Cover Image Property of PUBLISHER
This image was scanned from my private collection


  • Forward
  • I. Plain Sewing
  • II. Sewing and Embroidering Machine: Machine Sewing and Embroidering
  • III. Mending
  • IV. Embroidery on White Materials
  • V. Linen Embroidery
  • VI. Embroidery on Silk and Velvet
  • VII. Gold Embroidery
  • VIII. Applique Work
  • IX. Tapestry
  • X. Knitting
  • XI. Crochet
  • XII. Tatting
  • XIII. Macrame
  • XIV. Filet Lace
  • XV. Openwork on Linen
  • XVI. Embroidery Laces
  • XVII. Needlemade Laces
  • XVIII. Pillow Laces
  • XIX. Needlework Trimmings
  • XX. Miscellaneous Directions

Title: The Complete Encyclopedia of Needlework
Author/Designer: Thérèse de Dillmont(October 10, 1846 May 22, 1890)
Format/Publication Date: TPB:1978(reprint)
Publisher: Running Press, Philadelphia, PA
Page Count: 700
Book Dimensions(ht. x w.): 9" x 6"
ISBN: 0914294008

SUMMARY- I did not take the time to fill in all the subchapter titles in the table of contents - it would have taken hours to do so. This book is packed with all sorts of useful information and a pleasure to read. The chapter on tatting is 20 pages and goes over the basics. A few of the designs it gives also incorporate crochet. There are books with better illustrations and instructions for teaching tatting, but I found this book interesting to browse. It is considered by experienced artisans the bible for needleworkers. Mlle. de Dillmont is credited for inventing and naming the Josephine Knot in tatting. I'm really pleased to add it to my collection.

The spectacular Becky Clark did some research for Craftree, and is allowing me to share her work here as well:
Thérèse de Dillmont (10 October 1846 22 May 1890) was an Austrian needleworker and writer. Dillmont's Encyclopedia of Needlework (1886) has been translated into 17 languages.[1] She owned a string of shops in European capitals and she was "one of the most important pioneers in the international and multicultural enterprise of hobby needlework in the late nineteenth century".

Thérèse Maria Josepha de Dillmont was born in 1846 in Wiener Neustadt the youngest of five children. Her mother was Franziska Schwendtenwein and her father, Ferdinand, was a Professor of architecture at the Military Academy. Dillmont attended an embroidery school founded by the Empress Marie-Theresa. After her father died in 1857, Dillmont was brought up and educated in Vienna.

In 1884 Dillmont left the embroidery school that she had started with her sister Franziska and moved to France where she wrote her encyclopedia. Dillmont's book on needlework was published after Sophia Frances Anne Caulfeild and Blanche Catherine Saward's Dictionary of Needlework. Creators of these vast works were assisted by the copyright law which allowed authors to freely borrow material from periodicals. The book pulled together thousands of textile designs from many different countries including Egypt, Bulgaria, Turkey and China.

Dillmont apologised for including instructions on hand sewing as machine sewing was much faster. "What is the use of describing all the old well-known stitches, when machines have so nearly superseded the slower process of hand-sewing?"

She did however include a section on machine sewing. This work was aimed at the fashion for needlework and it competed with the Dictionary of Needlework and Weldon's Practical Needlework which was published in monthly parts from 1886. Dillmont's book was tied in with Dollfus-Meig et Cie, a French thread company, and these products were recommended to her readers. In 1884 she had started working with the Alsatian-French textile firm (DMC) at Mulhouse after signing an agreement on 26 October 1884 with Jean Dollfus.

Dollfus was introducing new processes like mercerized cotton, and with Dillmont's help, DMC became known for its publications that stood out from previous books because they included clear instructions and illustrations for their designs. Dillmont's own textile school was at Dornach near Mulhouse, but Dillmont travelled widely as she had her own shops in Vienna, London, Paris and Berlin.

Dillmont died after just four months of marriage at the age of 45.

Dillmont's name was an asset to the DMC company and they continued to publish books under her name after her death. Over 100 books were attributed to Dillmont or her niece who was said to have an identical name. The books continued to be improved and iron-on transfers were included in her books in the twentieth century. In 2004 a translation of her encyclopedia into Russian was published. Her work is available in seventeen languages.

Works Include:
Encyclopèdie des ouvrages des dames. Translated as Encyclopedia of Needlework, 1886.
Album de broderies au point de croix, 3 vols., [c.1890].

The Craftree entry has a photo of Thérèse de Dillmont