Bargello needlepoint pillows — perfect for mid-century interior designs

Run, don’t walk, and start snapping up vintage Bargello needlepoint pillows before the rest of the design world goes nuts for them. These pillow are gorgeous. They are high-quality, handmade, graphic, backed with velvet or corduroy, assembled like a couture dress — and quite inexpensive. What more can you ask for?


Above: Bargello needlepoint pillow from zhiozaki on etsy, $15.

60s bargello needlepoint pillow

Seems like every time I turn around I learn something new and exciting and fabulously wonderful about mid-century decor. These Bargello needlepoint pillows are my most recent discovery. I bought two (not knowing what I had) at the recent Adams estate sale time capsule. Above: Mod Bargello needlepoint pillow from farfallashop on etsy, $22.

bargello needlepoint stitches

Yesterday — thinking about pillows for Rachel, I thought of my pillows and went hunting on etsy and ebay. That’s where I spotted the term “Bargello.” Seems like Bargello has a long history. Also known as Florentine stitch or Hungarian point, it dates back to the 15th century. It’s also known as the easiest of needlepoint stitches — look closely above and you can see it is long stitches often taken across numerous holes in the canvas and usually to form very graphic patterns. Lots of zig zags.

Of course, you can get “regular” needlepoint pillows, too — nothin’ wrong with them, I have quite a few. But I’m all excited about these Bargellos, now that I know about them.

  1. Now I just have to decide…do I keep the collection I started years ago or sell them for a small fortune? I noticed they were getting harder to find about a year ago but I guess I’ve been lucky!!

  2. The Vintage Reader says:

    Wow. We couldn’t give away all the vintage needlepoint kits (including some bargello pillows) at my mother’s estate sale. Some of them ended up in the Goodwill, but I snagged a few when they didn’t sell.

  3. Dot says:

    Can’t believe that one of the needlepoint pillows I created some 20 years ago is on eBay (the one with the flowers inside the graduated ovals..only mine is in shades of pink, teal/green and some peach). I guess I was ahead of the time (I believe I also had the patchwork one too).

  4. denise says:

    funny you should write about this….I’ve been recently picking these up along with crewel embroidery and needlepoint pillows, plus vintage kits and books. I love the handmade-ness of them and the comfort and warmth they impart.

  5. lara jane says:

    Well, maybe it’s not a “fresh” idea, but does it even matter in regards to vintage/retro? It’s an “old” idea to start with! haha!

    I fell in love with these pillows during the whole Wary Meyers craze. Their place is just perfection.

    1. pam kueber says:

      yes, lara jane – i love wary meyers, too. very sympathetic with our cause and always one step ahead in discovering/creating the next big thing, it seems.

  6. magnarama says:

    I fear we’re already past the “discovery” stage for these cool vintage designs. Jonathan Adler has been selling retro-style bargello needlepoint pillows for quite a while — and some of his designs and colors are quite lovely, albeit priced at 8 to 10 times what I would pay for authentic vintage pieces.


    1. pam kueber says:

      Wow, magnarama, those Jonathan Adler pillows are gorgeous. Okay, so I am behind. But still: Vintage pillows going for $15 – $20? There’s some market discovery yet to be had! Snap ’em up, people. Thanks for the link, M, I will have to do a post. Love JA!

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