When I was little, I loved the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
I remember one story – I think it’s in The Long Winter – where Laura received a box of silks for embroidery, but couldn’t embroider with them right away because her hands were so rough (from twisting straw all winter).
As an adult who loves to use flat silks for embroidery, I can totally sympathize with Laura, when she ran her hands over the silks from the missionary barrel, and realized she couldn’t use them right away!
At another point in one of the books, Laura embroidered Christmas gifts for her mother on card or paper – and my guess is, keeping with the popular trends of that time, it was on perforated paper. For some reason (gee, I wonder why?), parts of books that mention needlework have always captivated me, even if, as a kid, I didn’t exactly know what embroidery on paper or card meant.
Embroidery on paper is no new thing. It was very popular in the Victorian Age, and today, it’s enjoying a come-back, mostly in the area of card-making and scrapbooking.
I’ve written about embroidery on paper before here on Needle ‘n Thread, and I’ve even considered devoting a separate website to the topic (though whether I ever get around to it is another question entirely!).
Recently, Needleprint featured an article on about embroidered bookmarks made from perforated paper and ribbon. I thought the bookmark featured in that article was quite charming. It was not just the embroidery that caught my eye – I love the lacy little edge cut from the perforated paper!
The article referred to a website in France, which, as of 2016, no longer exists. It specialized in perforated card or paper and the beautiful things that can be created with it. I found myself completely enchanted by some of the books featured on the website and ended up purchasing a couple. I’d like to show you one.
The book, Broderie et Dentelle sur Carton Perforé, is devoted to embroidery and thread on perforated cardstock or paper. The projects within the book are really beautiful! And though the book is written in French, the instructions are easy to follow thanks to the abundant photos and diagrams within its pages.
Perforated cardstock is certainly ideal for counted cross stitch. The perforations form a grid, so any graphed design – like the monograms in the photo above – are perfectly suitable for perforated paper.
But the projects in this book go beyond embroidery. By cutting out elements from the perforated cardstock, intricate lacy designs are created, forming an elegant frame for embroidered centerpieces.
The book shows different historical pieces made from decorated paper, and, using these historical pieces as models, presents a new approach to re-creating the same or similar looks with modern materials. This pretty lamp shade, for example, mimicks a similar antique lampshade made from embossed and perforated paper.
Embroider techniques on perforated paper are not limited to cross stitch, as this pretty card demonstrates. Satin stitch and straight stitch are used here in combination to form a colorful border and a sprinkling of sweet little flowers.
In the back of the book, you’ll find diagrams and charts for all the featured projects. The charts indicate where to stitch on and where to cut the perforated paper.
If you aren’t able to read the French instructions, you can rely easily on the clearly presented diagrams that show how to achieve the different lacy results from the cutting the paper certain ways.
At the time I bought the book, the website that sold it also carried a wide selection of perforated paper in higher counts than we find in the US, ideal for paper cutting. Alas, I haven’t found a similar source since!
Where to Find
The only place I can find the book available now is through Amazon France.
You can find 14 count perforated paper available at Nordic Needle. It’s great for stitching on, but it does tend to separate here and there when using it for paper cutting. You might need to practice with it a bit and keep some archival glue close at hand for any separations between the colored layer and the stiffer backing.
Hope you enjoy!