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.
In addition to textile and haberdashery, one of my other passions is the cement tiles which were found in town houses during the 19th century and have recently had a resurgence of interest. During the 1850's, these tiles were produced on the outskirts of the first cemeteries, notably in Ardeche. This is why we have named our kits and pattern charts after towns and villages of the region. The Viviers model represents the cement tiles that can be found on the floor of our show-room in Versailles and in the Sajou Paris store.
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.
Each of the main large pattern charts is printed in poster format. As well as embroidery instructions on the back of the poster, Frédérique Crestin-Billet leads the embroiderer on a historical discovery.
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.
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.
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!