What is  Drawn thread embroidery?

What is Drawn thread embroidery?

Drawn thread embroidery is a counted thread openwork embroidery technique in which thread ( ither weft or warp) is removed from the fabric and decorative stitches and knots are formed over the remaining thread in a pattern. The work is traditionally done white on white (white fabric and white thread). The holes (open spaces) made by the pulled thread forms a part of the design.

In this work, as the name suggests, you cut and draw the thread/threads and remove it from the fabric. One thread or many threads are simultaneously removed according to the pattern. Once you get a knack for this embroidery it is easy to make fascinating embroidery designs with it.

The drawn thread work is mostly done on linen but you can make this in any regular weave fabric with visible threads.

There are two ways to do this embroidery – you can tie knots on bundles of thread drawn in a pattern or fill the design with filing stitches all over. Check out these two methods here.

Method 1. Bundling and knoting

Step 1

Mark the area or the design for the embroidery.

Work buttonhole stitches around the edges where you will be cutting the thread. This is done so that the thread would not unravel from the edges. A close buttonhole stitch over 2 or 3 threads along the edge is appropriate and enough to hold the design.

I have marked 3/4 inch on the design for pulling out the thread. Usually, thread is counted on the fabric to be cut but this is also an alternative. The thread is cut from the back and the hanging thread is trimmed.

Cut and pull the horizontal thread (weft thread of the fabric)  inside the design area on the  3/4 inch area . You can begin by cutting the fabric along the buttonhole edge ensuring that you are cutting only the horizontal threads. The vertical threads should be intact.

Cut on both ends . Use seam ripper or a needle to lift the thread one by one from the middle. Hopefully, this will be easy for you.

You have to bundle thread on the top edge and bottom edge. These knots will also bundle the threads for knoting later. For that make simple knots following the steps below

Step 1

Weave needle through the buttonhole stitches on the sides on the back of the fabric to anchor the thread. Now Bring needle up 4 threads from the side as the picture below

Then take the needle from the side and come up at the same place you had come up earlier ( 4 threads from the side edge) , enclosing the needle in the twist of the thread. Tighten the thread. This will form your first knot; continue making knots like this every 4 threads.

The completed work will look like this

drawn thread embroidery

Do the same knots for the bottom edge as well.

drawn thread embroidery

Now you should start knoting the threads together in a pattern which is what the drawn thread embroidery is all about.

Thread the needle with a thicker thread than the embroidery floss or two strands of embroidery floss. Anchor the thread under the buttonhole stitches (no need to make knot) then come up to the face of the fabric. You will have to make the knots so that the thread is always taut against the fabric.


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