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Richelieu Alphabet

Here are the explanations needed to embroider the letters of an alphabet with the technique of Richelieu Embroidery. This is one of the techniques that are part of what is called Whitework.

It bears the name of “Richelieu” (1585-1642) in memory of the minister of Louis XIII who imported it from Italy to the French court.


You will find all the letters of this alphabet to download HERE.

The letter that we use as an example measures 12 cm in height, it is embroidered on white linen with DMC “special à broder” cotton n ° 30 and DMC stranded cotton color B5200.


Border the entire embroidery pattern with 2 rows of split backstitch and the “special à broder” thread.


Embroider the first part of the pattern with blanket stitch and the “special à broder” thread. The chain of the stitch must be on the side where the fabric will be cut, so here turned inward.

Start embroidering the second part of the pattern, in the same way, stopping at the 1st bridle.

Following the line of the bridle on the fabric, stretch the thread to the first part of the work passing under the chain of the blanket stitch.


Come back with the thread to the other side of the pattern in the same way.

Make a third stitch with the thread to be positioned again on the 1st side of the pattern. The bridle will be embroidered on 3 strands.

Embroider the bridle with blanket stitch always using the “special à broder” thread.


Finish the bridle by hanging from underneath the thread in the chain of the blanket stitch embroidered on the edge of the pattern.

Continue embroidering with blanket stitch along the border.

Finish by embroidering all the bridles.


Embroider the lines of the drawing with Portuguese stem stitch as in the photo, with Palestrina stitch or simply with stem stitch and 3 strands of stranded cotton.

Embroider the leaves with satin stitch and 1 thread of stranded cotton.

Surround the petals with split backstitch 1 thread and pad the upper part lightly with 2 threads.

Embroider the petals with satin stitch 1 thread and stranded cotton. Fill the centers with French knots  2 threads and 1 wrap.


Here is the finished embroidered letter.

And now, here’s the finished embroidery after cutting the fabric at the center of the patterns under the bridles.