This page provides useful information and resources for and about needlework done on Perforated Paper.

How to stitch on perforated paper

Perforated paper cannot be rolled or folded. When stitching on paper, the piece needs to remain flat. If your project is small then you can hold the piece of paper in your hand as you work. If the project is larger, such as a motto design which requires a 12" x 22" piece of 14 count paper or a 12" x 18" piece of 18 count paper, here is what you can do at home without buying anything extra: sit at a table and use a frame weight on each top corner to hold your paper. Let the paper hang off the table toward you so that your hands are free for stitching. Perforated paper is sturdy stuff and you should be able to work your project if you don’t mind sitting at a table. Some stitchers prefer to put the paper on stretcher bars, just as they would a needlepoint canvas. There is one frame that may be available specifically for stitching on perforated paper, the Dutch Treat Frame, which offers flat clamps to hold the paper. Start with what you have and see if that works for your project.

Most design charts that call for perforated paper as their "fabric" use the familiar symbols found in current Cross stitch designs. Usually perforated paper is recommended for designs that are mostly Cross stitch. Dutch Treat Designs offers Victorian motto designs that use both straight Cross stitch and the textured stitches found in the original mottoes. Their charts are different than regular Cross stitch charts. This PDF of How To Stitch On Perforated Paper will show you how to read a chart specifically designed for stitching on paper, and introduce you to some of the types of stitches used in the original mottoes – Long stitch, Straight stitch, Half Cross stitch etc. Stitching a design using the same textured stitches that the Victorians used is very similar to doing needlepoint, except today you count the holes in the paper and not the threads in the canvas. The original motto designs were printed on the paper. Today, most of the motto adaptations require you to count from a chart onto a blank piece of paper.

Articles providing information about Perforated Paper

Perforated Paper Needlework History by Diana Matthews
Sage Stitchworks catalog as of 2009 (scroll down for pictures)
The Victorian Needle additional Perforated Paper history documentation (slow to load)
Stitching on Perforated Paper by Thread Bare
Mini class for stitching an ornament on Perforated Paper
Perforated Paper Needlework history by Mishutka Design

Perforated paper for purchase

Wichelt Imports or your LNS sells 9"x12" pieces of 14 and 18 count perforated paper
Dutch Treat Designs sells motto-sized 12"x22" pieces of 14 count and 12"x18" pieces of 18 count perforated paper

Modern adaptations for purchase

Dutch Treat Designs
Sage Stitchworks on Etsy
Diana Leak on Etsy
Also, FYI, Ann Powell in the 1980's and 1990's released several motto designs, in the style of perforated paper mottoes, but adapted for fabric.

The People Behind This Website

I am Claudia Dutcher Kistler. Many of the examples of antique perforated paper needlework that you see on this website are mine. I am a counted thread needlework designer who publishes as Dutch Treat Designs.

None of this would have been possible without the help of other perforated paper owners and enthusiasts. My sincere thanks to the people who have allowed me to use the images of their perforated paper pieces for this website. We all benefit because people have allowed their images and stories to be shared here. If you own a perforated paper needlework piece with a story to share, please contact us.