Redwork - History and Patterns

Redwork - History and Patterns
Redwork was very popular in the 1870’s as a form of embroidery. It is a technique of stitching using red cotton. Not all colors were colorfast in that time and that’s the reason red was the initial color of choice because the dye, turkey red, was colorfast and durable when used on cotton thread. Another color that was popular at this time was indigo blue – thus the advent of Bluework

The most popular designs were for children, or floral designs. This form of needlework was very popular among the masses because the only stitch required was a straight stitch. Simple stitches such as running stitch or stem stitch were easy to master by those who had not been tutored in needlework. The designs were stitched on white or unbleached muslin or even weave fabric such as linen and were used for everyday household linens or as decorative quilt blocks.

Penny Squares were very popular at that time. For a penny, needleworkers could purchase "penny squares" - the stamped squares of fabric that were readily available in catalogues or the local mercantile store. These squares could be put together to make a complete quilt.

Today Redwork is very popular. It is used in the same fashion as before but with the advent of Indie crafts it is having a resurgence of popularity and redwork can be found on all manner of needlework creations. I have been busy surfing for this article and have sourced free and not so free links for redwork patterns and designs. Below is a pretty comprehensive but by no means complete listing of interesting sites for you to peruse. Enjoy!
Redwork patterns available for purchase:

simply delightful patterns to purchase from Quilt Bus

lots of redwork patterns for sale from Redwork Plus

a huge variety of Redwork patterns available for purchase from Colonial Crafts

more patterns for sale from Yesterday’s Charm

some interesting historic information about Redwork, and patterns to purchase from WomenFolk

a little bit of history and some delightful patterns from Talking Threads

this site is dedicated to Redwork needleworkers, and has some lovely patterns to purchase, from Yarn Mom

Designs by Alene available from the Quilters Warehouse

a huge portal for Redwork patterns, designs and lots more from Grandma’s Attic Quilting

great redwork patterns from Redwork Info

very different patterns from The Moses House

a book of redwork or appliqué patterns for folk musicians from Dulci Quilt

Lots of free and not so free patterns from Pattern Bee

pretty patterns from Lasting Treasure

patterns sold at retail from Bird Brain Designs

Redwork patterns available for free:

lots of delightful free patterns from Grandma’s Attic Quilting

some free and not so free patterns from Bobby Socks Quilt company

a beautiful butterfly pattern from Grandma’s Attic Quilting

A barn owl from Grandma’s Attic Quilting

a fabulous redwork quilt free! From Needle N Motion

a pretty bird redwork pattern from Gail Pan Designs

free redwork patterns from Sentimental Stitches

free snowman redwork from Stitching Cow

a pretty stitchery from Quilt N Sew

Little Romeo pattern from Victorian Embroidery and Crafts

Kitchen redwork patterns from Thousand Hobbies

delightful antique sewing machine in redwork from Quilt N Sew

free redwork patterns from Pattern Bee

Here's links to Redwork books available at

Related Articles
Editor's Picks Articles
Top Ten Articles
Previous Features
Site Map

Content copyright © 2019 by Judie Bellingham. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Judie Bellingham. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Judie Bellingham for details.