Mary Corbet

writer and founder


I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

Contact Mary

Connect with Mary



2016 (111) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (353) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Free Hand Embroidery Patterns – Index


Do you want to embroider, but find it difficult to narrow down a pattern? Does pattern-design take up too much time for you? Are you always looking for new embroidery patterns to add to your library? Here are some favorite hand embroidery patterns – and they’re free!

Many of these come from out-of-print, old catalogs. They are in the “copyright free” category. I want to make them available to you so that you can enjoy creating beautiful embroidered goods.

Here’s a list of links that will take you to the various hand embroidery pattern categories on Needle ‘n Thread:

Hand Embroidery Patterns (General Categories)

Monograms for Hand Embroidery – Free patterns for decorative initials from vintage publications

Ecclesiastical Embroidery Patterns Patterns for church-related embroidery.

Online Resources – links to sites with free embroidery patterns


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(55) Comments

  1. Hi there! I’m new to embroidery and just found your site. It is very helpful and I want to thank you for that. I do have a question, though. What is the best way to transfer patterns to material?

    Arvada, CO

  2. ThankYou for these great patterns!!

    I appreciate so much finding patterns that aren’t copyrighted, and I enjoy these historical motifs. I’d love to know when and where they came from, and what source. Could you please consider letting us know these on future patterns?

    This is a great website. I’ll be checking back! 😀


  3. I am looking for Amish style embroidery line art..I am hoping you may help. I just found your site and am exploring..thanks so much. Hugs, Dee

  4. These are great. I only have the problem of being such a beginner that I have to be told what stitches to use and what colors!

    I also wish there was a way to take a cross stitch pattern and change it to freestyle, y’know?


    Dawn – ilovedobermans!

  5. I know exactly what you mean, Dawn!!! Glad you like the patterns. The nice thing about free style surface embroidery is that you can use whatever colors you want, however you want to use them! Experiment! The more familiar you get with stitches and threads, the more you’ll settle into what you like best.

    Have fun with it!!


  6. I’m doing a Christmas quilt for my son’s wedding. We want to embroider starbursts, poinsettias, or other Christmas theme pictures similar to the style shown on your website. We’re doing 12 blocks for the quilt. I’m having trouble finding anything that will work. Do you have any ideas? Jana

  7. Hi. I’m looking for some chanuka patterns to embroider onto tablecloths. Does anyone know where I can find the transfers or the stamped tablecloths with chanuka designs???

  8. I am looking for some young hip embroidery patterns for things I am making for my nephew and daughter. Anyone have any suggestions?

  9. i just thought i would tell you that i have took the letters v, c , n and o from one of your patterns and i have had them tattoed onto my body i loved them so much! thank you !

  10. I am looking for a hand embroidery pattern with ferns and violets on it. Any help would be appreciated. Many Thanks!!!

  11. Hi, Suzy – I don’t have a fern-and-violet pattern, but you know what you could try? Dover! If you google Dover publishers, take a look at their books. They have many inexpensive books with botanical drawings in them. To get both ferns and violets in the same design, you might have to trace and combine some pictures, but I bet you’d be able to find something….

    Another thought, too – Clip Art, Etc. has a nice searchable feature. You may be able to search “fern” and “violet” and come up with some images you can combine.

    Hope that helps!


  12. Hi to all, i`m glad to have such informative site for embroidery, I need some patterns for like, frames, wall hangings, cushions.
    ( it could be like some flowers)
    can any one help me please..
    Aisha Iqbal

  13. To answer a post from two years ago! I find “the light box” the best way to transfer a design…
    this can be either pressing your paper and fabric against the window with the sunlight behind it…(needs manovouring, but great for emergencies),
    or a torch under a glass table, with the fabric once again over the design, which is ofcourse on a single sheet of paper, NOT THE BOOK, so the light can shine through…
    I use a find ball point pen, to draw the outlines..does not smug or leave traces. but needs accuracy, as it is not washable!
    you can also make a lightbox, for those who are transfering alot…
    a bulb built into a wooden box, with a glass or perspex cover. be sure to provide ventilation holes!
    have fun!
    (remember lady Di’s dress against the sunlight, when she was 19, and posing for the photographers for the first time at her work….well, that is the general idea. using light to outline.
    so, in tribute to Lady Di, I wish you wonderful creative moments.)

