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



2017 (81) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (353) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Free Embroidery Patterns around the Web


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.

  • Heritage Shoppe:
    An embroidery primer, with patterns. PDF files. You’ll find lots of educational resources on this site.
  • Netting Designs:
    Granted, this isn’t exactly embroidery. But if you like netting, doilies, and whatnot, this is a great site. Embroidered netting, like filet guipure, depends upon notted net ground.
  • Caron Collection:
    charts and such for work on even weave, using the threads from Caron Collection. Of course, they can be adapted to suit whatever threads you have, but they are really pretty in the overdyed stuff from Caron Collection.
  • Windflower Embroidery:
    Here, you’ll find some exquisite designs for small but beautiful stumpwork projects. If you’re interested in trying stumpwork, but don’t want to take on anything too big, these projects are great! The instructions are detailed and clear.
  • Coloring Books from Edupics:
    Admittedly, these aren’t embroidery designs. However, there are heaps of ideas here – fruits, vegetables, whatever – and most can easily be adapted to surface embroidery. An extensive index of coloring book pages.
  • Textile Pattern Coloring Book Pages from 40to40:
    Here you’ll find some great patterns for backgrounds and for general design inspiration. Click around on this site. Lots of stuff, some pretty intricate, and entirely suitable to embroidery (especially in the textile part).
  • Blackwork Designs from Blackwork Archives:
    Some really nice blackwork designs here, and also a lot of interesting reading.
  • Interweave Press Needlework Projects:
    The publishers of Piecework Magazine offer some free projects on their website.
  • Fill Patterns for Blackwork:
    Some very nice background patterns for blackwork techniques.
  • Blackwork Sampler:
    A few more samples of blackwork patterns. These are really pretty!
  • Stitch Magazine
    Magazine produced by the Embroiderers’ Guild of the UK. The site includes stitch instructions and lots of projects, many of which have great patterns.
  • Colouring Book Pages
    Great selection of children’s motifs, including popular characters from Disney, Beatrix Potter, etc. Also flowers, holidays, whatnot.
  • Embroidery and Sewing section at knitting-and.com
    Sarah Bradbury has quite a collection of vintage and original patterns for free on her site, from flowers and animals to butterflies and dragonflies.
  • Vintage Embroidery Transfer Patterns
    Here’s a great website for patterns from Vogue vintage embroidery transfers. You’ll find all kinds of great patters for embroidering household goods, clothes, quilts, totes, etc.
  • Alita Designs
    free cross stitch and tapestry patterns in a variety of motifs: animals, floral, religious, children’s, etc. The patterns print in sections from your basic computer printer.
  • Embroidery and Embroider:
    an excellent source for Assisi work patterns and instructions. Jos Hendriks has over 200 free Assisi work patterns on the site, offering the patterns in various sizes with various themes. You can also find photos of completed projects on this site, as well as blackwork designs.
  • DragonBear:
    A great resource for historical counted thread techniques. Browse the site, and don’t miss the “Designs, Period” section, which contains over 250 medieval motifs for counted thread and other techniques!
  • Plaid Online Floral Monogram Pattern
    A pretty monogram pattern that can be used on household goods. You’ll find the floral embellishment and stitch guide, plus a free monogram alphabet.
  • 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!
  • Smocking Pattern: a Symphony of Roses
    A gorgeous smocking plate from Country Bumpkin.
  • Stumpwork Mushrooms
    Another design from Country Bumpkin – beautiful little mushroom design in stumpwork, suitable for the beginner, with clear step-by-step instructions
  • Christmas Embroidery Designs
    Five great designs worked in bullion knots, including Christmas trees, holly, and jolly old St. Nick. Really darling and perfect for little accents or for ornaments. From Country Bumpkin.
  • Simple Christmas Embroidery patterns
    These are actually coloring book pages, some of which are cute, while others could be dressy, depending on how you interpret them. You’ll find angels, snowflakes, snowmen, ornaments, bells, holly, and even a fish.
  • Homeberries
    Here, you’ll find some cute free patterns in the “primitive” style, useful for all kinds of embellishment. I think a lot of them would look good on baby things (quilts, bibs, etc.). I’m also thinking some would do well for hand embroidery on paper.
  • TipNut – a whole bunch of vintage-ish hand embroidery patterns for things like kitchen towels and so forth. You’ll also find tips on making needlecases and organizing your work space.
  • Floral Line Drawings with Shading – would make great surface embroidery patterns. Daffodils, Tulips, Roses, Lilies, More…


Leave A Comment

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


(17) 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
More Comments