23 October 2006


This post is prompted by a comment by Pam over at Kitty and Me Designs. She mentioned that the first charted patterns were published in 1804. This isn't quite correct. (Although the patterns she is talking about are presented in a much nicer format).

Modelbuchs or modelbooks are the name given to the early printed patterns books that became widespread in the mid-16th Century. Most are divided into two or three sections, in no particular order.

The first type resembles modern crosswork patterns. They are worked on a grid in black and white. They could be used for any number of counted-work techniques, such as long-armed cross stitch to produced Voided or Assisi work or needlepoint. An example from Paganino:

Here is my version of this pattern, done in silk in long-armed cross stitch:

The second type is designed for making needlelace, a forerunner of modern bobbin-based laces. An example from Paganino:

The third is free form patterns, which could be used for a variety of things, including use on chemises or shirts or for goldwork on outwear such as bodices, doublets or capes. From Shorleyker:


Online modelbuchs:
Printed Modelbuchs - Modern Reprints:
  • Bassee, Nicolas. "German Renaissance Patterns for Embroidery: A Facsimile Copy of Nicolas Bassee's New Modelbuch of 1568, with an introduction by Kathleen Epstein". Austin: Curious Works Press. ISBN 0-9633331-4-3.
  • Gesner, Konrad. "Curious Woodcuts of Fanciful and Real Beasts: A selection of 190 sixteenth-century woodcuts from Gesner's and Topsell's natural histories". New York: Dover Publications, Inc. ISBN: 0-486-22701-4
  • Hofer, Hans. "Ain new Formbuech'len der weyssen Arbeyt". Nieuwkoop, Netherlands: Miland Publishers, 1968. (Facsimile of the 1545 edition published in Augsburg)
  • Nourry, Claude and Saincte Louie[sic], Pierre de. "Patterns: Embroidery - Early 16th Century". Berkeley, CA: Lacis, 1999. ISBN 1-891656-16-3.
  • Shorleyker, Richard. "A Schole-House for the Needle: Produced from the original book printed in 1632 and now in the private collection of John and Elizabeth Mason". Much Wenlock, Shropshire: RJL Smith & Associates, 1998.ISBN 1-872665-72-1.
  • Sibmacher, Johan. "Baroque Charted Designs for Needlework". New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1975. "This Dover edition, first published in 1975, is an unabridged republication of the 1880 edition of Newes Modelbuch . . . . Inn Druck verfertigt, a work originally published in Nuremberg in 1604. . ." ISBN 0-486-23186-0.
  • Vinciolo, Federico. "Renaissance Patterns for Lace, Embroidery and Needlepoint (An unabridged facsimile of the "Singuliers et nouveaux pourtraicts" of 1587)". New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1971. ISBN 0-486-22438-4
  • Newell, Kathryn. "Needlework Patterns from Renaissance Germany: Designs recharted by Kathryn Newell from Johan Sibmacher's Sch?n Neues Modelbuch, 1597". Boulder, CO: Costume & Dressmaker Press, 1999.


Plus the book by Peter Quentel done by Linn Skinner of SkinnerSisters.com