Tambour/ Aari Embroidery


Recently, I stumbled on a beautiful form of embroidery that I had no idea about Tambour/ Aari embroidery. If you do a search on Pinterest a new world of embroidery and beading jumps out at you….how could I have lived so long and never have known!

From what I can gather tambour embroidery is an ancient art with early examples coming from China, India, Persia and Turkey. This embroidery was brought to Europe and the US in the 18th and 19th centuries, some say that tambour embroidery is an early form of crochet which becomes pretty obvious once you see how the stitch is formed.

Tambour embroidery is easily put a chain stitch but instead of using a needle a tambour hook is used. Tambour hooks similar to a small, sharp crochet hook. Aari embroidery actually does use a very small crochet hook (US size 14) and is typically seen in the Indian form of this embroidery.

Tambour/ Aari embroidery allows you to cover a large area fairly quickly once you get a hang of the stitch but its real glory is in the beading. Many times I would pick up a gorgeously beaded dress and wondered at how they were able to stitch each bead on to the dress so meticulously and now I know! Tambour is what major couture houses use when they need to bead and it turns out amazing!

I was desperate to find some useful information on this art but there really isn’t much out there but here are a few good links:

1) great picture tutorial on the basic stitch: http://embroideryaddict.blogspot.com/2008/08/chain-stich-in-tambour-work.html

2) the master Mr. Robert Haven video on the basic beading stitch:  –> he also teaches one of the classes offered in the US but he is located in Kentucky…I am definitely going to try to attend this class!!!

3) a place where Mr. Haven and many other tambour addicts get their supplies: Lacis –> they have a very good starter set

4) fabric: I haven’t gotten much solid information about what to use but Mr. Haven suggests using a see through silk organza or any see through material to start off with, leaving the chiffon until you are adept at the technique