A History Lesson: Assisi Needlework Patterns and Designs

How to Stitch a Assisi Needlework Pattern for Historical and Modern Projects

Assisi embroidery has a rich history in the cross stitch world, but what is it? Assisi has been mistaken for Blackwork embroidery. Named for the Italian town that the stitching was founded in, Assisi embroidery is basically the background being filled in, but the main motif is not. Blackwork typically does not fill in the background space. Both of them use black floss, although Assisi will use multiple colors  (such as black outline and red filling) or as a one solid color. Below is a small...MORE sample of patterns and inspiration for Assisi embroidery. The patterns listed below are both free and for purchase. 

  • 01 of 05

    Assisi Work

     Mary Corbet at Needle n' Thread shares free patterns, tips and history on Assisi cross stitch. She has patterns ranging from very simple (for the beginner) to intermediate (for the more experienced stitcher). While these patterns are shown in the traditional colors of red and black, why not update them with bright colors or metallic floss. As you can see from the examples listed on her website, the central theme of the patterns really stand out with a process called "voiding", or in...MORE more simple terms, filling in the background and outlining the image. You can read more about the history and see free patterns here. 

  • 02 of 05

    A History Lesson

     If you are looking for more on the history of Assisi embroidery and the design, look no further than the website Embroidery and Embroider. This website is probably the best for information and free patterns. The projects range from small to extremely large, like the one pictured here. They also offer up current information regarding the this type of stitching. Did you know that you can still purchase patterns specifically from the town Assisi and to this day, you will still see women stitching...MORE this type of cross stitch while sitting outside on the front steps of their house? You can stitch up your very own piece of history  with patterns from their website. 

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    Voided Work

    Assisi embroidery is also known as Voided work. As you can see by the piece here, the image is left blank and the scenery is filled in. The main image is "voided" or left blank. When this type of needlework was introduced to the United States, the term Assisi was exchanged for Voided Work. The patterns also became more modernized once the style hit the US. More domesticate patterns were developed in exchange for the more elaborate patterns of earlier times. Berlin Embroidery shares this R...MOREabbit pattern that was originally from a 1925 pattern published by Carmela Testa in Boston. This pattern is free for download. 

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    Pattern Books

     There are several patterns books that you can find for sale on Assisi embroidery. Most of these books are out of print so you can find them second hand or scanned versions of them. One place that has several books for a very good price is Etsy. From religious and traditional to something a bit more whimsical and fun, there are pattern books out there for everyone. 

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  • 05 of 05

    Pinterest

    Pinterest is one of the best places to find all your Assisi embroidery patterns. You will also find inspiration and great modern takes on this timeless needlework. You can see framed borders, handbags, and clothing examples when you search for Assisi. Just make sure that if you save a pattern that it is  free and legally copyrighted. If it is for sale, please make sure that you purchase the pattern from the rightful owner. Check out all the awesome patterns and info here.   Don't forget to...MORE check other ways that Assisi is featured. It is also under Voided Cross Stitch and Assisi Cross Stitch

As you can see, there are many patterns and designs for this historical type of needlework.It has been featured on clothing, accessories, and home items. It is also wonderful for period piece costumes. Once you have the basics down, why not try to create your own patterns and projects. You can turn any pattern into Assisi needlework Give it a go and create your very own stitchy history.