noone's been putting blackwork on anything bigger than a bookmark since men wore tights.

I get why that is. It takes a lot of time and effort and embroidery itself is generally thought of as old fashioned and fuddy-duddy, but I'm hoping it can also be meditative and pretty.

When I was practicing my google-foo I found this amazing sampler by a student (the blog's worth a look, too). I have to tell you, I'm in love. The gold thread is gorgeous combined with the black and I've never seen beads included but I really like the idea.

The simple embroidery in this top is a pretty good example of what most modern blackworked clothes look like. Maybe modern isn't the right word? It looks like this might be a very old style of top, but it's as close as I've found so far.

The easy pattern that follows the hems and edges is what you usually see, I think because you get the most bang for your buck and most people don't really have time or urge to cover a large area on their clothing when they can just as easily do a piece of art instead.

Finally, something I just can't get out of my mind. This isn't blackwork but I had to include it anyway because my mind boggles at the amount of time it took. It's an Elizabethan top made completely out of squares and rectangles that are embroidered down to the neck line. Even the gussets! If this woman can do this then surely I can find the time to put some pretty little bits and bobs on my clothing if I really want to?

(embroidery source)

What do you guys think? Does anybody else add embroidery to their clothing or simply want to? Is it as good for portable crafting as knitting? Do you think it's worth the effort?


  1. Thanks for linking back to my blog! I think blackwork is underutilized, but I think the sensibility is alive today in the Zentangle trend. As to is it worth embroidering your clothes? Absolutely! Embroidery on clothing makes it unique- a rarity in our world of mass consumption.