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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Decorative Border for Hand Embroidery: Free Pattern


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One of the best things about surface embroidery is the variety of patterns you can come up with – whether purchased or designed by yourself, patterns for hand embroidery can be absolutely anything you want them to be! Lately, I’ve been rumaging through my embroidery patterns and sketch books and whatnot, trying to narrow down a few select patterns that I think would be relatively simple for household goods. Here’s a decorative border that would look great on linens.

I have two blank linen towels that are just waiting for some embellishment, and this particular border is in the running. There’s also this Fleur de Lys border that I like, so it’s a toss-up between the two of them.

I’m not 100% sure I like the dots on this one, but I have a thing with dots lately. I think it has to do with the Monograms book I got from Country Bumpkin publications. They have great instructions in there for raised dots. Suddenly, I want to put raised dots on everything!

The problem is, I need patterns that will stitch up on household linens relatively quickly, and when you start getting into filling the designs, it slows you down! So on this design, I may skip the dots altogether, and just work a simple outline on the linens.

Here’s the question: color? or white? White on white is always nice on household linens, but I think a red on white would be great. The problem with red is that ever-present fear of bleeding thread. So before I take the leap and stick to a red-on-white decision, I’ll fix the color by treating the threads.

There’s part of me that wants to do several colors, in kind of the French country look – the dark yellow, red, blue, and green. Since there are several distinct parts in this design, that’s feasible, too.

Here’s the pattern – click on it for a much larger image, which you can save on your own computer. You can enlarge the pattern or scale it down in a photo editing program or on a copy machine. To lengthen the border, overlap the repeats and trace it.

Hand Embroidery Pattern - simple decorative border

If you have any great ideas for working this border in simple embroidery stitches on household linens, feel free to share them!

For more hand embroidery patterns, check out my index of embroidery patterns, where you’ll find a list of patterns on this site, including ecclesiastical embroidery patterns, as well as an extensive list of online resources for embroidery patterns.


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(4) Comments

  1. RE: the dots — instead of doing a padded satin stitch, what about a rhodes-type stitch in a circular pattern instead of the usual heart?

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