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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Looking for Richelieu / Cutwork Embroidery Patterns?


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I often get questions about sources for cutwork embroidery patterns.

Richelieu (also called by the more generic name of “cutwork”) is an exquisite type of (usually whitework) embroidery that involves outlining areas in a design and building little “bridges” of fabric and woven bars, so that pieces of the linen can be cut away, creating a visual contrast between the white linen and the cut away parts of the design. It also often involves some surface ornamentation in whitework embroidery.

There are several publications available that are dedicated to cutwork embroidery, all of them coming from one area of Europe or another.

Today, I’ll show you one publication devoted entirely to cutwork that I really like, and tell you why I like it and where you can get it.

Haft Richelieu cutwork embroidery patterns

The publication is called Haft Richelieu and it is published by Joanna Publishing, in Poland. The publication comes out three times a year, and it contains Richelieu cutwork patterns designed, for the most part, by Joanna Jakuszewska.

Haft Richelieu cutwork embroidery patterns

Although the booklets are written in Polish, they are perfectly accessible to anyone who likes cutwork.

Each publication contains around 30 cutwork patterns, with beautiful photos of the finished cutwork pieces made from the designs.

Haft Richelieu cutwork embroidery patterns

Again, the written instructions are in Polish, but each bit of instruction has a diagram which is clearly understandable, no matter what language you speak.

The diagrams for the cutwork part are standard in each publication.

Haft Richelieu cutwork embroidery patterns

If the projects in any individual issue involve other techniques – like certain types of embroidery or certain finishing-related techniques (such as tassel making) – then clear diagrams are provided for those as well.

Haft Richelieu cutwork embroidery patterns

Each publication contains a two-page removable spread of full-sized patterns. In the more recent issues, one of the pattern sheets is iron-on, while the other is not. The patterns are drawn in bold lines, easy for tracing onto linen.

Haft Richelieu cutwork embroidery patterns

I like the simple layout of the Haft publications, and I like the fact that they provide full sized patterns to work with.

Haft Richelieu cutwork embroidery patterns

I like the wide variety of designs to choose from in each issue.

Haft Richelieu cutwork embroidery patterns

But what I really like about the Haft booklets is that the designs in every issue range from small to medium.

If you want to make something large, you can always work out a repeat on the medium designs, for large tablecloths and so forth, but the majority of the designs are for smaller to medium-sized cutwork projects. And this makes sense, because cutwork is a time-intensive, repetitive embroidery technique, and small projects are much easier to tackle.

Haft Richelieu cutwork embroidery patterns

I love the selection of small ornaments that are offered throughout the year, from Christmas ornaments to snowflakes to Easter and spring ornaments – little pieces that can be made individually and given as gifts or used in the home, that are accessible and realistic undertakings, much more likely to be completed.

Haft Richelieu cutwork embroidery patterns

I love the small doilies, and the ideas for making little useful things decorated with cutwork, like the cell phone case in the photo above…

Haft Richelieu cutwork embroidery patterns

…or the letter pouches, wall calendars, and box fronts in the photo above.

Haft Richelieu cutwork embroidery patterns

But for those who want a challenging, larger project, there are also gorgeous patterns for table runners, placemats, and other table and household linens.

So, what it boils down to is this: I love the variety of projects in the Haft Richelieu publications, because they are accessible, realistic, and beautiful!

The best way to determine what Haft Richelieu publications you’d be interested in (there are some 52 of them available), go first to the Haft publishing page where they list all the issues. Under each issue, there’s a link that says “view more”. If you click on that, you’ll get an idea of some of the projects in the issue. On the older issues, there are more thorough descriptions of each issue’s content.

If you’re in Europe, you can probably find the Haft Richelieu publications in your own country through needlework shops that specialize in fine needlework, whitework, and so forth. You can also purchase directly through Haft.

In the US, Lacis carries the Haft publications. Unfortunately, I can’t link directly to them because they have a weird website, but if you go to their catalog, and then go to “books” and then “needlework techniques” and click on “cut work” and then scroll about halfway down the page, you’ll see them. You have to order by issue number, which is why it’s good to check out the publisher’s website first, to see what’s in each issue. Each issue runs less than $10 a piece, and if you figure how many designs you’re getting in each one, that’s a pretty good deal!

So, for those of you looking for cutwork designs, I hope this comes in handy!

Maybe one of these days I’ll dig out some cutwork and show it to you… I haven’t aired my linens in a while!


