A Brief History of Embroidery

Embroidery is a needle and thread form of art. It's an ancient art form used to embellish textiles for centuries. The art of embroidery has been evidenced across the ages, so here is a brief history of this timeless form of artistic expression.

The Beginning of Embroidery

According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, embroidery as an art form is over 30,000 years old. It's astounding to think about how far back this art form reaches. Evidence of ancient artisans decorating everything from boots to hats and everything in between has been found in Sweden, Greece, the Middle East, China, and Rome. What was once considered a simple pastime has now been acknowledged as a fine art form.

European Popularity

According to Ancient Origins, the popularity of embroidered goods started to gain traction around the year 1000 in Europe. The royals, the church, and other wealthy individuals used embroidered garments to flaunt their wealth. The intricate garments were lavish and symbolic.

Needle work was a part of every young woman's “training,” according to The Dacorum Heritage Trust. Every young girl learned how to embroider at her mother's knee. Many of the garments and tapestries from this era are now hung in museums around the world.

The Impact of Machinery

During the Industrial Revolution, machines largely took over. Fewer artisans were doing fine needlework, but the industrial revolution would not see the end of this handicraft. There was a resurgence in interest in this art during the 1950s and the 1970s, according to the Victoria and Albert Museum, and there is a renewed interest in this art. Today, some art schools offer education in needle craft.

Modern Embroidery Practices

Embroidered works today are very different from embroidered works of the past. Today, this technique is still used to customize clothing, personalize or brand hats and shirts, and embellish all types of goods. There are beautiful examples of embroidered goods from around the globe. They're still popular because they're easy to customize otherwise mundane garments and goods.

While machinery is used for embroidery today, there are pockets of artisans that enjoy the relaxing activity of crafting art from a needle and thread. Learn more about this wonderful art by contacting And Sew On today. We offer personalized embroidery you'll adore!