If you’ve been reading this blog for any time, you know I have a passion for the history as well as the techniques of crafting. I own several antique books on various needlework techniques, reprints of a great many more, and some fascinating pamphlets, as well. One of the bobbin lace patterns I used for my wedding gown was taken from the oldest known printed collection of bobbin lace patterns, dating back to 1559. It was a pretty – and surprisingly complex! – edging, which I really enjoyed making.
So when I find a good cache of patterns, books of instruction, and historically significant pamphlets available online, I just have to share the wealth with my fellow enthusiasts.
The Antique Pattern Library is a fabulous resource for the modern practitioner of antique needlework techniques. It’s a completely free collection of antique and vintage books and pamphlets for techniques ranging from knitting and crochet to quilting, bobbin lace, tatting, needle lace, beading, embroidery… almost anything you can imagine. Each book or pamphlet is in PDF format for easy downloading and use. There are literally hundreds of resources on this site and every single one is free.
Some of the names listed as authors are familiar to those of us who love antique needlework: Therese de Dillmont, Isabella Beeton, Butterick, Coats and Clark, and the Red Cross. Others are less well known, but have equally interesting and inspiring patterns to play with.
Oh, and if you have an out-of-copyright book or pamphlet in your needlework collection, consider offering it up so that another needleworker out there can have a chance to do the patterns. You’ll find all the information you need to do so right here.