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My name is Gerrie Wydeven doing-business-as Wydeven Designs. I have been conducting this small GREEN business since 2004. Wydeven Designs, based in the Atlanta, Georgia area, sells CHAIRS, LOVESEATS, CHAISES, SETTEES and other fine, well-constructed refurbished upholstered pieces. I love to travel, cook, take photographs and generally follow style and decor topics as well!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Upholstery Fabrics - Crewel

I just had an opportunity to use some hand-embroidered crewel fabric that I had picked up last year at an estate sale - a  small bolt of multi-colored fabric of unknown vintage. I had waited a long time to use it because I wanted to be sure that I found the right piece(s) for this great and hard to find (and afford) fabric. A set of Jacobean style armchairs bought later in the year were just the ticket - I just listed them and they are simply beautiful.
Chairs upholstered in hand-embroidered crewel fabric.  I think the pattern is called "Tree of Life" based on my research.
I spent some time looking for more information about this great fabric (and verifying how costly it is) and found this interesting information - link to website.
Crewel is a special kind of embroidery done with a pointed hook and used for drapery and upholstery. Rows of chain stitch done with a pointed hook form solid patterns usually rotating from the center and creating an embossed effect to add richness to the textile. Crewel is done on the thick material popularly used for furnishing and usually carries flowing floral and creeper designs. 
All embroidery is done by hand in either single or double ply wool. Designs are available in assortment of colors ranging from a single color to multicolour embroidery. The price is related with the amount of embroidery done on the material.
The technique is at least a thousand years old. It was used in the Bayeux Tapestry, in Jacobean embroidery and in the Quaker tapestry.The origin of the word crewel is unknown but is thought to come from an ancient word describing the curl in the staple, the single hair of the wool.
Here is an example of a single color embroidered crewel.  This fabric had a much looser weave and was very heavily textured.  The background linen was very thick and heavy.  These Wydeven Design chairs sold in 2011.
There are so many variations and styles of crewel and I found dozens just by googling "crewel fabric images" on the web. The prices also vary greatly. I have found some below $100 a yard while others are closer to $1000. This is one fabric that also sells well as vintage material and is highly prized for its provenance.
I hope to find and use more of this wonderful type fabric in future refurbishing projects.

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