Thanks Barbara....that's a whole lot of info! Most of these teachers are showing how to do hand embroidery
that is...how should I say it...a little more heavy and on fabric not so fine as what was used for delicate, antique
hankies. I'm probably hoping for the impossible, which would be sitting beside someone who still does this
kind of work. I know how to do most of the stitches, but executing them on very fine fabric is another thing.
It is a dying art, for sure. I've been corresponding with some at the Royal School of Needle Work in England,
and they don't know (for example) how the double Madeira Applique was done. A nice lady there was going to
do some research and get back to me, but so far I haven't heard from her.
I use this kind of Madeira applique as an example, because it's the best one I can think of to illustrate my point.
So many of the older Madeira applique pieces were done this way, and especially the ones using organdy and
fine batiste (for the applique). As time went on, the double applique was replaced (I suppose in the interest of
time spent doing it) with what I'd consider just regular applique technique, that every embroiderer knows how to
The oldest (maybe original ?) way of doing Madeira Applique resulted in an applique being applied to the back
of the ground fabric, and it looks exactly like the one on the front. The organdy is sandwiched between. If not
for surface hand embroidery, which has a wrong side to it, these pieces would be completely reversible with the
front looking just like the back.
I've pondered this for literally years, and think I may have figured it out. If two applique shapes were cut out
at the same time so they're identical, basted to the organdy (one on front, one on the back, with organdy sandwiched
between), one could turn the edges under and pin stitch both appliques on at the same time. They did it somehow!
And "what one man (or woman ; ) can do, another can do also". : )