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This item sold on December 8, 2011.

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Darning samplers have been a Dutch tradition for more than 200 years. Mastering the skills of sewing and mending were an important part of a young girl's education, and their training began at an early age, both by their mothers and in school. Once they had gained proficiency in basic sewing and embroidery techniques, they would create a sampler of the more common sort - alphabets, numbers and simple flower designs, along with their name and date. The next stage in their training was usually done at a sewing school and involved learning the meticulous stitch-counting patterns used in darning, reweaving, and fine embroidery. This training was also an important part of the curriculum in orphanages. Darning samplers were their 'final exam' and were usually done by teenage girls, stitched in bright colors to more clearly show their skill. Unlike their first sampler, many of the darning samplers were not named and dated. When they are, their value soars into the many hundreds of dollars. Of course, the skill of the work as well as the condition are major factors in the desirability and value of these samplers.

In terms of skill and precision, as well as the variety of stitches, this is one of the finest examples I've ever seen. Worked in silk thread on linen, it is 28cm (11 3/8") x 25cm (9 3/4"), and dates from around 1900. It is in exceptional condition with no damage or broken stitches, just a slight age darkening of the linen. This sampler was probably stored in a chest or trunk for most of its life because the colors of the stitches are as bright as when it was made.

Antique Dutch Darning Sampler c.1900


  • Vintage item from 1900 - 1909
  • Materials: linen, silk
  • Ships worldwide from Canada
  • Feedback: 58 reviews
  • Favorited by: 32 people