Book Review

de Dillmont, Thérèse, The Complete Encyclopedia of Needlework, Philadelphia Running Press, c1978. 2d ed. (Donated by Sharon Pentz)

This 700-odd page encyclopedia, written by Thérèse de Dillmont, was first published in French in 1884 by DMC. It was so popular that it was translated immediately and published in 17 countries. It has never been out of print since.

Why is it still popular today? In it you can find the basics, with good graphics, of any kind of needlework. The 20 chapters are:

  1. Plain Sewing – including smocking
  2. Machine Sewing and Embroidery – more than a little out of date in 2015!
  3. Mending – patching and various types of darning
  4. Whitework – Madeira, Broderie anglaise, Renaissance, Richelieu, Wallachian, Venetian, Hedebo and Pique embroidery
  5. Linen Embroidery – numerous types, including Romanian, Greek, Wallachian, Italian, Moroccan, Slovakian, Arabian, Hungarian, and Tambour
  6. Embroidery on Silk and Velvet – satin, long and short, and various other stitches, including Chinese, Maltese, Arabian and Renaissance embroidery
  7. Gold Embroidery – including Chinese goldwork
  8. Applique Work
  9. Tapestry – many needlepoint stitches
  10. Knitting – stockings, bedspreads, lace, Tunisian, Syrian [sic]
  11. Crochet – including Bosnian, Tunisian, Hairpin and Irish
  12. Tatting – braids, medallions and bedspreads
  13. Macrame – (very fine, not the rough stuff we made in the 70’s), braids, insertions, fringes
  14. Filet Lace – meshes, medallions, darned, Richelieu
  15. Openwork on Linen – various stitches, Hardanger, Persian, Yugoslavian, Ukranian, Spanish, Mexican
  16. Embroidered Laces – Dresden, Colbert, Limerick, Carrickmacross, Spanish, Moorish, Filigree
  17. Needlemade Laces – Venetian, Ritecella, Hedebo, Sol, Teneriffe, Chebka, Turkish, Albanian
  18. Pillow Laces (bobbin lace) – Torchon, Braid
  19. Needlework Trimmings – hems, braids, fringes, tassels
  20. Miscellaneous Directions – transferring designs, starching, cleaning

P.S. Thérèse de Dillmont edited over 100 booklets for DMC, including techniques, motifs, and alphabets. You can download many of them free from these websites: