Mary Corbet

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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

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Church Embroidery Pattern: Decorative Cross & a Question


I’m in the midst of cleaning up a bunch of ecclesiastical embroidery designs and developing several new ones. Today, I’ll share a little decorative cross with you. It’s definitely suitable for all types of hand embroidery, but it would also work well in other arts & crafts designs, too – banners, applique, paper crafts, leather work, printing and coloring, and so forth.

I’ve also got a question for you, especially for those of you interested in church embroidery patterns – but I’ll save that for the end!

Here’s the embroidery design:

Free Hand Embroidery Pattern: Decorative Cross

What type of embroidery do I see possible for this design? There’s plenty of scope for colored silks and goldwork, so that’s the first thing that popped in my head. (I have goldwork on the brain these days…) You might have completely different ideas – any and all thoughts for interpretation of the pattern are certainly welcome!

Here’s the link to the PDF:

Church Embroidery Pattern: Decorative Cross (PDF) – the design will print approximately 4″ square.

There are plenty more church embroidery patterns here on Needle ‘n Thread, if you’re looking for some! In fact, you can find all kinds of free hand embroidery patterns on the Patterns page, which I’ve recently updated.

Now, my question: Like I mentioned above, I’m in the midst of cleaning up and developing a variety of church embroidery patterns and am wondering if folks would be interested in having the whole collection in a printable e-book format? Any interest out there? Let me know!

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(38) Comments

  1. Yes Yes Yes Yes. I would love to see them in an e book format. We are slowly making new alar linens for our church and I have combed the library for ideas and patterns to no avail. I would desperately love to see what you have for ecclesiastical patterns!!!!!!!! Please make this a reality. Your website has been so helpful to our group. The patterns would be answered prayer for sure.

  2. becasue this is symmetrical, and cross is not significant to me as a religious symbol, the first thing i thought of was how pretty the arms would be as the sides of an embroidered box…and if it were enlarged sufficiently there would be penty of room for beading in some of those design elements. Thankf so providing so many patterns and inspiration.

  3. Dear Mary,

    I’ve been quiet, but I read your post every day and investigate whatever it is you point us to. Just busy with my job and wishing I had more time for the things I love. Found the Lefkara lace posts and the comments from other readers on it very interesting. Enjoyed checking out these embroiderer’s website and reading and listening to their stories. Thank you for providing us with all that information.

    Regarding your idea of putting together an e-book with church embroidery patterns–YES! That would be wonderful for those of us interested in this type of embroidery. May I encourage you to put something like that together?

    Again, thank you for your website. It’s an oasis for my weary eyes, brain and spirit–such delightful pictures, good discussions and invaluable instructions and information.

    May your day be blessed,


  4. YES!!! That would be an awesome idea! Maybe not just limited to church items thou. Like how you have your different types of embroidery styles broke down… the same would be great for your other patterns as well. Just a thought 🙂

  5. I can see this done in pulled thread. Or maybe drawn thread. Or blackwork done in metalic threads. Or…..

    Nothing like a firm decision, is there? Thanks for another lovely design, Mary!

  6. Dear Mary

    Thanks for the lovely pattern above and yes I would love to see a printable e-format for ecclesiastical patterns. I’m always looking for ideas and one day when I am more proficient at embroidery I hope to create something for the alter at the Church I attend.

    I don’t know if you received my email but I have the NS4 stand at last and enjoying using it. Oh by the way it holds hoops perfectly.

    Thanks for your website which has and continues to inspire me, I finished the long and short stitch samplar just stitching around the edges now, I found it difficult but very enjoyable even though my needlepainting isn’t very good, but practice, practice, practice.

    Regards anita

  7. I can see this done in shadow work embroidery. It would be beautiful on the skirt of a christening gown. It would also be nice on linens for a communion table.

  8. YES I would very much like a pattern book. I have collected all your patterns and one of your crosses has been used on 2 of the epitaphios I have finished. I need some more designs and can’t seem to locate any that would work.. Thank you

  9. yes, e-book!!!!
    I am a Christian so I love this as a beautiful cross but I was trying to think outside the box on colors and ya know what? I think a person could do this in red, turquoise, black and white and it would be a great southwestern motif!

  10. Good morning, Mary!

    Blessed feast of the Ascension. Many thanks for your inspirational site. My daughter and I are now enrolled in the RSN certificate program in San Francisco with Lucy Barter, a delightful and accomplished instructor. We hope to do church embroidery and would love to have your collection in an e-book.

  11. I would love to see the ecclesiastical designs all offered in one book – I just printed out the IHS with wheat and grapes design and would love to do it and make it into a pillow for our parish priest. I really could use some suggestions on what stitches to use where though because I am not the most experienced embroiderer! You mention that this particular design is a bit more complicated than most of the church designs – but I’d really like to give it a try. Can you give me some tips here?

    Also, what do find is the best way to transfer designs onto fabric? I’m having a difficult time with this as I am not finding the tracing pencils or transfer papers to work very well. Any advice?

    Mary Ann

    Mary Ann

  12. Absolutely! Please and thank you!

    And if it could include ideas about how to create a stole, or other ecclesiastical apparel and items, oh, how cool would that be.

    Thank you, Mary!

