Learn to make drawn thread work by hand! Drawn thread work is a beautiful whitework embroidery! It’s easy to make but it takes time.
‘Drawn-thread work forms a connecting link between embroidery and lace work […] it is very durable, and washes well.’ (Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, 1910-2)
In this tutorial I’ll show you how to make basic drawn thread work by hand. Drawn thread work is a counted thread embroidery: Warp or weft threads are removed and the remaining threads are grouped together with hemstitches.
Drawn thread work has been popular for a long time. It was already used in the Middle Ages (source), and was still popular in the Victorian and Edwardian era and the 1920s.
Drawn Thread Work Tutorial
- white fabric
- white sewing thread
I’m using (UK) muslin: I had some muslin scraps leftover from my Victorian sheer summer dress. Muslin is a white, thin, sheer, loosely woven cotton fabric. But you can use linen or any other fabric for drawn thread embroidery. And even if it’s traditionally whitework embroidery – made with white fabric and thread – it doesn’t mean that you can’t use colored fabric or thread.
Pull out between 2 and 10 threads.
Pick up 5 threads with the needle (you can also pick up more or less threads).
Go around the same threads and pick up two or three threads of the fabric above. Pull tight.
Then pick up the next 5 threads.
Repeat the stitches on the other side.
I used the ladder stitch for this drawn thread work sampler. But there are many other stitches used in drawn-thread work, such as the double hem stitch which forms a zigzag pattern or needle woven spiders for a lace-like insertion with medallions. Here’s a drawn thread work sampler of my grandmother which she made in 1950 in the first year of her dressmaker’s apprenticeship. And another sampler with ladder hemstitching and tucks.
Related: All My Lace Tutorials
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