Embroidery

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Embroidery has a long history and, despite male practitioners, and a substantial role in the decoration of ecclesiastical vestments and furnishings, it has been closely linked to the domestic lives of women. "To know the history of embroidery is to know the history of women" (Parker p. vi). It has been used on small and large scale furnishing fabrics and on male and female clothing to great impact since medieval times in Europe. Samplers have been a way to demonstrate skill and catalog the rich range of stitches and effects available to embroiderers; historic samplers have become much appreciated and command high prices. Some feminist historians have identified embroidery, even more than other needlework, as a repetitive and repressive task promoted historically to construct a submissive femininity within patriarchy. However, in the early 2000s it is also widely acknowledged as an important textile art, an expressive and satisfying medium in its own right. Embroidery was famously represented in the feminist artist Judy Chicago's 1979 project The Dinner Party. It sustains large numbers of specialist publications, courses, and suppliers of yarns, kits, and patterns, and has enjoyed popularity as a way to customize mass-produced clothes such as jeans. In some developing countries, embroidery for export can represent a crucial source of cash for families and has replaced much domestic embroidery formerly done in richer countries.

See also Embroidery; Knitting; Seamstresses. BIBLIOGRAPHY

Buck, Anne. Dress in Eighteenth Century England. London: B. T.

Batsford, Ltd., 1979. Burman, Barbara, ed. The Culture of Sewing: Gender, Consumption and Home Dressmaking. Oxford and New York: Berg, 1999.

Butterick Publishing Company. Making Smart Clothes: Modern Methods in Cutting Fitting and Finishing. New York and London: Butterick Publishing Company, 1931. Byrde, Penelope. A Frivolous Distinction: Fashion and Needlework in the Works of Jane Austen. Bath City Council, n.d. MacDonald, Anne. No Idle Hands: The Social History of American Knitting. New York: Ballantine Books, 1990. Parker, Rosika. The Subversive Stitch: Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine. London: The Women's Press, 1984. Rutt, Richard. A History of Hand Knitting. London: B. T. Bats-

ford, Ltd., 1987. Ulrich, Laura. The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of an American Myth. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2001.

Weissman, Judith, and Wendy Lavitt. Labors of Love: America's Textiles and Needlework, 1650-1930. New York: Wings Books, 1994.

Barbara Burman

DOUBLET The doublet is a man's upper body garment that was worn in Europe between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries. In this time frame, it moved from undergarment to outer garment and from specialized military dress to fashionable civilian dress. The doublet's function as standard everyday attire was primarily to support men's hose, while providing warmth and shaping a man's upper torso. It was used to display appropriate decorative and stylistic features through each period, such as padding, paning (panes or narrow strips of fabric sewn over a contrasting lining), and slashing (pattern of deliberate cuts made in garments as a decorative feature), and it was one of the first garments to display highly technical construction and sophisticated cutting and tailoring skills after the Middle Ages.

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