French Canvas Embroidery

French canvas embroidery is a form of canvas embroidery that was popular in Europe from the 1880's onwards.

It was worked on a single-thread canvas, called tammies or tammy cloth, which came in cream, ecru and white. French canvas work was usually carried out with white knitting cotton (a thickish, rounded thread), although coloured threads were sometimes also used. The designs were purely geometric and included basket, brickwork, diamonds, squares and star forms, which were often worked in blocks of satin stitch. When the stitches are arranged in an all-over pattern, the effect is similar to that of coarse Hardanger embroidery.

Large pieces of French canvas work were often joined together. This type of work was used for bedspreads, chair backs, cushion covers, sideboard cloths, table covers, etc. In the late nineteenth century it was one of the types of needlework that replaced Berlin wool work.


  • CAULFEILD, Sophia Frances Anne and Blanche C. SAWARD (1882). The Dictionary of Needlework, London: L. Upcott Gill, p. 471.
  • MORRIS, Barbara (1962). Victorian Embroidery, London: Herbert Jenkins, p. 31.


Last modified on Sunday, 07 May 2017 18:22
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