Voided Work

16th C Voided Work Fragment, Italian

Fragment of Voided Work Border, Italian, 16th C


Voided work refers to a type of embroidery where the pattern is created by leaving the design unstitched and stitching the background in one colour. There are two major types of voided work known as Assisi (from Italy) and Reversa (from the Iberian Peninsula). There are also examples from other areas such as Iceland. It was popular in the 16th Century.

Materials Used

  • high count evenweave linen ground
  • silk thread (most often red, green or blue).

Stitches and Techniques

This type of embroidery is worked in a variety of stitches. Just about any stitch that will cover the ground fabric and accentuate the void of the pattern can be used. However, the most commonly used stitches used through history have included long-armed cross stitch, back stitch, cross stitch, reversable double-running stitch and tent stitch.


Designs vary throughout time, but flora and fauna and figurative designs have always been popular.