1908 Home Needlework Magazine Article – Beginner’s Guide on How to Embroider Holly – VTNS Fan Freebie Friday

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Welcome to this Friday’s VTNS Fan Freebie! During the holiday season, all over the world branches of bright green holly with pretty red berries adorn our homes as a decoration. This week’s freebie will show you how to embellish an item with embroidered holly.

Vintage Crafts and More - How to Embroider Holly

The lesson is from a 1908 edition of the Home Needlework Magazine. This women’s magazine was devoted to the art of needlework, embroidery and lace making and touted that it was an authority on home decoration, dress embroidery and things fashionable.

Part of the lesson consists of the importance of shading and the colors used for the motif. The article suggests using 3 shades of red for the berries, one deep, one medium and one very light, maybe even pink.

Also discussed is using the correct slant of the stitches to make your embroidery look realistic. Silk embroidery threads are used, which was customary in the early 1900s designs.

Even a beginner can follow this lesson and use the techniques taught to embellish a doily, napkins or a tablecloth for the holidays.

1908 Home Needlework Magazine Article – How to Embroider Holly

The actual holly pattern is not included with the lesson, because in the magazine you could order the doily already printed with the design. A quick search on the internet will bring up many free downloadable prints you could use.

Here are a couple to get you started, but I’m sure you’ll find many more. This free download of a holly graphic even shows shading that may be helpful when doing the embroidery.

From Mary Cobert’s Needle ‘n Thread site, a hand embroidery PDF pattern for Boughs of Holly that would fit nicely in a corner of a napkin or table topper.

And last but not least, Why do we decorate with holly? This interesting article from TLC Family tells us.


Note: The lesson is in PDF format so to read it you’ll need the Adobe Reader software on your computer. Most computers come with it, but it is free and can be found here.

Download Instructions: Right-Click the link and select either “save target as” or “save link as” depending on what browser you are using or simply click on it and save or print.

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