Haute Couture Embroidery Techniques

26 December, 2017

The world of Haute Couture is magnificent and immense. We have already talked to you about the history of Haute Couture, what should brands do in order to be called Haute Couture and which fashion houses actually are called Haute Couture. Today we would like to go a little bit deeper and share with you a small part of this beautiful world – Haute Couture embroidery techniques. There are many of them and we will cover just the tiny part, of course. Nevertheless, a very important and exciting part. Enjoy!

Tambour Beading.


With roots from Asia, Tambour Beading is a very ancient embroidery technique, which has been used since the 16th century. Tambour beading evolved from tambour thread embroidery and is named from the drum shaped frame originally used - ‘tambour’ is the French word for drum. It was considered an exotic and exciting craft, and became a very popular pastime amongst women.


Using a sharp hook, instead of a needle, there is only one stitch to master in tambour embroidery. Work is made on the back of fabric, whilst the design will show off on the other side. One more very important moment – the fabric should be tightly stretched.


This technique can be used with beads and sequins, or without – to create a lacy effect. The advantage of Tambour Beading embroidery is the speed - as the stitch is continuous, this allows embroiderers to stitch much quicker than traditional beading methods.

Goldwork Embroidery

Dating back over 1000 years, with its roots in religious and royal embroidery, goldwork has a luxurious and opulent quality. Just as Tambour Beading,

Goldwork Embroidery comes from the East.

Goldwork embroidery uses a wide variety of metal threads including gilt copper and silver and can be combined with other techniques to produce sumptuous effects. In Goldwork embroidery needle is used, instead of a hook. Also, in order to start this process, you would need scissors, a sewing hoop or frame and fabric, of course.

Silk Shading Embroidery

The last Haute Couture Embroidery technique we would like to talk about is Silk Shading. Silk Shading can be sometimes called “painting with the needle”, because the emphasis is on blending color and understanding tonal shade, which creates especially real view. As the majority of techniques, Silk Shading is



also coming from Asia, more precisely – China.

This is an embroidery technique, when stitches are put by small vertical dashes and picture is embroidered little by little by seams. Long and short stitches are used in this technique. The results are magnificent and effective. It can also be used with other embroidery techniques, for example Goldwork, to obtain greater results.