March 14, 2012

THINGS I LIKE: Antique Dutch Darning Samplers

I am in the midst of a new illustration project that has me researching everything from sloths to Hmong Hill Tribe fabrics. My brain is having a blast! I was recently looking for some traditional Dutch textile patterns to incorporate into my drawings and I came across these beautiful antique samplers.

Darning Samplers were prevalent in the Netherlands in the late 18th and early 19th century as sewing was a vital skill for 12 - 17 year old girls to learn. Young girls were taught how to embroider by their mothers as well as in school. Working as a linen seamstress could provide a steady living for these young women and their families. It was especially important for the girls in orphanages to master these skills so they would have an occupation to support themselves upon leaving the home. The training was so serious that these darning samplers were considered a sort of final exam in the orphanages. Because of the bright thread used to show the stitches and craftsmanship more clearly, the patterns and layers of color make beautiful combinations!

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