  13. For the book, I personally wouldn’t be interested, but I know a number of people who do a lot of liturgical embroidery and am sure they would be excited to have such a source.

  14. Yes Mary would love to have the ecclesiastical patterns. I am involved with vestment making for my parish and one cannot have too many patterns. Thank you!

  15. An ebook? Absolutely interested. I wish more crafty people would put their stuff in them as PDF/ebook is the way of the future.

  16. Yes Please! I am very interested. My brother is a newly ordained priest and I am looking for new or fresh or even vintage designs.
    Thank You Mary!!!

    1. Hello, all! Thanks for your enthusiastic response to my Big Question. I wasn’t sure how well e-books of patterns and so forth would go over, but since I have this collection half-way finished, I thought I might test the waters with it. The book will have about 150 patterns in it, ranging from simple to more complex, and will also include a section with gridded designs that can be used for cross stitch, filet lace, and the like. It will take me a couple more weeks to finish it up, but I plan to have it on the site before the end of June, so do look for it! Thanks again for your enthusiasm! With the comments here and the plethora of e-mail, it seems as though there is a definite interest! ~MC

  17. I would be SO excited!!! I head a group at church that does all kinds of crafts and sewing for nursing homes, etc. These types of designs would be wonderful to teach different techniques to our youth/

    I’m also looking for some nice Chrismon patterns to make for the acolytes for Christmas. Maybe you could add some of them? Personal sized – not for the huge trees in the nave.

  18. Mary! Very interesting posts, even to a non-stitch-er. I think a collection of church embroidery patterns would be helpful and inspirational to those of us who work in other mediums, calligraphy, ink, paint, decorating the Easter candles, maybe stained glass? “Ecclesiastical” Pattern collections are NOT easy to find.

  19. Dear Mary,
    I’ve just started learning about eccesiastical embroidery, and your site has been one of the first I’ve stumbled across. I love the Agnus Dei project that you did, and have been studying that. I hope to start a Chausable soon for my pastor, and use a design along that line. If you would consider adding that project to your book, that would certainly be a plus.

    As I learn about this, I’m very interested in the traditional hand work, but I have not found many patterns yet for designs. The thing that would be very helpful for a newbie is an e-book not only with the designs, but with suggestions on what stitches to use. Until one gains some experience with this field, that is the most difficult aspect. Also, suggestions on stitch direction.

    Thank you for sharing these wonderful skills.

  20. Oh please yes! Thank you for this and everything you do to teach and encourage.
    I am very interested in Church embroidery and am always looking for patterns.

  21. Hi Mary! In answer to your question, YES! I have used your cross patterns over and over again for the purificators and lavabos in our local church. I would love to have all your patterns consolidated in one place. Best wishes,

  22. Thank you, Mary! I can’t believe you’re going to have it finished by the end of June. That is fast!

    I look forward to seeing it and benefiting from it.

    The Lord bless you,


  23. Mary, I vote yes on the e-book and echo others’ comments on compiling other types of embroidery, too. What a treasure! Thank you! It has been encouraging to read so many positive comments and realize there are many people interested in and already doing ecclesiastical embroidery! Is there a “support group” for interested embroiderers?


  24. Yes! It would be good and possible, too, to have it published in hard copy, color graphics and all through Lulu. Mary, email me and I’ll forward you the info.
    Also, we are going to get the ecclesiastical embroidery group at stitchin fingers going. News soon.
    Thanks for the great idea

  25. Hi Mary,

    A printable e-book sounds like a great idea but would the patterns still be available individually on the site?

  26. Mary,
    I love your Ecclesiatical designs and think it would be great if you would design more. I am designing and sewing more vestments for my Church and have had a difficult time finding designs. The format of your drawings make them great for digitizing for machine embroidery. After watching your progress on the Marion design I really would like to perfect my handstitching skills. I’ll keep watching your website.

  27. Hi , I am very interested in your offer of a printable e format of church embroidery patterns.
    I also wanted to ask if you could point me in the right direction for finding a chart / design for an altar cloth. I want to do it on white 40ct fabric that I found in my church suppliers shop. I’m looking at hardanger, drawn and pulled thread and cross stitch! Perhaps a mixture of them all. I’m a beginner to hardanger, drawn and pulled thread but have got plenty of time to learn and practice as I don’t need the altar cloth for 2 years. This gives me plenty of time to try out samples etc. it is for the altar in a Catholic Church and will be an anniversary gift for the priest. I will probably stick to all white thread (maybe red) which is why I’m considering hardanger and drawn thread so it will be seen from the pews. I will probably only do the front drop
    with a maximum depth of about 10 inches drop ( that doesn’t have to be the depth of the design). I’ve seen quite a few books on the market for church embroidery but you can’t see the patterns without purchasing the book. I’m happy to buy the pattern once I find what I’m looking for. I’m not competent enough to make my own charts in hardanger and drawn thread although I can for cross stitch.
    Many thanks for a wonderful website..

    1. Hi, Lorraine –

      Thanks for your comment! My church patterns book is primarily devoted to surface embroidery patterns, although there is one or two counted patterns in there, but no Hardanger patterns. So they are line drawings for regular embroidery, whitework, goldwork, etc.

      Hope that helps!

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