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Fancy-work is an eighteenth and nineteenth century English language term often used for embroidery.

It is more precisely known as fancy needlework, distinguishing this form of needlework from plain sewing. While plain sewing was carried out by oneself or within the family, fancy-work was a pastime for 'ladies' when in the company of other women from outside the immediate family. Other forms of fancy work, apart from embroidery, included drawing, knotting, netting, and painting.

The word is frequently used in Henry James's Washington Square, when referring to the daily activities of the daughter of the household, Catherine Sloper.


Last modified on Sunday, 14 May 2017 12:25