Directory of Hand Stitches
This wiki edition of The Directory of Hand Stitches Used in Textile Conservation. is based on the 2nd edition (1995) of this publication. The original work was a project of the Study Group on Threads and Stitching Techniques of The Textile Conservation Group, New York. It was compiled by Martha Winslow Grimm, and illustrated by Rachel Paar.
Acknowledgements (from the printed version, 2nd edition, 1995)
The Stitch Directory Committee, part of the TCG Study Group on Threads and Stitching Techniques, researched, wrote, reviewed and edited the information contained in this book. The members are: Elizabeth Brown, Julia M. Burke, Margaret (Meg) Geiss-Mooney, Martha Winslow Grimm, Molly Hope, Ada H.(Dusty) Logan, and Audrey M. Spence. Numerous textile conservators and needleworkers have been generous with their suggestions, expertise and time. Those who supplied information and reviewed the text for content are: Mary Ballard, Alice Blohm, Virginia B. Carter, Vicki Cassman, Anne Ennes, Patricia Ewer, Frances K. Faille , Kathy Francis, LaTasha Harris, Bruce Hutchison, Mary Ellen Johnson, Monica Lenci, Sarah Lowengard, Catherine McLean, Dorothy Morrison, Margaret Ordonez, Zoe Annis Perkins, Rebecca Rudolph and Cara Varnell.
The executive board of the Textile Conservation Group has been very supportive of this project. The three chairmen of The TCG Study Group on Threads and Stitching Techniques, Teresa A. Knutson, Susan Anne Mathisen and Julia B. Swetzoff, have helped by supplying leadership, enthusiasm, guidance, and knowledge.
Wiki version acknowledgements
Digital conversion of the directory was accomplished in 2014 by Jennifer Cruise and Jonathan Hoppe.
The techniques for executing hand stitches used in textile conservation may differ from stitches in other disciplines of needlework. The condition, type, and decoration of the artifact and its proposed treatment dictate how the stitches are completed. The inclusion of stitches in this directory is not a professional endorsement nor recommendation of their application.
Copyright: 2020. The Textile Wiki pages are a publication of the Textile Specialty Group of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Directory Organization
- 3 Textile Conservation Processes and Appropriate Hand Stitches
- 3.1 Attaching Linings, Dust Covers, and Backings
- 3.2 Closing Slits
- 3.3 Creating Seams
- 3.4 Finishing and Stabilizing Edges
- 3.5 Finishing and Stabilizing Warp Ends
- 3.6 Hemming
- 3.7 Joining Fabric
- 3.8 Mounting
- 3.9 Reinforcing Holes and Tears
- 3.10 Reinforcing Selvedges
- 3.11 Reinforcing Weak Areas
- 3.12 Replacing Weft
- 3.13 Rewarping
- 3.14 Securing a Damaged Area to a Support Fabric
- 3.15 Securing Loose Threads to a Ground Fabric
- 3.16 Securing Velcro Heading to Reverse, Top Edge of Heavy Textiles
- 3.17 Stabilizing Seams
- 3.18 Stabilizing Weft
- 3.19 Temporary Stitch
- 4 Hand Stitches Used in Textile Conservation
- 5 List of References
In 1989 The Textile Conservation Group, Inc., a special interest membership group based in New York City, embarked on the long-term project of compiling an inventory of functional hand stitches currently used in textile conservation. A survey was conducted among the U.S. membership. The Directory of Hand Stitches Used in Textile Conservation is a result of this survey, contributions of members, and a review of literature. The purpose of this stitch directory is to provide a record of hand stitches in use by conservators today as well as their possible applications and a standardization of the terminology. The directory is meant to be a reference for conservators and educators working in the field of textile conservation. The goals are to aid in hand stitch selection, to facilitate communication among colleagues, and to clarify written documentation. This is not a guide or a "how-to" study of stitches and their uses. The application and adaptability of each stitch is the responsibility of the individual conservator, and is part of the much greater process of decision making in the treatment and care of textiles.The "Processes" section included in the beginning of the directory classifies the thirty-nine hand stitches by their application or association in textile conservation. Stitches are listed in alphabetical order, with the most common American term used as the primary name. To facilitate cross-referencing, as many alternative names as possible have been included. In addition to the directions for completing the stitch, there are comments about structural function and application. Diagrams, essential to the comprehension and reproduction of these stitches, are included. It is the hope of the Textile Conservation Group, Inc. that the result of this study will enhance communication among colleagues and improve the clarity of written reports. As a preliminary inventory, there is much more that needs to be done, and this body of work does not represent the experiences of the textile conservation field at large. We hope The Directory of Hand Stitches Used in Textile Conservation will draw attention to the importance of stitching in textile conservation and encourage others to continue this work.
