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The tradition of embroidery in St. Gallen

The tradition of textile of St. Gallen in Switzerland is a heritage passed down from generation to generation.

Until the 17th century, the area was best known for its cloth and for its cotton products.

In the 19th century, the region of St. Gallen was a main exporter of embroidery.

Thus, at the beginning of the 20th century, almost every household had a person working for the embroidery manufacturing, at home or in a fabric and this amounted to 50{58a0fea4e3f6a3f373e3774328b232a7823251ed0984a593efc1cf5f35914e63} of the world supply.

With the inception of World War I, the luxury goods demand suddenly recoiled which led to the worst economic crisis in the region. Today, only a few embroidery companies from Eastern Switzerland are producing dreamy fabrics for the greatest designers in the world.

Embroidery on manual machine is still practiced only by a few but you can still admire it in various museums from Eastern Switzerland.

Manual embroidery machine from 1830.

© Textile museum St. Gallen

Manual embroidery machine presented at the Universal Exhibition in Paris 1900.

© Textile museum St. Gallen.

Embroiderer on machine, circa 1958.

© Textile museum St. Gallen.

Embroiderer on modern machine in 2010.

© Dreien, Bruno Hollenstein.


Book on models from 1890 -1900.

© Textile museum St. Gallen.

St Gallen embroidery on manual machine, 1890.

© Textile museum St. Gallen.

Neck lace embroidery after 1900. © Textile museum St. Gallen.

Guipure embroidery from St. Gallen. © Juerg Zuercher.

Guipure embroidery surimposed from St. Gallen, 1960.

© Textile museum St. Gallen.

broderie 1965

Embroidered fabric from St. Gallen in 1965.

© Textile museum, St. Gallen.

Guipure embroidery from St. Gallen.

© Textile museum St. Gallen.

2015 Textile design from the Forster Rohner fabric in St. Gallen.

Pictures used in this post are taken from the Federal Office of Culture FOC website.