  14. I'm new at this and would love to do a sampler. The kind I'm thinking about is with the school house in the middle and the alphabet surrounding it. Could anyone help me to find a pattern? Thanks

  15. From diane,
    Does any one know what stitch was used to make the fine strands on the peacock feathers used on marie antoinettes dress or other similar period pieces.
    The stitches seem to be extremely tiney …I c, only guess

  16. I am also quite new to embroidery and to maintain my interest I wanted to find a pattern to hold my imagination. I found that 'googling' "line drawings" and the subject matter I was looking for produced hundreds of good results and many of them not copyrighted.

  17. Thank you for your great website. I did needle punch embroidery in the 80's and even taught it through my own yarn company. I wanted to start embroidery again and your site has been one of the best and informative sites I have come across. Thank you for all the work you have put into it.

  18. Someone mentioned wanting "young, hip" embroidery patterns, so I just wanted to suggest http://www.sublimestitching.com. That's about as young and hip as you can get! Its really a fun site. I also wanted to say that I've had HOURS of fun downloading your patterns and I'll have HOURS of fun stitching them as well! 🙂

  19. What a wonderful Brazilian embroidery kit. Havn't done this type in about 40n years. I loved the dimentional look of the flowers and the vibrent color of the threads used. Would love to try my hand at it again if chosen for the kit! Thanks for your wonderful site and information. L Graeber

  20. Hello,
    I am sarah.The articles are very helpful foe me to make the designs. I used to make individual designs and I am interested to make blankets.Thanks to needlenthread to improve my financial support.

  21. My name is Laura. My Mom made some quilts when I was younger that had state birds and state flowers embroidered on them. If anyone knows where I could get a pattern for these I would appreciate it so much. My e-mail is rklm1959@yahoo.com thanks!

    1. colonialpatterns.com sells iron on trnasfers of the state birds and flowers for embroidery. Be warned- while the trnasfers are excellent, there is no guide for floss colors to use. I’m currently looking for someone to help me out. good luck!

  22. Hi, rather new to embroidering and would like to know what stitch you would recommend for words, like if I waned to put a poem on fabric, what stitch would be easier for a beginner, Thank you, Patty

  23. Hii, am doing a wedding train and I want a design that I can embroider round the train. Any help? I love what you have it really is good. Blessings

    1. Hi, Gladys –

      I think it depends on what kind of look you want. Maybe some of the “scrolly” designs could be helpful? You could always copy them in half and repeat the pattern, or something along those lines!

      Hope that helps!



  25. I am new to frehand embroidery and wondered if you could recommend a book I could use to help me get started and also a book of patterns. Your website is excellent have jusy discovered it,thank you.

    1. Hi, Patricia – Well, there are heaps of embroidery books out there, but I think it depends mostly on what type of embroidery you’re drawn to. For beginning, you might try a little book by Anchor, called “The Anchor Book of Free-Style Embroidery” – it’s a simple little book that’s out of print, but you can find it through used booksellers online. It’s small and the cover is orange. It has a good selection of stitches and lots of little patterns in the back, some of which are “cute” and some are classical. You can always enlarge them, combine them, and so forth. It might be a good place to start, as it combines patterns and stitches.


  26. hi dear, i want to learn chrisentha embroidery(another name chemanthi work). will you pl. tell me or mail me about that work?

  27. hi, can anyone help me . i have been searching fro iron on transfer for hand embroidered welsh loves spoons, we are making a quilt for a wedding present , i cant find one anywhere HELP!

  28. Hi there….I am new to this site and I was wondering if someone has a pattern with praying hands that I can embroider onto a quilt block for my mom?Thanks for the help!!

  29. Hello Mary,
    Anyway of getting Celtic Knotwork for edging work and I also would like to know (as with Trish) on how do we transfer them onto material without leaving marks, ink and the like onto the material. I just learned to do the Hungarian braid stitch and it is a very beautiful stitch that I wish to use in the Celtic Knotwork. Thank you

  30. Hey,

    Thanks for the lovely patterns. They seem very useful for me. I have a question are all these patterns copyright free? Can I use some of them to make and sell?

    1. Okay. That’s clear to know. Thank you so much for patterns. They are great designs for personal use.

More Comments