Julia B. Swetzoff
There are three sections to this directory, and their use will depend upon the needs of the reader. The first section is titled Textile Conservation Processes and Appropriate Hand Stitches. It lists basic treatment processes a textile conservator performs and the hand stitches used. A conservator desiring to research methods of handling a stitching task associated with a treatment may read this section for solutions selected by others in the profession.
The second section, titled Hand Stitches Used in Textile Conservation, is a compilation of hand stitches in use today by the textile conservation community. Each page features one stitch with directions and diagrams on how to complete the stitch, other names for the stitch, related stitches and how the stitch is being used. These pages are also useful as a tool for standardization of stitch terminology and can be used when writing treatment reports.
Finally, a List of References featuring writings about hand stitches and textile conservation is offered as an aid for those who wish to learn more about the subject.
Textile Conservation Processes and Appropriate Hand Stitches
Attaching Linings, Dust Covers, and Backings
Figure 8 Stitch
Invisible Darning Stitch
Laid and Couched Stitch
Reinforcement/Zig Zag Stitch
Tapestry Overcast Stitch
Finishing and Stabilizing Edges
Finishing and Stabilizing Warp Ends
Reinforcing Holes and Tears
Reinforcing Weak Areas
Securing a Damaged Area to a Support Fabric
Securing Loose Threads to a Ground Fabric
Securing Velcro Heading to Reverse, Top Edge of Heavy Textiles
Hand Stitches Used in Textile Conservation
Antique Stitch, see Figure 8 Stitch, see also Lacing Stitch
Ball Stitch, see also Lacing Stitch
Barred Witch Stitch, see Herringbone Stitch
Baseball Stitch, see also Lacing Stitch
Basic Couching Stitch
Basting Stitch (Diagonal)
Blanket Stitch (Reverse)
Blind hem stitch, see Slip Stitch
Cat Stitch, see Herringbone Stitch
Catch Stitch, see Herringbone Stitch
Combination Stitch, see Running/Back Stitch
Convent Stitch, see Self-Couching Stitch
Couching Stitch (Basic)
Couching Stitch (Laid and Couched)
Couching Stitch (Self)
Cross Stitch/Over an Edge
Crossed Backstitch, see Herringbone Stitch
Crosswise Basting Stitch, see Diagonal Basting Stitch
Darning Stitch (Invisible)
Diagonal Basting Stitch
Diagonal Stitch/Knot over Previous Stitch
Diagonal Stitch/Modified French Knot
Figure 8 Stitch
Figure 8 Wrapping Stitch, see Wrapping Stitch
Half Back Stitch
Half Cross Stitch, see Diagonal Basting Stitch
Handworked Buttonhole Stitch, see Buttonhole Stitch
Herringbone Stitch/Knot over Previous Stitch
Invisible Stitch, see Blind Stitch
Invisible Darning Stitch
Klosterstitch, see Self-Couching Stitch
Laid Stitch, see Laid and Couched Stitch
Laid and Couched Stitch
Laid Couching Stitch, see Laid and Couched Stitch
Loop Stitch, see Blanket Stitch
Open Tabby Mend, see Tabby Stitch
Overcast Stitch (Tapestry )
Piercing Stitch, see Stab Stitch
Pine Tree Stitch, see Figure 8 Stitch
Regular Basting Stitch, see Basting Stitch
Reinforcement/Zig Zag Stitch
Reverse Blanket Stitch
Reverse Half Cross Stitch, see Tacking Stitch Reverse Open Buttonhole Stitch, see Reverse Blanket Stitch
Running Stitch (Staggered)
