Hvidsøm (Denmark)

Example of Hvidsøm embroidery. Example of Hvidsøm embroidery.

Hvidsøm is a form of whitework embroidery using drawn thread and cutwork techniques, developed in Denmark and belonging to the tradition of Hedebo embroidery. It is also often classed as a form of embroidered lace. Traditional Hvidsøm can be recognized by its one or two rows of chain stitches that frame the main motifs. Originally Hvidsøm was made by the women of the small farming communities in the Hedebo region of Denmark.

Hvidsøm was used to decorate linen garments, as well as household items such as knædug (a pole for drying socks over a stove), pillow cases, the posts attached to either side of the door of a small wall cupboard, and towels. While the peasant society gradually declined in the mid-nineteenth century, Hvidsøm became popular all over Denmark, especially among urban ladies of the upper middle-class, around 1850-1920. It was often used for tea cosies, table cloths or decorative pieces for the living room. The general popularity of Hvidsøm started to die out in the mid-twentieth century.

The pattern was first drawn onto the ground cloth (tabby weave) and then drawn thread work and pulled thread work were used for various areas that were filled with distinctive striped or checked patterns. Between these characteristic fillings, satin stitches and buttonhole stitches were used to outline stems or flower vines and to create small flowers. Typical Hvidsøm motifs include flowers, hearts, leaves, vases with organic forms and sometimes stylised animals.

Also known as: Lærredsudsyning and Maskesyning.

See also the TRC Needles entry onHedebo embroidery. The different styles.


  • ANDRESEN, G. (1986). Bondesyninger på lærred 3. Hvidsøm, Baldyring, Udklipshedebo, Falstersyning. Historie og Teknik, Borgen: Narayana Press, Gylling.
  • BUUS, H. (2008). Hedebosyning: en verden af variationer: katalog (Vol. 1. udgave), [Greve]: Greve Museum.
  • FANGEL, E. (19?). 'Gammel Dansk Hvidsøm', Haandarbejdets Fremmes Haandbøger no. 5, København: Høst & Søns Forlag. 
  • FANGEL, E., A.W. MADSEN and I. WINCKLER, I. (19..). 'Dansk Hvidsøm, Nye mønstre', Haandarbejdets Fremmes Haandbøger no. 6. København: Høst & Søns Forlag. 
  • HVIDBERG, E. H. J. (2000). Tulipanen i Hedebosyningen (Tulips in Hedebo Needle Lace), Jelling Bogtrykkeri A/S: Greve Museum.
  • GLIENKE, Laila and K. EGHOLK (2008). Kulturarv med nål og tråd: hedebosyning for børn og unge. undervisningsmateriale fra Greve Museum 2008. Greve Museum.
  • http://www.grevemuseum.dk (retrieved 13th May 2016).

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 6th July 2016).


Last modified on Wednesday, 10 May 2017 13:03
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