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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Ecclesiastical & Church Embroidery Patterns


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Ecclesiastical embroidery or embroidery for the church or religious use, is one of my interests. I’m including here some free patterns for hand embroidery.

They can be enlarged or reduced, and used for a variety of church embroidery projects, including banners, vestments, altar cloths, linens, etc. If you click on the images you will get a full-size image.

Right click on the full-sized image and save it to your desktop. You can then edit it in any graphic program.

The patterns below come from an old, out-of-print ecclesiastical pattern catalog. There is no copyright on it. To my knowledge, it has not been reprinted or digitally enhanced by anyone.

I’ll be adding the patterns regulary, so check back often!

This is a nice medallion that would look great in goldwork or in silks, especially in couched designs. The whole motif could be worked in colored silks, and then outlined in a very fine gold twist (Elizabethan twist is nice and tiny). The central ring could be worked out of gold passing thread. Or the whole thing could be done in a mixture of goldwork threads – passing thread for the cross and ring, purls for the wheat, pearl purl for the stalks and lines, and rococo for the squiggles at the end of the arms of the cross. The lilies could be embroidered in a fine gold-colored silk. Click on the image for a larger version.

Here’s another medallion for use on vestments or linens. It would look excellent on a linen pall, worked in white silk in a variety of stitches to give it some texture. Work the IHS in a slightly padded satin stitch, with the lines on the “S” worked in a whipped running stitch or whipped back stitch. Use one thread to keep the work delicate.

The crowns could be lined with a whipped back stitch, with the insides filled with evenly spaced seed stitch filling, all worked in one direction, in an alternating brick pattern. Work the remaining lines in stem stitch, and the leaves in satin stitch.

In this manner, the design would be worked very quickly, but with simple and elegant results.

Church Embroidery Patterns: Book One

Interested in more church patterns? Check out Church Patterns: Book One – a collection of over 120 patterns in a 38-page PDF, suitable for church embroidery, and also for other arts & crafts endeavors (appliqué, paper crafts, painting – you name it!).


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(13) Comments

  1. thank you for your site and your beautiful designs! I started embroidering vestments for my local apostolic society about 4 years ago-each year I get a new one to do with ready printed designs. this year I have been asked to embroider an altar cloth for our parish church, however the pattern we were given is rather plain which has lead me to try to find something more inspiring to look at and interesting to work. I look forward to trying to adapt some of your medallions for use across the edge of the altar cloth. Thanks again! Lisa-Ireland

  2. Thank you for all that you do and for your willingness to share it freely! I am so blessed by your site and SOOO thankful for your SUPER helpful video tutorials! Thank you!!!!

  3. this site is wonderful. thankyou very much Mary for sharing your knowledge with us, your work is beautiful.
    I`d like to do a book covering with a little gold work to be used at mass. Is there a particular book ,with some clear designs to transfere, that you would recomend.

  4. Hi, LB – Yes, there is. Lacis (www.lacis.com) carries a book in their book section titled something along the lines of Thompson & Sons Church Embroidery Patterns. I have an original copy of that catalog, which is where many of my designs here come from. Lacis has reprinted it recently.

    Best of luck!


  5. Hello Mary

    Just to tell you thank you for the lovely patterns. I have just embroidered a chasuble for my church, using one of the cross motifs on your site. I used three motifs down the front embroidered in gold thread on a white background. I would have liked to include a photo but I now realized it is not possible. Thanks ever so much. I will certain come back here if I need to embroider more altar linens etc. You have helped me make a wish come true!

  6. Hi Mary,
    I’ve been looking for this sort of thing for so long. I’m showing some friends how to play with designs and stitches and this will be invaluable.
    Thank you so much for your work.

  7. i really enjoyed your tutorial for the raised fish bone stitch, even though you said you sound weird. it was really creative and i watched it like three times just to get the technique

  8. I an looking for a manger scene that Is big enough banner will be probable9 4′ X 7 or I can enlarge of a Nativity Scene.

    I hope you can help me.


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