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Museums and Heritage kits and charts

Passionate from a young age about the world of haberdashery and textile and also an embroidery addict, Frédérique Crestin-Billet decided to create an exceptional series of embroidery pattern charts: Museum and Heritage collection. Finding inspiration in the wealth of French possessions and production, each theme aims to make embroidery an intelligent and cultural experience. Each of the subjects starts as a spectacular pattern chart which, once embroiders, makes a veritable masterpiece measuring 60 x 60cm. From this main project are derived numerous smaller pattern charts and kits on the same subject.

Sajou albums and books

You will find here re-editions of albums which made Monsieur Sajou famous in the 19th century. Jacques-simon Sajou (1802-1882) was the first person in France to print embroidery pattern charts on a large scale. Until then they were only available in watercolour versions, inaccessible for most budgets. His album editions earned him many awards and honours during the great industrial and Universal exhibitions. The Sajou albums were edited by seris of formats and colours, each having an identifying number.

However, sometimes identical patterns could be found in albums with different numbers and, quite the opposite, different patterns could be found in albums with the same number. One question we are often asked – how can we tell the age of the old Sajou albums? It is very difficult, as there were many different editions over many decades.

However, there is a way to identify them by the address on the cover page. You can find all the explanations in Madame Sajou’s Diary in the article about the history of Maison Sajou.

Vintage style pattern charts

According to history, a certain Wittich, an engraving merchant from Berlin who, in 1805, was the first person to propose cross-stitch pattern charts which were painted with watercolour. His success was immediate and the method was quickly imitated in many European countries.

In France, Monsieur Sajou was one of the pioneers of cross-stitch pattern charts and coloured pattern charts for tapestry.  First with the watercolour models and later by printing the famous little Sajou albums, for which he won numerous prizes during the universal exhibitions.

Basketweave tapestry

These needlepoint kits contain mono canvas and Laine Saint-Pierre. They are sewn in basketweave stitch which gives a solid finish to your project. With basketweave, there is often more thread on the back of the canvas than on the front. You will find all the explanations with the kit.

Traditional embroidery

Traditional embroidery is a treasure trove of stitches, from the simple running stitch to the more complex satin stitch or chain stitch, giving an infinite number of results. Find some of the more common stitches in Madame Sajou's Diary.
We have also grouped together these main stitches in a new Sajou album n°916.
You will find in this section printed motifs to embroider, downloadable motifs, Solufix, embroidery linens etc…

Embroidery threads

Many brands of both sewing and embroidery threads disappeared during the 20th century, often after mergers between the different manufacturers. Many brands in France are now only known by collectors of vintage haberdashery: Ferdinand Suzor, Cotons Louis Viarmé, Maurice Frings, all absorbed by Cartier-Bresson who merged with Thiriez to be bought out by DMC in the 1960's. In such a context it was a challenge to launch Retors du Nord in the 21st century!

Embroidery fabrics

All our embroidery fabrics are made in France. Our 12 count and 16 count per cm linens are reputed for their quality with a very even weave and just enough starch to make embroidering a pleasure. Some of our clients have even discovered the joy of embroidering on linen thanks to our fabrics.

In France, linen cultivation is one of the specialities of the Upper Normandy region. This plant is sown between March and April and needs about 100 days to reach 1 metre in height. The flowering in June is very short-lived: it flowers in the morning and withers in the afternoon. Mid-July, the whole flax plant is pulled up, including the roots and left to dry in the fields before threshing, to remove the seeds which will be planted for the next harvest. The stalks are left in the fields for a process known as retting, which literally means rotting, to separate the fibres.

Lace bouts crochet

Calais cocoons and Caudry cocoons, special Egyptian cotton lace threads, twisted linen thread specifically designed for lace: all the Fil Au Chinois threads for bobbin lace can be found here. You will find thread thicknesses in each of the sub-categories. These excellent quality threads can also be used for a multitude of other projects: whitework, boutis, sewing, quilting...You will also find here special cottons and roving for boutis and trapunto as well as the cotton XF balls, which can be used for both knitting and crochet, but also for certain embroidery techniques.

Sewing kits

Here are some small sewing kits which can be made up really quickly: everything is already printed on the fabric! Just cut along the dotted lines and follow the instructions for sewing and finishing. No need for calculating margins, it’s quick, easy and fun to make. These revolutionary kits are directly printed on high-quality linen and made in France.