Old Pattern Books Are Just Plain Awesome

Some years ago, I was introduced to pattern books from centuries past that can be found online in the public domain.  (How I was introduced to them, thanks to a visit to a museum exhibit, will be the subject of a future blog post!)  I often return to them to scroll through pages and pages, seeking inspiration for a new design.

This past fall, I stopped on a few pages from Newes Modelbuch in Kuffer by Johann Sibmacher and published in 1604.

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In that moment, I was thinking about the popularity of band samplers and realized that these bands from 1604, literally over 400 years ago, were simply timeless. What were they originally used for?  Possibly edgings of linens (like tablecloths) or clothing (like around the cuff or collar of a shirt or dress). While I have no evidence that these horizontal designs were ever used as we might use them today for a modern band sampler, it didn’t take a giant leap of the imagination to realize that was exactly what I could do with them.   I put together some that worked well together, all with a two-color scheme.

When I went to stitch this piece, I decided to give a try to DMC Color Variations.  To me, it is DMC’s answer to an over dyed thread, although a little more “structured” than the flowing quality of a typical hand dyed thread.  That said, picking one that had a few shades of green and being pleased with how those shades melted into one another (rather than harsh color changes, as I’ve experience with the DMC Coloris thread), I pushed onward.  I paired the Color Variations thread with a solid green and really liked the overall effect.

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This has proven to be a popular little design, partially for its size and flexibility.  I’ve seen it stitched up (or kitted up) using a variety of threads and fabric, including a number of people using banding for the fabric.

The work of those pattern designers of centuries ago lives on.

You can purchase A Band Sampler Born in 1604 as a paper copy here  and as a PDF download  here .

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