What is Madeira Embroidery?

Posted by on 9/3/2017 to News
Madeira embroidery became well known in 1850, originating on the island of Madeira (Portugal) and acknowledged as the finest of its type in the world. It offers a distinctive style of long stitches that create a wide border, and often the fabric is cut out and threads joined within these openings to further accent the linen that it adorns. The original pieces were produced by hand and helped create a cottage industry for the women of the area.

Madeira embroidery was exported to Victorian England during this period and was highly sought after. Quality dropped substantially when the industry was taken over after the first World War and many pieces of mass-produced, poor quality Madeira embroidery landed on American shores. After the war as America prospered, demand for high quality pieces was reborn and many of today's existing companies were founded. The market for Madeira embroidery remained strong until the 1950's. 

Vintage linens featuring Madeira embroidery may vary greatly in quality and price. Some very lovely pieces can still be found from the Art Nouveau period where design elements were particularly well presented in the Madeira embroidery style.