In China, embroidery is much more than stitching. It is a long establish form of art that is done by both men and women. It is theater, ceremony, religion and imperialism.
Watch the video below to see true Chinese stitchers in action!
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From robes to pouches to flags to shoes to Buddha artwork, if it's made of silk it can be Chinese embroidered (although other fine fabrics are also used).
Chinese embroidery was once a way of denoting rank or station in life. Powerful emperors donned highly intricate pieces that took months if not years to create. The finest pieces have perfectly mirrored two-sided designs with mysteriously hidden knots.
Suzhou (Su) embroidery is considered the finest in China. The other three popular styles are Guangdong, Hunan and Shu. Visit Su Embroidery for photos of this incredible style.
Special Qualities of Chinese Embroidery
Embroidery is embroidery wherever it's done but Chinese embroidery, said to be the oldest in the world, is focused upon creating realist looking designs from silk threads that rival museum paintings.
Chinese Embroidery is characterized by:
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- Patterns that are often more detailed with their art becoming part of the design.
- Brilliantly colored silk threads.
- Threads that have been divided to the most finest width.
- Stitches that are repeated so as to create a highly dense structure.
- Great attention to creating shadows, highlights and texture.
- Precisely proportioned scenes or objects and uncluttered expressions.
- Images that rival reality in its purest most beautiful form.
- Imagination and creativity.
This style is done with a very large hoop or most often with a standing frame. The frame enables working the needle with one hand on top of the fabric and the other underneath. This allows for the most precise stitch, the smoothest fabric and the flattest stitch possible.
Give Chinese Embroidery a Try
If you love exquisitely fine detail, brilliant colors, silky and satiny fabrics and creating your own works of art, give Chinese embroidery a try. It is not for the impatient or those without an artistic passion and will challenge even the most skilled needle crafter but the end result is amazing and well worth the effort.
You will need:
- A traditional Chinese embroidery pattern.
- Silk, satin or other delicate textured fabric.
- Silk thread in bright colors.
- A Sharps size 10 needle (which has a smaller eye for working with finer fabrics).
- A large hoop or for best results, a free standing frame.
- Mastery of the Beijing stitch (French knot).
- Time, patience, determination and a creative spirit.
Chinese Embroidery Stitch Types
While this style demands great attention to detail and precision, it uses the most common stitches including:
- French knot called the Beijing stitch
- Lazy Daisy
- Satin (straight stitch)
|The Traditional Chinese Designs Iron-on Transfer Patternsbook was published in 1987 but is one of the best books on the subject. It has a wonderful selection of 41 traditional Chinese iron-on designs including dragons, cranes, fish, lotuses, peonies and chrysanthemums. Each design has suggested stitches and thread colors. If you need a little more guidance, this book is highly recommended.It's a great way to get started on this unique style of embroidery. Order the Traditional Chinese Designs today!|
This video has some great close ups of Chinese
embroidery stitches as well as how to work
the stitches using a frame. Enjoy!