Berlin Work Embroidery Stitches from an 1867 Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine

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Welcome to this Friday’s VTNS (Vintage Textile and Needlework Sellers) Fan Freebie where we share all types of vintage needlework patterns.

These stitches are taken from an 1867 Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine. The parentheses are mine.

The color threads, silk and wool, in the instructions sound beautiful. I can just imagine how lovely these stitches would look in color. Unfortunately, they are in black and white in the magazine.


These stitches form pretty patterns for slippers, bags, footstools, cushions, etc.

Fig. 1. This pattern is worked over common canvas – not Penelope (usually used  for Petit Point where the canvas threads are split for very small stitches) – with black wool and crimson silk. The illustration shows part of it completed and part unfinished. (click on the picture, it will open in a new window for a close up)

Vintage Crafts and MoreGodeys Ladys Book Berlin Embroidery Stitches


The large crosses are worked slantways, each stitch over three threads of the canvas; the spaces between are filled up with double crosses in red silk. A round white bead is placed in the center of each black cross.

Vintage Crafts and More 1867 Godeys Ladys Book Embroidery Berlin Stitches

Fig. 2. consists of a plait pattern and squares in cross stitch. The plait (braid, interweave) is formed of slanting stitches over six threads placed alternately two over and two under. The holes in which each of the next two stitches are to be begun are marked by a cross and a dot.

This plait is worked in crimson wool. The squares in cross stitch are worked in black wool, with a border in yellow silk. A cross is worked in point russe (a succession of back stitches following the line of a design), with the same silk, over each square alternate rows.

For more information on Embroidery and Berlin Work there are two previous posts that share more details.


Berlin Work


Home Needlework Magazine Vintage Cross Stitch Patterns

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On a theme of baskets, since we’re so close to Easter, I found a couple of vintage cross stitch patterns to share from a 1914 Home Needlework Magazine.

Vintage Crafts and More - 1914 Home Needlework Magazine Cover

This is a terrific little magazine that is full of embroidery, crochet and knitting patterns. The article is titled, Cross Stitch Designs for Household Articles.

A couple samples of the finished designs:

Vintage Crafts and More - Cross Stitch Flower Basket PatternVintage Crafts and More - Cross Stitch Wreath PictureVintage Crafts and More - Cross Stitch Basket Pattern

The article describes using these motifs on different types of linens. For fabric that doesn’t have an even weave it explains how to use waste canvas. This website has a post that explains what waste canvas is and how to stitch with it. It’s a better explanation than the one below from 1914.

Cross Stitch Pattern Symbol Chart

A color symbol chart for the designs is included. You may substitute other colors according to your own preferences. The article suggests using three threads of stranded cotton for cross stitching.

Cross Stitch Pattern Symbol Chart

Paragraphs that Accompany the Designs

One great beauty and advantage in these motifs is that they may be adapted and applied to different articles in different ways. By counting the squares, the design can be worked out on any regular weave material, such as canvas, where a prominent thread marks off regular squares. One should count these squares and the number of rows of symbols before commencing the work, in order to determine the exact position of the motifs.

Cross Stitch Pattern Flower BasketCross Stitch Pattern WreathCross Stitch Pattern Rose Basket

Any of these designs may be carried out on plain material, by the use of Penelope canvas or scrim (a light weight gauzy material). The latter being more pliable will require special care to see that the threads are perfectly straight, so that the crosses will be even.

Place the canvas or scrim over the surface where the design is to be worked, and baste carefully in place. The stitches are taken through both material and canvas, working between and not into the threads of the latter, leaving them perfectly free to be drawn out after the work is completed.

Cross Stitch Pattern Cornucopia

The cornucopia design can be used for various purposes. Perhaps the most suitable would be for a towel or scarf, making a border of the motifs along the end. Instead of using a scallop, the ends might be hemstitched, and this, by a great many is preferred on an article which is to be frequently laundered. Cross Stitch Rose Wreath

Saving the Designs

Each motif can be individually clicked on and printed or saved (right click, save image as). The print out of each is large, half of an 8 x 10 inch piece of paper, if you don’t make any size adjustments to your printer settings. I experimented with a couple of the size settings and the 3.5 x 5 inch was nice. Not too small, easy to see to copy and a good size for a motif on a towel or table linen.

PDF Scan of the Full Article

You can also download and save the whole 3 page article with the file below:

Cross Stitch Patterns PDF

The pattern is in PDF format so to read it you’ll need the Adobe Reader software on your computer. Most computers come with it, but it is free and can be found here.

Download Instructions: Right-Click the link 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.

If you like this page, be sure to share it with your friends and like our Facebook Fanpage so you can get updates every time we post new patterns.


This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.

National Embroidery Month – Embroidery Hints and Tips

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cross stitch border patternThe  ancient craft of embroidery is being celebrated this month.  Ancient, because examples of surviving Chinese chain stitch embroidery worked in silk thread have been dated to the Warring States period (5th-3rd century BC ).

When you think of embroidery there are many words that come under it’s heading.  Such as, Cross Stitch, Hardanger, Redwork, Berlin Work, Crewel, Needlepoint, and Smocking just to name a few.

Most of the time embroidery is done by hand, but the computerized embroidery machines available today provide wonderful designs to choose from and the machine does all the work.

We’ve selected some great patterns to share, but first here are some hints and tips about embroidery you’ll need to know before you get started:

EMBROIDERY THREADS . . . Your choice of threads will depend upon the type of embroidery on which you intend to work. Mercerized threads may be used on most light weight fabrics. Heavier cotton thread produces a rich and unusual effect in certain designs. Wool is suitable for use on heavier fabrics.

Silk embroidered mum and leaf patternAll embroidery threads should be boil fast. To work with inferior materials and threads is a foolish waste of time.  When the working thread begins to acquire a fuzz or becomes untwisted, take a new one.

