basket

Royal School of Needlework

Welcome to the Royal School of Needlework The International Centre
of Excellence for the
Art of Hand Embroidery

Home > Embroidery Techniques > Blackwork

Blackwork

See examples of Blackwork embroidery

Steeped in history, this technique involves using intricate patterns which have an almost graphic quality to create an embroidered picture.  Blackwork was traditionally used as decoration on caps, collars and cuffs and usually depicted small floral motifs in the repeat design.  Both sides of the embroidery were to be seen so it was worked in a double running stitch (also known as Holbein stitch), making the front and back identical.

Blackwork developed in the 20th century and is now used to portray realism and form through differing densities of thread and pattern to create tonal shading.
Using a counted thread technique with a variety of geometric stitches in one colour, dramatic effects are created which are particularly effective with portraits and architectural themes. Blackwork is a very diverse technique and although traditionally worked in black any single colour can be used. 

We run Blackwork Classes for Beginners onwards and recommend
our book RSN Essential Stitch Guide - Blackwork by RSN Tutor Becky Hogg
We also sell Blackwork kits

Keep in touch


News

View all news >


Latest Tweets

  • Hope you enjoyed the RSN Archive & Collection's treasures, to be found at Hampton Court Palace! Some pieces on disp… https://t.co/hWsEslTBgP20/11/2017
  • Embroidery from a silk panel, thought to be from a 1740s sack back gown. The metallic chain stitch was an extravaga… https://t.co/uNVjS8K3b420/11/2017
  • Little boy’s outfit, c.1860 made from cotton pique decorated with wool braid. Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine, no.… https://t.co/S8ilCgOBIU20/11/2017