La Fontaine’s Fables in cross-stitch have been a firm favourite since the start of Sajou. Even before relaunching the brand in 2005, Frédérique Crestin-Billet had published a small cross-stitch book on this theme. Many of the models in our collection are inspired by vintage pattern charts found in ladies publications, most often reproduced in white on a blue background. These were models for filet lace, popular for bed covers and curtains, half window curtains and table runners, mantelpiece runners and headrests, not forgetting altar cloths, habits and other priestly robes.
The magazine Le Trousseau Moderne contained filet lace projects to fill the home:
bed covers, curtains, cushions and even a lamp shade.
In a newspaper dating from February 1932 we can read “our peaceful ancestors, prepared during their slow hours, fine, spidery stitches; their granddaughters upset the reverence of this patient work, preferring to make objects with quicker results. They replaced the fine needlepoint by larger threads, the delicate stitches by filet lace with large stitches. Our hasty young girls saw that, in the same time and for the same work, metres of filet lace replace the centimetres of satin stitch and needle points.” Already in the modern world…
In Le Trousseau Moderne from the same period, an article commended using La Fontaine’s Fables as decoration: “Without doubt, there are other designs also pleasing on the eye and simpler to produce, but none are so worthy as these 17th century classics.” And further on, ‘How astute is the industrious housewife who abundantly fills her home with these filet lace and embroidery vibrant pictures which make you laugh and make you think! It is as if she spreads a beautiful image book on the furniture where both large and small find without searching a charming distraction and a discreet lesson.”
Another magazine with some ideas for La Fontaine and Perrault decorations.
Here are projects in filet lace, satin stitch and Richelieu embroidery.
As you will have gathered, filet lace was very fashionable at the beginning of the 20th century and ladies handcraft magazines were full of ideas for decorating the home with it. As well as La Fontaine’s fables, there were also tales from Perrault, numerous mythological motifs, allegorical and floral compositions, and a large quantity of chubby cherubs. Fashions change, but the patterns remain.
Filet lace was not meant to be colourful and the motifs in the archives were presented in different formats. We have unified them, sometimes completing them and adding a multicolour version. We didn’t have all the Fables in our collection so we created them: there are now 24 Fables in our collection, the 25th in the series being a portrait of Jean de La Fontaine.
We have regrouped them into four kits which are sewn on a linen band. Each kit when finished measures 20 x 150cm. Sew the title at 5cm from the top.
Be careful to follow the pattern chart: the overlapping of the letters in the titles can be different from one fable to the next.
Our four cross stitch kits which, together, represent 24 Fables.
The first kit contains The Cicada and the Ant, The Crow and the Fox, The Wolf who became a Shepherd, The Hare and the Tortoise, The Iron Pot and the Clay Pot.
The second kit comprises the following fables: The Wolf and the Lamb, The Stag seeing himself in the Water, The Milkmaid and the Urn, The Fox and the Stork, The Wolf and the Dog, The Town Rat and the Country Rat.
The third kit consists of The Lion and the Rat, The Tortoise and the Two Ducks, The Two Goats, The Peacock complaining to Juno, The Fox and The Goat, The Frog and the Ox.
Finally, the fourth kit: The Bear and the Two Companions, The Wolf and the Stork, The Hare and the Frogs, The Lion and the Gnat, The Oak and the Reed, and The little Fish and the Fisherman.
We have added texts from the Fables in French on the pattern charts.
The English version of these texts can be found on our site. A great way to discover
or rediscover these tales which are just as valid today as they always were.
All the Fables are available as individual pattern charts or as groups of six on special offer. See our La Fontaine’s Fables pattern section.