EMBROIDERY NEEDLES . . . The needle with which you embroider opens the weave of the material to enable the embroidery thread to slide through easily. Therefore, when you choose an embroidery needle, the eye should be slightly larger than the thickness of the embroidery thread. Almost all embroidery needles have a much longer eye than sewing needles. The needle ordinarily used is called a crewel needle. The length of the average embroidery needle is about 1¾ inches. A longer needle hinders the worker in gaining speed.

SCISSORS . . . Embroidery scissors should be about 4 to 5 inches long and should have very sharp points.

BEGINNINGS AND FINISHINGS . . .The wrong side of the work should look equally as well as the right side. To begin a piece of embroidery do not use a knot, but make a close running stitch toward the starting point, then make a small back stitch and begin to embroider in the direction specified.

To end your thread, weave the needle in and out of the material under the piece which has just been completed, but do not allow your needle to pick up any of the embroidery stitches. When you feel that the end of the thread is perfectly secure, cut the thread close to the embroidery. Do not carry your thread from one design to the other, as this produces very untidy work.

PRESSING . . . All embroidery should be pressed on a thickly padded surface. The raised face of the embroidery sinks into the softness of the padding and is not flattened by the iron. Place the embroidery piece wrong side up. Cover with a damp cloth. With a moderately hot iron press heavily. Remove the damp cloth and iron until dry. Turn work, and on right side iron only the hems.

FRAMES . . . There are several types of embroidery frames. The hand frames are most commonly used. They can be bought at a very low cost and are made in two shapes, round and oval. When frames are adjusted over a small area of the work, the material is held taut and the work cannot pucker. Larger frames for larger pieces are also available and may be adjusted for almost any size or type of embroidery.

We’ve provided a print out of the most basic embroidery stitches here:  Important Embroidery Stitches

You’ll also find several good videos demonstrating how to do the stitches on YouTube.  Just search ’embroidery stitches by hand’ and you’ll find more than enough to choose from.  Here’s a video tutorial of basic stitches to get you started.

TRANSFERRING . . . The patterns will need to be transferred onto your fabric.  Once you’ve printed them out there are several options you can choose from.  Some are:

A light table or sunny window where you tape the design down then trace it lightly onto your fabric.

Good old carbon paper, but this may smudge on your fabric.

A sewing tracing wheel and paper.

Some craft stores carry iron on transfer material you can run through your printer.

PATTERNS . . . The first pattern is from the 1800s and is a delicate floral design for a collar and cuff. With this pattern you’ll be able to pick and choose the colors you’d like to use and make it your own.  Embellishing a little girl’s dress or the corner of a hankie would be very pretty.

The next is from the early 1900s and is a beautiful Yellow Chrysanthemum Pattern.  Along with the colored picture is the detail of stitch directions and color placing.  There’s a diagram of shades, but the coordinating numbers for the silk thread are probably no longer available, so you’ll have to choose your own.

Here’s a pretty page of cross stitch embroidery patterns.  This is in color so you can match the thread accordingly.  The size of your design will be determined by what size your even weave fabric is.

We hope you enjoy these patterns and celebrating National Embroidery Month with us.  The VTNS (Vintage Textile and Needlework Sellers) members have many embroidery items available right now .


If you like this page, be sure to share it with your friends and like our Facebook Fanpage so you can get updates every time we post new patterns.  Please share your favorite type of embroidery, hints, tips and projects in the comments below or with us on Facebook.

Chicken Scratch Embroidery – What is it and how to do it

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Chicken Scratch Heart Apron
Welcome to this Friday’s VTNS (Vintage Textile and Needlework Sellers) Fan Freebie!

Incredibly messy handwriting.  What does that have to do with needlework?  Just kidding.  Chicken Scratch is a type of cross stitch embroidery done on gingham check fabric.

It has many different names.  One is Depression Lace.  During the Great Depression when women wanted to add lace embellishment to their clothing they used this stitch as an alternative to real lace.


I couldn’t come up with any vintage pattern books that I could share here so I’ve linked to a couple sites about it on the internet. They will explain how to get started and give you some ideas what it can be used for.

Some of the items you’ll need, besides the checkered fabric, is an embroidery hoop, tapestry or crewel needle and floss. Three simple stitches are used in chicken scratch embroidery – the double cross stitch, the straight running stitch, and the woven circle stitch.

It’s very quick to learn and I’ve found a couple sites that show you how to make these stitches. The Nordic Needle has a very good explanation of what chicken scratch is and how to do it with photographs.

eHow — How to Embroider Chicken Scratch

Craftsy Blog — Deciphering the Chicken Scratch: The Story Behind Amish Embroidery

Sarah’s Hand Embroidery Tutorials — Chicken Scratch Lesson I

Since Valentine’s Day is coming up soon, it’s great that one of the most often used motifs for this type of embroidery is a heart.  The Pegasus Originals website even has a heart pattern they’ve shared in this post General Directions for Chicken Scratch.

Chicken Scratch Hearts

Depending on the size of the check in your gingham fabric and the color thread, you can come up with some very pretty designs.  I hope you give Chicken Scratch embroidery a try and if you do make something please share it on our Facebook page.


This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please see my disclosure policy.








Cross Stitch Monogram Alphabets Pattern

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cross stitch alphabet monogram patterns

Christmas is coming and it’s the perfect time to get started on holiday gifts. With this set of alphabets you can arrange whatever three letters you need to monogram a towel, pillow, clothing or anything else you can think of using cross stitch or filet crochet.  Each letter is represented in each size in the diamond shape so combining them is easy. This set of patterns is from 1923, but still relevant for use today. Enjoy!

Download the pdf file of all the monogram letters here.