The black silk embroidery on this on this linen jacket from the 1620s creates an extraordinary tonal effect. In the 16th century, blackwork embroidery typically used a variety of geometric patterns within the space defined by the outline of a flower, leaf, insect or bird. A new style of design developed at the turn of the century with the use of speckling stitch. This was a series of tiny seed stitches, longer and worked more densely at the edge of an outline, decreasing in frequency and length towards the centre of the motif, giving a subtle shaded effect. It is thought that the embroiderers were copying the linear visual qualities of the woodblock-printed emblem books, from which they drew so much inspiration for their motifs and figures.Other stitches used are stem, braid and back stitches.
Copy and photos from the Victoria and Albert.