Redwork work embroidery is a simple embroidery technique in which outlines of designs are made with stem stitch in only red embroidery thread. It is usually done on white cotton fabric. In this embroidery, simple drawings depicting nature, animals, women in hoop skirts, houses, etc are used and the outlines of these shapes are done in stem stitch and are complimented with french knots back stitch and split stitch. A very easy technique to start teaching embroidery to kids.
This was a very popular embroidery during the Victorian period in England and America ; 1880-1940 was the period when this embroidery was most popular. This work was seen everywhere. It was used to decorate tea towels, cushion covers, penny squares etc.
Thread: Redwork is one of the easiest of embroidery styles, because you just have to do the line stitches and not bother about filling the design, and you only need that one colour thread. The red colored work has a charm of its own.Even when the thread color was changed it was referred to as redwork – like Blue redwork.
The stitches used in Redwork: Stem stitch is the most common stitch used. Outline stitch is also used – which is a variation of the stem stitch. Backstitch and split stitch are also used. You can find tutorials for Stem stitch, Outline stitch, Back stitch.
Fabric: You can use white or cream coloured cotton or linen fabric.
Designs: You can use simple line drawings with clear outlines (without too much intricate and minute details). Check out these posts on design inspirations for embroidery and the best ways to transfer embroidery designs to fabric.
One problem with red thread is that it may bleed. You can hand wash the thread and dry without detergent or squeezing, to prevent the colour bleeding.