Glossary

Adras

A glossy fabric, half silk and half cotton, usually made with narrow stripes, and a beetled finish. Some Suzanis are embroidered on this type of fabric.

Appliqué

Material that is cut out and sewn, embroidered, or fastened to a fabric. Also referred to as applied work.

Beetled Finish

Beetling is a process that gives round-threaded cotton and linen fabrics a flat linen-like appearance, with increased luster. It tends to give a less porous texture. In this finishing treatment, the damp fabric is wound around an iron cylinder and hammered by heavy wooden mallets while it passes through the machine.

Brocade

Rich, heavy, jacquard-woven fabric with raised patterns emphasized by contrasting surfaces or colors. Satin or twill figures on plain, twill, or satin grounds may be used. Often it is made with gold or silver threads. The design appears on the face of the fabric which is distinguished easily from the back.

Brocatelle

A fabric similar to brocade but with the designs in high relief, made on a jacquard loom with a satin or twill pattern on a plain or satin ground. The fabric usually has a firm texture and a high yarn count. The pattern generally has a distinctive blistered or puffed appearance.

Chain Stitch

An embroidery or crochet stitch that forms connecting links like a chain. This can also be a machine stitch. Some Suzanis designs are created with this stitch, both by hand and machine.

Couching

A method of embroidering in which a design is made by various threads or cords laid upon the surface of a material and secured by fine stitches drawn through the material and across the cord.

Damask

Originally a rich silk fabric with woven floral designs made in China and introduced to Europe through Damascus, from which it derived it’s name. Now a broad group of jacquard-woven fabrics with elaborate floral or geometric patterns, made of linen, cotton, wool, worsted, silk, rayon, acetate, and other manufactured fibers, and combinations of these fibers. The pattern is distinguished from the ground by contrasting luster and is reversible. In two color damask, the colors reverse on either side. The fabric is similar to brocade, but flatter.

Ecclesiastic

Of or associated with a church (especially a Christian Church)

Embroidery

The art of ornamenting material with needlework. The basis of embroidery has always been plain sewing, but nowadays more emphasis is put on the decorative qualities of different threads and materials than on the underlying skills and techniques which earlier, and especially before the advent of the sewing machine, were considered essential. Embroidery undoubtedly followed soon after man learned to weave and in Scandinavia, simply embroidered woolen garments have been found dating from the bronze age, while Chinese embroideries of the 5th century BC can still be seen whose style shows that the craft must have started much earlier in order to have reached such a high level of sophistication by that time. Until the 19th century there were only a few well-defined techniques, named for their style rather than for the materials on which they were worked. However by the end of the 19th century many new names and types had appeared with the development of the art needlework movement, the art needlework departments in stores, and the big firms selling threads, transfers, and materials. In many cases these new names of embroideries were just old friends freshened up, but their numbers have made for confusion.

Fortuny

Mariano Fortuny y Madrazo (May 11, 1871 – May 3, 1949), son of the Spanish painter Mariano Fortuny y Marsal, was the creator of rich and lustrous fabrics from Venice, Italy. In the early 1900’s Mariano Fortuny developed his own unique method for printing fabrics based on his years of studying ancient alchemy and dying techniques and his extensive experimentation with different fabrics, dyes, and processes. The production of these textiles was the culmination of his knowledge of engineering, color, design, and art into one manifestation of pure artistic genius. In 1919, Fortuny moved the production of his textiles from his home to a former convent on the island of Giudecca. It was here that he installed larger versions of the machines he designed and built in order to print his fabrics on a wider raw material. Thanks to the efforts of Fortuny’s wife, Henriette and American interior designer (and his initial distributor), Elsie McNeill, the factory continued operation even after Fortuny’s death. These designs are available today, but only to the trade, and at a very high cost. (information from www.fortuny.com)

Galon

Sometimes called galloon – Narrow woven cloth that has two fillings. Generally, one filling is mercerized cotton and serves as the ground and the second of which is metallic and is used as the design yarn.

Grisaille Beadwork

Monochromatic beadwork designs on a ground of “Berlin woolwork. Black, grey, white, (both clear and opaque), and steel beads are used. It was very popular in the mid 19th century and was made into articles such as banner fire screens, mantle covers, and teacosies.

Gros Point

Cross Stitch. However, the term is often misapplied to canvas work done with a large tent stitch, and sometimes even used for the whole piece of work as “my gros point’.

Guimped Embroidery

Type of embroidery where the pattern must be drawn on the material, and the figures of ‘the pattern also cut in parchment, paper, or cloth, over which the gold or silver is sewn with a fine silk thread'(Miss Lambert 1843). Nowadays this method of slightly raising or padding gold work is considered one of the techniques used in metal thread embroidery rather than a type of embroidery on its own.

Jacquard

A system of weaving that, because of a pattern-making mechanism of great versatility, permits the production of woven designs of considerable size. The jacquard loom was invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard in the early 19th century. In this system of weaving, the weave pattern is copied from the design paper by punching a series of cards, each perforation controlling the action of one warp end for the passage of one pick. Depending upon the design, the machine may carry a large number of cards because there is a separate card for each pick.

Linen

Cloth woven from the fibers of flax. It has the longest known history of any fabric and probably originated with the Egypytians.

Orphrey

A band of elaborate embroidery decorating the front of certain ecclesiastical vestments.

Raised Embroidery

Type of embroidery often consisting of flowers and buds worked in satin stitch over a pad of cotton wool which was carefully cut to shape and fastened to the ground fabric with a large cross stitch. Next satin stitch in embroidery cotton was worked over the pad, and finally satin stitch in the appropriate thread and colors.

Satin Stitch

Embroidery done in close parallel lines (stitches) over a drawn design. Many of the hand embroidered Suzanis are done in this satin stitch.

Trapunto

A type of quilting in which quilted designs stand in high relief against a lower background. Single stitches outline the pattern. A slit is made in the fabric layer on the back of the quilted material and fiber batting is inserted to pad out each section of the design that is to be raised.