Perforated Paper Needlework Smalls
documented from the collection of Claudia Dutcher

What is a Small?
   Let’s start with something you might find in a sewing basket.
Red Needlecase
2" w x 2.5" h
26 holes per inch
Front & Back Cover
Learn / Fear

2" w x 2.5" h
26 holes per inch
Front & Back Cover


Scalloped Pinkeep
Stitched on both sides
each circle 2.75" in diameter
24 holes per inch

Canvas Lacework Needlebooks

Red Needlebook
2” w x 2.5” h each cover
24+ holes per inch
Front & Back Covers
and inside the needlebook


Purple Needlebook
2" w x 3" h
24+ holes per inch
Front & Back Covers
and inside the needlebook


1881 Layered Needlebook
This technique is similar to tramp art in that
the pattern was formed by stacking different
sizes of paper squares on top of each other.
2.75" w x 3.25" h 24 holes per inch
Front & Back Covers
and inside the needlebook

Baskets & Boxes & Cases

The Victorians loved making things to contain other things. Making baskets out of perforated paper was a popular project. Many of the boxes and baskets did not survive because they did not do well being stored flat. Magazines and ladies magazines offered designs for similar projects to the ones shown here.

A Basket of Roses Total size: 4.75" w x 4.75" L x 2.75" tall
24 holes per inch
Blue ribbon was used to cover the edges of the paper. The pieces were lined with fabric and then were sewn together.

Card basket pattern
for paper


Tiny Rosebud Basket
Basket base 2.88" x 2.5"”
Side height 1.25" 20 holes per inch
Remember the Giver box
Total size: 2.75" w x 4" L x 0.5" tall
24 holes per inch
All four sides were made out of paper.
Mother’s Christmas Box 1874
Total size: 4.25" w x 7" L x 2.25" h
16 holes per inch
A fragile box, a little worse for wear, made out of paper that survived. Hopefully Mom loved her gift.
Blue Paper with Red Rose Buds Box
Total size: 2.5" w x 4" L x 1.5" h
16 holes per inch

What makes this unusual is the blue color of the paper. The box and paper were both painted similar colors of blue. The stitched design on paper was used to line the inside of the box and the lid. The box pieces were whip stitched together.

Handkerchief Case
Total size: 5.5" w x 5.75" L x 2" h
26 holes per inch


Pink Roses Glove Case
Total size: 4" w x 10" L x 2" h 24 holes per inch
A rare piece with roses at every level and lots of lovely pink silk for the ribbon and the roughed bag that would have held the gloves.


The inside bottom
of the glove case.

Scissors Case
Charming little two piece case. The stitchers name is stitched in tiny beads. Her name is covered up by the bottom top piece. The back is lined with blue silk. The edge of the paper is covered in blue ribbon.
2.75" w x 6" h
24 holes per inch



Perforated paper bookmarks and bookmark designs are considered "smalls", but they were common enough in the 1800's that we have provided a separate webpage just for them: Click here or use the navigation links to go to the page about perforated paper bookmarks.

Unusual small pieces

Scratch My Back 1
3.25" w x 3.25" h
20 holes per inch
The design on the front changes, but every version of this project includes the words “scratch my back”. The back side of the perforated paper is covered with sandpaper. These little hanging pieces were made for lighting matches.
Scratch My Back 2
4.25" w x 7" h
14 holes per inch
Back & Front Cover


Tiny pocket calendar
Each front and back paper cover is only
1.5" w x 2.25" h. The lyre is beaded. German in origin with Judaic holy days. 24 holes per inch
Queen Victoria Stamp Case
4" w x 2.75" h 24 holes per inch
In England, letters
Find no grace,
Unless they bear
Victoria’s face.


To guard her head,
From dust and damps,
This case is made
For postage stamps.
Rose Beaded
Wall Pocket

2.75" w x 7.5" h
18 holes per inch
Stitched with variegated cottons to resemble a shoe. Finished with crystal beads. This piece could have been a watch holder.


Green Wall Pocket
5" w x 11" h
20 holes per inch
The bottom pouch is made of green silk.