Perforated Paper Needlework
Samplers With A Story
documented from the collection of Claudia Dutcher



Emma Turtle
Size: 6" w x 7" h
26 holes per inch. English.
Perforated paper, also called perforated cardboard or punched paper, was first used for needlework during the 1840’s. Perforated paper was a popular choice for sampler stitching from 1840 - 1870. The paper used for samplers had more holes per inch than the paper available today, with the holes per inch ranging between 20 - 26. Perforated paper was an affordable alternative to fabric that offered similar and different stitching options. Paper samplers are rarer than fabric samplers and it is fun to see what the stitchers worked with the supplies available.


Size: 10.5" w x 4.75" h
16 holes per inch. American.


Size: 6.5" w x 9" h
19 holes per inch. American.


Size: 9" w x 8.5" h
25 holes per inch. English.
Size: 13.5” w x 9.5” h
25 holes per inch. Likely English.
Composed by W Fowles

My Father Mother Brethren dear
Come to this happy spot
For peace and plenty Reigneth here
And that shall be your lot

My heart beats high with hidden joy
When all of you I think
But when I feel youre far away
It does within me sink

Though you have oceans far to cross
With billows rolling high
The God who holds them in his hand
Will to you then be nigh

But yet A hope inspires my breast
That you may soon be near
Again my spirit riseth up
And leaves no place for fear

Then fear thee not my Dearest Dear
But shortly come away
The happiness you will find here
Will more than all repay.


Rare 1850 New Jersey paper sampler
by Mary Frances Strong
Size: 8" w x 10" h. 24 holes per inch. American.
"Knowledge Is Power" motto above the large alphabet


Size: 7.5" w x 10" h. 24 holes per inch. American.


Maggie Hastie
Size: 16" w x 14" h. 22 holes per inch. English.
...sewed for Mrs. Fletcher, after Maggie’s grandmother’s passing, in memory of their long friendship in hopes we will all meet on a happier shore where friends meet to part no more.



Ann Whadcock
Size: 10" w x 14" h
19 holes per inch. English.


E. A. Barnes Size: 10.5" w x 11.25" h
20 holes per inch. English.


Charles A. Floyd
Size: 7.5" w x 9.75" h
20 holes per inch. American.

Berlinwork & Perforated Paper


Worked in wool by Susan Smith in 1850
Size: 8" w x 7" h. 18 holes per inch.
This piece was likely stitched from a Berlinwork pattern.
It is an great example of a pictorial piece.
Berlinwork is a term that you may have heard used for any type 1800’s needlework worked on perforated paper. Berlinwork was worked on paper, but not all paper needlework was Berlinwork.

The term Berlinwork came from the hand painted needlework patterns that came out of Germany, that were attempting to create a tapestry-like effect in a simpler way. Germany produced patterns and wools for needlework. These counted thread designs could be worked in Cross stitch on fabric or perforated paper. They could also be worked with needlepoint stitches on perforated paper or canvas. Perforated paper was a good option for needlepoint. Many Berlinwork designs worked on paper were worked with wool thread.

Berlinwork patterns were often pictorial, featuring flowers, animals, people, buildings, and geometric designs.
English House Embroidery
Size: 13.5" w x 9.5" h
25 holes per inch. English.
Pennsylvania Dutch Motif Sampler
Size: 3.5" w x 5" h
16 holes per inch. American.
Berlinwork Flowers
Size: 5.5" w x 5.5" h
18 holes per inch

Victorian Mourning Samplers on Perforated Paper


  Size 8" w x 11" h     20 holes per inch
From simple text-only pieces to elaborate creative samplers, using needlework to remember someone who died was a challenge the Victorians took on with creativity. Perforated paper mourning pieces often included unique embellishments such as beads, silk and wool threads, and sometimes even a hair sample from the deceased.

The design and skill displayed in memorial samplers is always appreciated, but sometimes the comments stitched about the deceased can be more interesting than the needlework. Each sampler has a story and through these pieces we do remember.
Size 5.25" w x 5.75" h
20 holes per inch



William Charlesworth died 10 August 1855 age 51
Prepare the partner of my joys and woes
To follow and partake of my repose
As thou hast shard my gladness and my gloom
So must thou share with me the silent tomb.
Perforated paper was available in large sheets and many sampler makers took advantage of the whole sheet of paper for their sampler.
1878 Welsh mourning sampler
Size 22" w x 18.25" h    15 holes per inch
The large size of this sampler is unusual.
John Charles Rennick died Dec 1868
Text or Extract sampler
Size: 16" w x 16" h     18 holes per inch
Elizabeth Gardner died at age 90 in 1903
Size: 10.5" w x 18" h     17 holes per inch

Victorian Hair Samplers

James E. Mountain
Mourning Hair Sampler

We Bloom To Die
His aching head is at rest.

Died May 1 1862.
Size 4" w x 5" h
22 holes per inch
Braided Hair Wreath Sampler
M. S. Circa 1860

Size 9.25" w x 11.5" h
20 holes per inch

Two Generations of Mourning Samplers

These two samplers were purchased from Australia. The larger (top) sampler is the older one. The verse and border for the smaller (bottom) sampler were adapted from the older piece. Both appear to be mourning samplers but neither include a name or date. They were stitched by members of the same family.

There is three Graves not
far away Three Graves of
covered clay and underneath
those clayey bank my Dearest
Children lays
It is better for them to be
yonder than here fold
them in thine arms
Lord and henceforth
let them be a loving
mesenger of peace
Between our erreng
hearts and
Jesus Called Little Children
There are two graves
Beyond the sea
Two Graves of
covered clay
And underneath those
Clayey banks
My dearest parents lie


Perforated Paper Birth Samplers

Victorian birth samplers are rarer than mourning (death) samplers. Verses about the end of life were often stitched in birth samplers.


Alice Anne Picton
Born Nov 30, 1853
Size: 6.5" w x 10" h
20 Holes per inch.    English.


Catherine Dorothy Emma Mings, born in 1876, was the oldest of 3 children. By 1881, at the age of 4, she was adopted by two spinster sisters. There is no clear information why the family gave her up. In the 1881 census she is listed as the niece of Sarah and Dorothy Smith. Both sisters were lace makers and this sampler is trimmed with lace. Catherine also became a lace maker.

Size: 9" w x 9" h. 18 Holes per inch.    English.
A birthday present for Edward Wallington from his gramma
Edward was born on August 21,1852

A Blesing
May the blessing of god awate thee may the sun of glory shine around thy bed and may the gates of Plenty honor and happness be ever open to thee may no sorrow distress thy days may no grief disturbe thy nights may the pillow of peace kiss thy cheek and the plesure of imaginetion attend thy dreams and when length of years make thee tired of earthly joys and the curtain of death gently closes around thy last sleep of human existance may the angel of god attend thy bed and take care that the expiring lamp of life shall not receive one rude bldast to hasten on its extinction

Size: 8.75" w x 10" h. 18 Holes per inch.    English .