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Simple DIY: Antique Cross Stitch Pattern For Modern Denim

Want your clothes look instantly trendy? Learn how to add embroidery to a pair of jeans, denim skirt, office dress or a blazer.

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Hand-stitched embroidery is one of the original ways to decorate items of clothing and home decor. There are many inspiring examples of antique and vintage needlework in museums, antique stores, and charity shops.


Berlin wool work enjoys tremendous popularity for over 200 years now

I recently came across a small collection of Hertz and Wegener embroidery patterns presented by the New Zealand Museum. Hertz and Wegener were one of the first German companies to start mass producing various embroidery patterns in 1804. These realist style embroidery patterns were designed for Berlin wool work and date back to first half of 1800s. Wool yarn on canvas were typically used for this type of embroidery, hens the name. Berlin wool work is usually worked in a single stitch, such as cross stitch.

The Hertz and Wegener embroidery patterns were printed in black and white on graph paper, then hand-colored, and published mainly as single sheets to keep them affordable. The paper patterns were eventually exported to Britain and America, where ‘Berlin work’ enjoyed tremendous popularity. It’s a relatively simple needlework technique and is able to depict any type of imagery: From landscape and flower motives to portraits and religious icons.


Needlework-pattern--America Daily

Needlework pattern, Museum of New Zealand. Part of History Collection.


An easy-to-master embroidery technique

Cross-stitching is an easy-to-master embroidery technique. Opt for less than 7-10 colors and thicker threads if you are a beginner. You can cross-stitch a chosen motive straight on the garment if it’s made out of linen or woven cotton and has a clearly defined weave construction. You can also cross-stitch the motive on a canva first, cut out the embroidered motive, and then attach to your garment.


DIY Traditional Needlework--America Daily
A handpainted pattern fragment. Torch With Roses, Hertz Wegener 491. Scanned with permission of the Rijksmuseum Research Library, charted by Sytske Wijnsma.


This motive is a fragment of Torch With Roses embroidery pattern motive featured in the Hertz Wegener 491, printed around 1820s. The beautiful rose will land on a shirt dress collar (if you’re new to cross stitching I found this this detailed tutorial very helpful).

Due to the pattern being a fragment of the larger composition, you can see there are brown, orange, blue, and navy blue stitches that look rather out of place. I decided to replace these with light and dark green, thus bringing the total color count to manageable seven. 


Cross Stitch DIY--America Daily


The process is pretty straight forward. I used two needles at a time.


Antique embroidery pattern--America Daily

I experimented first with one and two strands of threat. I liked the two better.


Rose patter cross stitch -- America Daily


I always press the finished embroidery for a neat look. I then cut the embroidered rose motive out and top stitched it to the collar of the dress. I used an “invisible stitch”. It’s one of the most commonly used stitches in haute couture garments that leaves no seem visible on the right side of the garment. Please comment below if you’d like to learn different types of haute couture stitches and I’ll post a separate tutorial on that.


Upcycle DIY -- America Daily

The finished project.


Please comment below if you’ve used cross stitch embroidery on your garment, share pictures with us!






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