07 May, 2006

UWYH – Revisiting my Stash

Vintage Monogram Stencils

Monogram Stencils

In my vintage sewing notion collection I have quite a few copper (as well as tin and brass) monogram stencils. I have a thing for monograms and letter/abcdaire embroidery pattern in general.

One of my Redwork WIPs is an alphabet sampler.

ABC Collection for

I can’t keep from buying monogram stencils and collecting ABC embroidery pattern whenever I come across some interesting or old...

By now I also own a complete set with blue and white fabric ink cakes in little porcelain bowls as well as the proper stencil brushes in it's original packaging with instruction.

Schablonen für die Wäschestickerei

I did use the stencils for embossing or printing on fabric but so far I have only once embroidered a monogram with them.

For this monogram I even took a lesson in a local embroidery school to learn how to do it “properly”. It was fun, very intersting but also a lot of work.

To think that young women would embroider their entire dowery linens with monograms ....

Copper Monogram Stencil and tools

Some time ago I started to transfer most of my copper monogram stencils with red fabric paint on white cotton.

This is one of my non-Redwork UFOs:

Monogram Stenciled Quilt - UFO

The final quilt with alternating natural linen and stenciled white cotton blocks I planned to finish with a white cotton backing and thick batting for a warm and cosy lapquilt. It was planned to be finished by last christmas...but then I am not going to feel guilty as it is my UFO finishing time and I should have it ready to quilt this summer.

Those are not copper but still monogram stencils. It is a little collection of pinprick monogram patterns which I suppose are from approx. 1954 (The envelope they were stored in has a poststamp from that year).

Parchment Pinprick Monogram Pattern

I read about this method of transferring Redwork pattern. And interstingly enough in a tour of an old traditional porcelain manufacturer I saw porcelain painter who used the same technique with pattern pinpricked into metalfoil and charcoal as the painting medium.

From the number of pinprick patterns and the dark blue fabric ink on most of them it looks as if they where used quite often. I will have to give it try just see how it works out.

I also found an older German craftbook - “Das Grosse Buch der Handarbeiten” from 1978 - it has a nice description on how to use the copper stencils in it.

1978 Craft Book Article on Copper Monogram Stencils

In the German magazine Living & More special edition „Country-Träume“ from 2005 (I think) I found a little feature about copper monogram stencils. They even mentioned Kirsch Interior as a current source to buy brand new vintage copper monogram stencils. They can be found under "bei Heidi und Großvater - Etwas selbermachen"

Now and then I found articles and creative how-to projects for embroidered monograms in craft books or magazines. In 1991 the “Brigitte” magazine claimed in one of their “Brigitte Kreativ” supplements that copper monogram stencils would be readily availabe in all craft shops and department stores (Beck in Munich was given as an example) – which unfortunately was not true. It seems that any producer of copper monogram stencil went out of business by now.

A good source for monogram / alphabet emboridery pattern is the Italian embroidery magazine
RAKAM. They regularly have beautiful ABCs also as iron-on transfers in their editions.

A wounderful book – unfortunately out of print – is Eva Maria Leszner “Monogramm Stickereien” (Publisher: Rosenheimer). It is in German and the text is indeed very interesting reading but it also has a lot of wounderful pattern and examples for every letter of the alphabet. Furthermore she gives very clear directions how to embroider them.

An online source for free downloads of vintage “Sanjou” (Frensh) monogram embroidery pattern is
la maison danael. Most of the old booklets are cross stitch ABCs but it has also one “regular” monogram embroidery pattern.

An old German letter alphabet I found on this

And another wounderful Frensh site is
Netmadam with an article (all in Frensh) on “Weißstickerei” / “Broderie Blanche”, don’t know the English translation but it is the embroidery technique / stitches used for classic monogram embroidery

Netmadam offers a few very beautiful vintage Redwork and monogram pattern as free downloads:

Among others two 1912 ABCs:
broderie 1912 riche and broderie 1912 simple as well as an Art Deco ABC

eBay Stores specialized on vintage copper monogram stencils I know are

“Grandma’s Antique German Monograms”
“Antique Linens Monograms and More” and


Anonymous said...

Absolutely fascinating! In Japan, they call people like you, who keep the old traditions alive, a national living treasure. If Germany had the same thing, you would be top of the list as far as I'm concerned. You are an amazing woman!

Julita said...

Thanks, it's very interesting. I made a monogram on a cotton sheet, unfortunately I don't have a linen one ;) The pattern was from Rakam:
I'm thinking about making another one.
Do you know there was also a monogram pattern book by DMC? It was published on the beginning of XX century, as a part of series of pattern books. I'm looking for it, found once, but the price was huge :|, perhaps I'll have more luck ;) Check also in Encyclopedie.. Th. de Dillmont, there were some abc's if I well remember.

Rhainnon said...

Wow amazing! It looks like you have french "Bebe" monograms? Is there any way to copy embroidery patterns?! I'm new to this all and want to start embroidering some day soon too!

Anonymous said...

Your work is wonderful! I was wondering if you recal where you found the abc pattern featured in your Redwork WIP alphabet sampler photo? (I am speaking of the font on the smaller squares, that includes E, H, K, B and X). It is lovely and I would love to hear if that pattern is something still in print. Thanks.