26 free vintage embroidery books you can read online

26 free vintage embroidery books you can read online

In my honest opinion, books are one of the best ways to invest in yourself, your skill and knowledge. When anyone asks me what would I like to get as a present, a book is one of my first choices. And as a hand embroidery lover, I can't overrate the worth and value of books with good instructions and inspiring designs. So, if the budget allows, I would definitely recommend spending some cash on creating a good embroidery library.

However, there are times for all of us when we're short on money. While saving our pennies, we drool over those colorful stitchery books with vast varieties of fun projects and sigh, dreaming about the day we make the purchase and dive into the pages of this beauty... (I am not the only book-addict, right?)

Well, there is a way to treat yourself with embroidery books absolutely for FREE! 

Archive.org features a nice selection of vintage embroidery books, which you can enjoy reading online without wasting a single penny. These books are just as worthy and valuable as modern ones, in terms of providing a lot of helpful tips and pieces of advice, but the biggest advantage is, probably, their focus on the history of embroidery. Apart from that, many of the books feature instructions and tutorials on embroidery stitches, and you might even be surprised with some of the names. For example, some refer to stem stitch as “crewel stitch”.

Overall, I think plunging into the world of vintage embroidery can be a lot of fun. Below I prepared the list of 26 books in no particular order, which I find most helpful and engaging. 

I have to admit, I didn't read all of them, but I have some of my favorites which I attempt to conquer little by little. Yeah, some of the books are heavy 500-pages encyclopedias with a great wall of information, and because I like to take notes when I read, the process is really slow. But it's still worth it!

Without further ado, here's the list of FREE online books on hand embroidery:

  1. ~ Part 2. 
  2. Embroidery: a collection of articles, by Grace Christie, 1909. (you can see in the comments a report of catching a virus after downloading this one in PDF, but you can still read it online)

My personal top list includes #1, 10, 17, 19, 24, 26. What about you?

Did you read any of them? Do you have any of your favorites as well? :)


  1. Excited to find this list of old books. I am a keen embroiderer although i do work slowly I enjoy the stitching immensely. Thank you

  2. Amina, this is a treasure!!! Thank you so much!!! Claire

  3. Que maravilha!!!!!! Estou encantada!

  4. What a find! Thank you, so much!��

  5. #17 will give you a virus if you download the PDF.

    1. Oh wow, thanks for the heads-up! Better to read it online then

  6. Whoever did this, thank you so much.

  7. Wonderful collection of titles. Thank you.


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