Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Cutwork, Filet Lace, and Needle Lace


Amazon Books

When I think “cutwork” and “filet lace,” I generally think of antique linens. We live in a busy world, and our fast-paced life doesn’t seem to allow us to slow down and make ’em like they used to. If you’ve ever come across antique linens – whether in a “real people” store or online – if you’re like me, you’ve asked “How the heck could they do that?” The stitches are tiny; the needlelace is intricate; the drawn-thread work is extensive; and the end product is worthy of a museum. But there’s no name – no artist – just a piece of linen, waiting for the highest bidder.

But the art of creating beautiful home linens by hand is not entirely forgotten. There are some good resources out there – here’s an “obscure” one that I came across one day…

When I first came across Iva Rose Vintage Publications, I was looking for information on needle lace. I had a purchased an antique linen with needle lace inserts, and I wanted to “remake” it. But I didn’t know how. I started searching, bought books, and invested quite a bit in the whole idea. When I came across this website, I knew I had hit something “special.” Iva Rose offers digitally restored reprints on some old, old stuff. Many of her reproductions were originally published in the early 1900’s. The ones I was particularly interested in were by Carmela Testa & Co. of Boston. The series on Italian cutwork and filet lace is a real treasure.

Iva Rose Vintage Publications is doing a “good work” by preserving these old magazines, which are really part of our heritage. If such works are not digitally preserved soon, I don’t think they’ll be around long. What a good idea to collect and reprint these publications!

The books are not necessarily for beginners. It does help to have some knowledge of basic stitching. Don’t expect the colorful, step-by-step patterns that we see in most embroidery books today, either. These are black & white, and the directions are primarily text, although the Carmela Testa books have plenty of diagrams and patterns – a wealth of them! – and good, clear directions with photos of the essential elements.

If you invest in these, you invest in the past and the future. They’re wonderful to have. If you are interested in beautiful linen work, and if you can afford the set, you won’t be sorry. If you can’t afford the whole set at once, buy a book here and there.

Thanks, Iva Rose Productions!



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(5) Comments

  1. Mary, thank you for this information. I am interested in historic needlework patterns and designs and Iva Rose is a fabulous resource. I actually prefer having access to ‘new’ versions of these old publications rather than having to take care of the originals (of which I have several). I encourage anyone who is interested in historic needlework to patronise Iva Rose.

  2. I think the site has disappeared? At least, although I get IvaRose.com, it just offers further internet searches, the way taken-over-defunct-domains sometimes do.

    1. Iva Rose Vintage Productions has an Etsy shop here:


      I will say, though, that many of the titles she carries are available for free download on the Web because the copyright is LONG since expired. (These books are from the 1500s to the early 1900s.)

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