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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Free Embroidery Patterns around the Web


Amazon Books

Are you looking for free needlework patterns online? Here’s my list, from counted cross stitch to general surface embroidery, stumpwork, and whatnot. Designers, stitch magazines, and embroidery enthusiasts are generous to give the rest of us a sample of their work or designs they’ve come by. Remember that usually there are copyrights involved – most designs are meant for personal use, not for reproduction for profit.

In this list of free online embroidery patterns, I’ve included descriptions of what you’ll find on the site, but haven’t organized the links in any particular fashion. Some of the sites are specifically embroidery-related, while others include images that can be adapted to embroidery.

Update 2017: This list was much longer when this article was first published! Unfortunately, most of the websites I had linked to have since disappeared or been replaced by nefarious sites. These two sites below, though, will give you plenty of material to browse for embroidery patterns and techniques:

Antique Pattern Library
A great resource for needlework books from days of old. You’ll find PDF files of books full of techniques and patterns.

Digital Archives of Weaving and Related Topics
Here’s another great resource for “old” books full of techniques and patterns. This site takes a little browsing to get to what you want, but it’s well worth the time!


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(20) Comments

  1. Hey, this is great to find so many pattern sources in one place, it’s going to take a long time to go throught all of them! Thanx…

  2. You’re welcome, Sandra! I hope to keep this page updated – there are lots of places out there to find patterns! It would be nice to have them concentrated in one spot for “surfing ease.” Heck, I use this page as a reference all the time! Thanks again for the comment!

  3. Wow! I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot here! Thank you!

    Mary, I do see where you’ve said that most designs are meant for personal use, not for reproduction for profit. This is a topic that I’m a bit confused about.

    Can someone safely set up a little cottage industry, creating items to be embroidered, using, for instance those old vintage iron on transfer patterns found in Grandma’s attic?

    Is it illegal, for instance, to take an old Vogart transfer, one that now can only be found at a flea market or in some old attic, transfer the design on to a set of pillowcases and then sell the pillowcases?

    What about using art illustrations found in old 19th century, or turn of the century books?

    For that matter, is it legal to buy pillowcases, towels, etc., put your own artwork on them and then offer them for resale?

    Color me confused!

    I realize I’m asking you to play copyright expert here. I don’t mean to. I’m just wondering if there is some general rule of thumb. Or a source of information you can point me toward.

    Thank you again! J. Mosley

  4. I just found a site with the most amazing Disney coloring pages! Many of which could easily be translated into embroidery.

  5. Hello again! I think I’ve discovered some answers to my own questions here, regarding the resale of vintage iron transfer patterns.

    I’ve discovered that there are, in fact, a good number of folks out there who have made a little business for themselves by collecting original old Tri Chem, Artex, Vogart, etc., transfer patterns that they in turn create photo copies of, and then sell the photo copies.

    I’ve purchased a handful of these patterns now and it works out pretty great! Not wanting to mark up the pattern itself, what I do for now, until I get a little photocopier of my own, is place a sheet of paper over the photo copy and trace it, using a Dritz Transfer Pencil. I use a small light box for this but taping the design to a sunny window will work just as well. It’s a good bit of fun! Cheers! J. Mosley

  6. You can get embroidery designs for free from the JF Ingalls 1886 catalog at jfingalls.com There are over 200 pages of designs with lots of flowers and plants and people.

  7. I am just excited as heck about this site! I have searched the web for about a week and love this site of yours! Thanks for the cool pages and links and info!! Grandma Robin

  8. Hi Mary, I have just printed out one of the free embroidery patterns on your site, it is Crewel work of carnations & tulips, my problem is that it is in black and white and no suggestions are given for what stitch to use, as I am new to Crewel can you give me any assistance. Really do enjoy your column and suggestions.
    Thanks Leta Hunter

  9. Pingback: Hand Embroidery Card Patterns - The Artful Crafter Blog
  10. Many of your resource links seem to be broken. Homeberries – especially – led me to a porn website. ACK! šŸ˜Ž Just thought you should know. I LOVE your site!

    1. Thanks, Amy – Wow! I just went through those and most of them were broken or redirected to nefarious sites. I’ve edited the list down to two excellent and notable resources. Thanks again for letting me know!

  11. Oh Iā€™m almost embarrassed to admit I spent almost the whole day reading and looking at historical patterns, somehow I always end up here…a great place to end at šŸ™‚ I may not fully appreciate all the time & effort that goes into providing all these resources but I am grateful!

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