Mexican Drawn Thread Work Instructions and Patterns

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Mexican Drawn Work

Recently Cinco de Mayo was celebrated and it reminded me of the beautiful Mexican Drawn Work embroidery I’ve seen.

Mexican Drawn Thread Work Patterns and Instructions

I didn’t find a lot of information on Mexican drawn thread work, but I have a book about it that was originally published in 1889 titled Fifty Designs for Mexican Drawn Work.

You can find a reproduced copy for sale on the internet and some original copies too. Below I share some of the instructions from this booklet.



Drawn Thread

The craft of drawn thread has been around a long time. It’s a kind of openwork on linen where you remove some of the threads from the base fabric then rearrange or decorate the remaining threads with stitchery.

This embroidery technique is especially for doilies, table and dresser scarfs, place mats and anywhere you might use a decorative cloth.

To choose the linen for your project look for a plain cloth that will be easy to draw. Make sure the threads are even and without lumps. The grade of linen you choose will depend on it’s use. A finer cloth for a baby’s pillowcase and a more durable cloth for an everyday table.

Use an eight or twenty weight crochet cotton for stitching. It’s best when the cotton is coarser than the woven threads of the fabric. A nice silk thread would give a nice effect as well.

A frame for your work is very important so that the item will be evenly and firmly stretched. A round embroidery ring in sizes three to eighteen inches in diameter would work too.

When the edge of the work is to be finished with a hem, the hem is usually hem-stitched.


For information about hemstitching with this technique I’ve included the instructional PDF below:

Drawn Thread Work Hemstitching

Embroidery Stitches Used in Drawn Thread Work

Many of the stitches used in Mexican Drawn Thread Work are common embroidery stitches. The PDF below is 17 pages from an antique publication. The pages include instructions and illustrations for embroidery stitches used in drawn thread work.

Drawn Thread Work Stitches

Drawn Thread Work Small Table Cloth

A Tablecloth Pattern

As shown above, I’ve separated out and rewritten a small tablecloth pattern from the same publication. You’ll find it here:

Drawn Thread Work Small Table Cloth

Patterns for Edging

In addition to the tablecloth pattern, I found several edging patterns that you can use on tea towels, pillows and handkerchiefs.

Drawn Thread Work Edging Patterns

All in all this really is a fascinating type of embroidery that has many possibilities for use once you’ve mastered the basics.

PDF Download Instructions

You’ll need the Adobe Reader software on your computer to read the PDFs. Most computers come with it, but it is free and can be found here.

Download Instructions: Right-Click the link below and select either “save target as” or “save link as” depending on what browser you are using or simply click on it and save or print.


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