These three printed designs are for embroidered hats featuring floral motifs in corded quilting. This is a quilting technique in which two parallel lines of stitching are made through two layers of cloth, then heavy yarn or soft cord is inserted between the layers. This makes a raised linear pattern. They are from a pattern book for embroidery (about 1725) by Margaretha Helm (neé Mainberger) (born in 1659 in Deiningen, died in 1742 in Nuremberg, Germany). Helm worked in Nuremberg as an embroiderer, a teacher of embroidery, and a copperplate engraver who had her designs published by Johann Christoph Weigel.
The V&A has a series of pattern books for embroidery in three parts by Margaretha Helm of which this volume is Part III. It is entitled Continuatio der Kunst- und Fleiss-übenden Nadel-Ergötzung oder des neu-ersonnenen besondern Nehe-Buchs Dritter Theil or Continuation of the Delights of the Art and Industry of the practising Needle or the newly-invented special Sewing Book Third part.
Corded quilting was recorded in 1715 by C.S. Corvinus in his Useful, galant and curious Women's Dictionary as a new technique in Germany. It was fashionable in Europe and Britain. Margaretha Kraus, another designer for embroidery, praised this French technique in the foreword to her pattern book Clear Presentation of various Sketches for commendable Women's Work published in 1727. She stated that 'Marseilles stitching has found the luck that it has been taken up increasingly and become a popular fashion, whereby there is a great demand for useful patterns'. Numerous examples of dress embellished with corded quilting are in public collections in Britain and Gremany.