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History of Madeira Embroidery

The history of Madeira Embroidery goes as far back as the history of the Madeira Island itself, colonized by Portuguese settlers more than 500 years ago.

Madeira hand embroidery is generally recognized as being the finest of its kind available in the world, and is part of the history and culture of this extraordinary beautiful island.

Before reaching its final destination in the hands of the consumers, Madeira embroidery has its own history:

The first step begins with the creativity of the designer who sketches and elaborates the drawing on tracing paper.

Then with a perforation machine the drawing gets perforated by hand. The perforated paper is laid on the fabric and with the help of a sponge, soaked in washable blue ink, the drawing trace marks gets transferred onto the fabric.

With all that steps completed, the embroider women, who normally live in the countryside, can start tracing the marked areas using needle, thread, very skilled agile hands and a variety of stitching techniques to compose unique and beautiful pieces of work.

Depending on the size and the quantity of stitches, a singular piece can take days, weeks and sometimes months to be finished.

Once the embroidery work is completed the piece will be cut, washed and ironed.

For centuries, pieces of linen, cotton, silk and organdie have been hand embroidered in Madeira, producing table cloths, bed and bath linen and home accessories.

I hope you enjoy some the pictures of the embroidery process and the great time my friend Mariana and I had together while visiting and exploring the Island of Madeira.


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