Fashion Embroidery by Jessica Pile

Textile Art Book ReviewsFashion Embroidery: Techniques and Inspiration for Haute Couture Clothing Embroidery by Jessica Pile

Jessica Pile fashion embroidery

Fashion Embroidery by Jessica Pile


At Mr X Stitch we love to review textile art and embroidery books for you. There are so many great books to discover, packed with needlework inspiration and textile techniques, so we dive into each book to find out what’s good, what’s bad and let you know why you should pick it up. Here’s what we think in a nutshell.

With its luxurious hardback cover, gold lettering and gold inside cover, this book promises to be something special.  Published by textile book specialist Batsford (an imprint of Pavilion Books) and written by Jessica Pile, a Director at Hand and Lock.  Lets discover a bit more about Jessica Pile Embroidery within the fashion context.

About the author

Jessica Pile is the youngest Production Director in the history of Hand & Lock, the renowned embroidery specialists working in the heart of London. She trained in Theatrical costume design, so well connected to the embroidery world.  A perfectionist with a great work ethic, Jessica has an extensive understanding of costume construction and couture embroidery. She has worked for a variety of artists and high-profile fashion labels, including Gilbert & George, Mary Katrantzou and Burberry…we so do not envy her career path!

Who is the book aimed at?

The keen embroiderer, especially those with a leaning towards fashion, will be eagerly awaiting this publication.  Due to its content, both the traditional and contemporary textile artist would find this an inspirational tome.  I envisage many a fashion student, pouring over this to glean ideas for their own collections, as well as those who are keen to customise their clothes.


The basic chapters and headings are listed at the beginning, with introductory sections, tutorials on basic embroidery and the more advanced.   Beginning with an inspirational overview of the fashion industry, Pile takes us through a selection of designers and couture collections, before moving on to these do-it-yourself embroidery techniques.

The book explores the difference between hand and machine embroidery, questions we may feel too embarrassed to voice as beginners, which are oh so helpful to know.  Pile encloses us personally, helping us to see what type of embroidery is best for us.  Other basic advice covers what materials are needed and how to set up tools, such as a frame.

A snapshot of the contents

What makes it special?

The imagery held within its pages is sublime.  (will come to that more in a second) , however you may find that it makes you a tad frustrated – ‘why can I not make something like that?’.

It is unusual to get a book which has strengths in so many areas.  For example, the images are not just there for show, they are a reflection of what is possible to achieve through embroidery techniques….and guess what, we are taught how to do them too!  So if you have the will to learn, then yes, it might be you adorning pages with your samples like these……

Fashion Embroidery by Jessica Pile
Look at that cross stitch


The unusual to the usual

What materials do we normally think of when we begin to sew?  Why not mix it up?  That’s the advice given in this part of the book.

Jessica pile embroidery

If the images were not of this perfectionist standard, we might never have realised what is possible; they give us something to aspire to:

Fashion Embroidery by Jessica Pile
Fashion shoots juxtaposed with contemporary adornments.

What is wrong with the book?

At first glance, you may think:  ‘This is too advanced for me, I am not good enough.’  Yet with careful reading and a bit of patience, you will begin to see that this is a book to help us grow.

Fashion Embroidery by Jessica Pile
Step by step visual tutorials guide us through the simplest of stitches to the more advanced.


Pile has a way of writing, which reassures and instead of stripping us of our confidence; helps us to believe that with work and effort, we can achieve our embroidery dreams….It is simply up to us how we will use this book.  A table glorifier or an embroidery bible….its your choice, but you wont regret having it in your possession.

Get your copy here….