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Techniques, Projects and Pure Inspiration
Royal School of Needlework Series
Kate Cross

Search Press
23 June 2016/ ISBN 9781782211884
How-To Books/Needlecraft

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde



The Royal School of Needlework was founded in 1872 and is renowned for having the highest standard in the art of hand embroidery. It runs courses and, thanks to Search Press, also produces a series of books. This one gives a good grounding in appliqué with something to offer for beginners through to more advanced stitchers.

Starting with a brief history of the subject – apparently it is 4,000 years old – the rest of the book is devoted to practical learning. From discovering what you need to buy, from fabrics to tools, through to how to get the best out of them, this is definitely a book for those who want to produce the best work possible. Learn about setting up frames, preparing fabric, drawing a design and transferring it and then get stitching. Each short chapter deals with a different aspect of the craft and consists of plenty of captioned photographs and finished examples. The photographs are not often large but very clear, so it is easy to see what is going on and also progress at a pace that is ideal for beginners. Other topics covered include padding shapes, adding texture, working with various fabrics from leather to sheers, using metal threads and ribbon work. There are two actual projects to work through after all the lessons -- one a fern, and the other a poppy. Each puts the novice crafter through what they have learned and is a good way of testing new skills. There are also a few gallery pages for inspiration and at the back, a reference section for embroidery stitches. When you have worked through this, you will be an accomplished appliqué artist. This is a good book for anybody who wants to produce some top quality work.

If you cannot find a good range of appliqué materials locally try for a list of suppliers.

Reviews of other titles in the Royal School of Needlework Series

Silk Shading
Bead Embroidery
Raised Embroidery
The RSN Book of Embroidery

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in Sewing World, Sew Hip, Popular Crafts and other magazines.
Reviewed 2016