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(31) Comments

  1. There is a French magazine called Mains et mervailles that put out a series of technique-related special issues a few years back, and one was on Richelieu. I can’t now find it on their publisher’s website (edisaxe.com), but there is at least one other book on Richelieu there, and a lot of material on other techniques (all in French, though).

    1. Hi Kilmeny,
      Yes,you can find edisaxe.com,it is here I find english or american book traduce to french.Yes, we are lot book for embroidery Richelieu in France and this magazine Mains et Merveilles exite again.Thank you for speak old tradition french and édition de saxe is old too for this.

  2. I LOVE cutwork, and haven’t been able to find a good source for patterns since Labores del Hogar Collecion ceased publication.

    Thanks for the great resource!

  3. I love the round Christmas Ornaments and wondered if you could tell me which issue of Haft had the patterns. I went through their listing but couldn’t see them.
    Thanks so much.

  4. Mary, I think I remember someone sending you a piece of whitework, not sure what exact type, that had your initials on it. If I had time today to look for it, I’d find the day you published a picture of it on this site. I remember that was such a beautiful piece of work! Perhaps someone has the date the photo was published?

  5. HI Mary,
    I find in France very, very old patterns for Richelieu 1853.I want to make sheet for my bed and it is not easy because when you want work correctly. I can give patterns with email if you want.
    Thank you.

  6. Thank you for this info. I have been looking for patterns that are not simple in design. So many are roses. I will go check this out.

  7. One source of cutwork patterns is Anna, put out in the past by the Burda people. I used to buy every one! Then I sold some old issues on eBay, trying to group them by subject . . . bobbin lace, cutwork, Schwalm, lace knitting. This way, the bidding went way up and people were so pleased. I really try to detail what is being offered, give keywords to search on. The very old Burda sewing magazines used to have all kinds of handwork as well as sewing. I remember an over-the-top long-sleeved blouse just full of glorious cutwork. It was aqua with darker embroidery. A search on eBay for Anna or watching for the really old Burda’s may turn up paydirt. Sellers are not describing much these days, but a zoom in on the covers in the picture should help. I must say I am not pushing my selling modern Burdas on eBay, and if I do relinquish and list anything “interesting,” you’ll find it in a search! . . . I used to pick up Mani di Fata from Italy with free patterns and also many you could send for. Absolutely tantalizing eye candy! Just maybe we need to develop our own designs?

  8. Thank you for the information. It seems indeed very interesting. I will check if we can find it in the Province de Québec.
    Another source, but free is this blog from France called Broderie d’Antan, where you can find lots of patterns for Richelieu and all kinds of embroidery. The lady post old patterns that are free of copyright.

  9. I remember watching a dear elderly lady I once knew embroider pale blue embroidery thread onto a white tablecloth. She had already sewed miles of thread around those little cut edges and still had miles to go. She loved her work and it was beautifully done. Such a lovely craft!

    1. Hi Carla,
      M’y grand-mother who was born in 1901 in Québec, Canada, but raised in New England, U.S.A. used to do Richelieu pale blue on white too. And when I did my first piece, even though people were telling me that it should be done white on white, I selected the same color as I remember my grand-mother was taking.

  10. I love Richelieu but find most modern designs rather blah whereas old designs found on old linens have beautiful flowing forms.
    I wouldn’t spend all the time it takes on a so-so design, I would have to love it otherwise I’ll quit before the end.
    The only book I know that has old designs is the big book available at Edisaxe.
    Some pre-printed table mats etc. in quality linen are also available from Tuttoricamo.it

  11. Dear Mary

    I really like these cutwork pieces they are beautiful, I especially like the Christmas decorations and the animal designs and the butterflies they are lovely. There are so many things you can make using cutwork patterns it is endless. This is definitely going on my things to do. Thanks so much for sharing this with us I really like these.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  12. So, Joanna, you made that beautiful blouse from a 1991 Burda! That was so beautiful! Something to keep and wear all your life!

  13. Thank you for the pointer to Haft Richelieu! I’ve been intrigued by cutwork but unsure where to find patterns, especially ones small enough to be doable. I have the luxury of living about an hour’s drive from Lacis, so I stopped off there yesterday on my way to visit a friend in Berkeley. I spent some happy time poring over the issues they had on the shelf and finally selected #44, which has a beautiful art deco rose on the cover and #11, which has a modern-looking round napkin that I really like. If you or any of your readers are ever in Berkeley, you should absolutely go to Lacis’s retail store. it’s brim-full of beautiful things and obscure lace-making and needlework supplies as well as a mini-museum of antique lace.

  14. Hello,i am looking for magazines of cut work -richelieu embroidery to buy,can you let me know please where i can buy them?, thank you.

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