Running/Back Combination Stitch, see Running/Back Stitch
Running Hem Stitch, see Tapestry Strap Stitch
Span Stitch , see Self-Couching Stitch
Spannstitch, see Self-Couching Stitch
Simple Couching Stitch, see Basic Couching Stitch
Slit Stitch, see Tapestry Overcast Stitch
Staggered Running Stitch
Tacking Stitch see also Basting Stitch
Tailor Basting Stitch, see Diagonal Basting Stitch
Tapestry Overcast Stitch
Tapestry Strap Stitch
Tent Stitch, see Diagonal Basting Stitch
Tunnel Stitch, see Blind Stitch
Uneven Back Stitch, see Half Back Stitch
Vertical Hemming Stitch, see Hemming Stitch
Walls of Troy Stitch, see Staggered Running Stitch
Weaving Stitch, see Darning Stitch
Whip Stitch, see Overcast Stitch , see also Oversewing Stitch
Zig Zag Stitch
List of References
100 Embroidery Stitches. 1967. Glasgow, Scotland: Anchor Embroidery Stitches.
Birrell , V. 1959. The Textile Arts. New York , NY: Harper & Row.
Brown, E., F. Faile, and S. Fishman. Plain Sewing and Embroidery Basic Stitches. Handout distributed at the Second Stitching Symposium of the Textile Conservation Group.
Clabburn, P., and H. Von Rosenstiel. 1976.The Needleworker's Dictionary. New York, N Y: William Morrow and Co.
Complete Guide to Needlework. 1979. Pleasantville, NY: The Reader's Digest Association, Inc.
Complete Guide to Sewing. 1978. Pleasantville, NY: The Reader's Digest Association, Inc.
de Dillmont, T. 1972.The Complete Encyclopedia of Needlework. Reprint of 19th century DMC book. Philadelphia, PA: Running Press.
DMC Encyclopedia of Needlework. 1978. Philadelphia, PA: Running Press.
Ennes , A.H. 1990/91. "The Stabilization of Edges and Ends; Gradations of Intervention." The Textile Museum Journal 29-30:34-41.
Fenyvesi, L. 1990. "Stitches for Conservation. " Presented at the Second Stitching Symposium of the Textile Conservation Group. New York, NY. Photocopied.
Finch, K., and G. Putnam. 1985. The Care and Preservation of Textiles. London, England: B.T. Batsford Ltd.
Flury-Lemberg, M. 1988. Textile Conservation and Research. Bern, Switzerland: Schriften der Abegg-Stiftung.
Gostelow, M. 1982. The Complete Guide to Needlework Techniques and Materials. New Jersey: Chartwell Books, Inc.
Landi, S. 1985.The Textile Conservator's Manual. London, England: Butterworth.
Leene , J. E. , ed. 1972. Textile Conservation. Washington, D.C. : Smithsonian Institution Press.
Morrell , A. 1990.The ATN Guide to Structural Sewing: Terms and Techniques. Manchester, England: Archeological Textile Newsletter. Photocopied.
One Hundred Embroidery Stitches: Book No. 150 . 1964. New York, NY: Coats and Clark's.
Picken, M. B. 1943. Modern Dressmaking Made Easy. New York, NY: Funk and Wagnalls Co.
Proctor, R. N. and J.F. Lew. 1984. Surface Design for Fabric. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press.
Ryan , M. G. 1979. "The Complete Encyclopedia of Stitchery". Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., Inc.
Stitch Guide. A Study of the Stitches on the Embroidered Samplers in the Collection of the Cooper-Hewitt Museum. 1984. New York, NY: Smithsonian Institution Press.
"Stitches Used in Textile Conservation." 1986, Revised 1995. CCI-IIC Notes #13/10. Ottawa, Canada: Canadian Conservation Institute.
Swift, G. 1984. The Larousse Encyclopedia of Embroidery Stitches. New York, NY: Larousse & Co., Inc.
Thomas, M.. 1934. Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches. London, England: Hodder and Stoughton.
Vogue Sewing. 1958, 1980, 1982. New York , NY: Harper and Row.