‘Textile: Of Education’.

Hand embroidered sampler by Ann Rusden.

SKU SF000704 Category


Samplers were pieces of cloth, usually linen, that featured hand embroidered designs using thread made of silk, wool, or cotton. In the 16th century, young European girls made samplers as a way of learning embroidery techniques that would be useful in the repair of household linens. Patterns stitched into these early samplers were often sewn as a reminder of a stitch so that the sewer could refer to it later.

One especially common type of sampler was the band sampler, which, as its name suggests, was made of a narrow band of fabric (the decision was one of economics rather than aesthetics because fabric was expensive). But, regardless of the shape, by the 18th and 19th centuries European samplers were used less for sewing practice and pattern record keeping and more for ornamentation. Decorative samplers featured a variety of embroidered motifs, such as people, animals, quotes, and the alphabet, and they often had an embellished border. They were created to be displayed and to showcase the sewer’s artistic needlework skills.

Additional information



Ann Rusden