I love vintage patterns. I like them kitsch, I love them nonsensical and I love them pretty. Sometimes I don’t really get them, like the myriad days of the week tea towel patterns. Did people ever really change their kitchen tea towels every single day? Perhaps before dishwashers…Anyway, vintage patterns are a great way to practice embroidery without spending too much money. There are thousands and thousands of patterns of various size and complexity out there, and although you can’t necessarily sell what you make from them, they are perfect for personal use and practice.
Two of the best places to find vintage patterns on Flickr are the two following groups: Hoop Love Vintage Transfers and Vintage Embroidery Patterns. The groups have over 4000 and 7000 images respectively. There is some overlap between the two groups, since some people post to both, but I still check out both of them often.
I found this gorgeous pattern on Faster KittyKill’s blog. She features lots of patterns on there. There are matching roosters, too, but I just liked this chick. It was also good practice for teeny tiny consistent back stitch. Look how pretty they all are! This was a simple, relaxing pattern to stitch, a nice break from the hardcore crewelwork I had done the week before or the mind numbing cross-stitch I am looking at doing this week.
Another great place to find patterns is on doe-c-doe’s blog. The patterns she posts are always cleaned up really well to allow the clearest transfers possible. She also stamps all her patterns which makes it easy to remember where you found it originally.
My best tip is to make use of tools like Flickr’s favorites or a Pinterest board to keep all your patterns organized. That way you never have to wonder where you got the random file you found on your computer that you saved last year was from when it comes to giving proper credit. My embroidery Pinterest board is filled with patterns, inspiration, links to etsy and even a few quilts that are too pretty to pass up. Similarly, my Flickr favorites has both inspiration pieces and patterns from all over Flickr. I also have an rss feed of anything on Flickr that is tagged with the word embroidery, so that I have eye candy in my reader every morning. You can learn how to workout lots of rss feeds out of Flickr on this page at http://www.anotherblogger.com. There is even a quick one line URL you can edit to make a feed out of any tag! Awesome!