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 Pattern: Playing with Jacobean Motifs


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I’ve been messing around with Jacobean motifs for embroidery. The original design of this one is from Mary Thomas’s Embroidery Book, which is no longer in print. I added some repeats, hoping to find a “corner” design for a small cloth.

So this is one of the embroidery patterns I’m playing with. I’m not so sure about it, but it would be fun to use for practice.

Jacobean Pattern for Hand Embroidery

You can click on the image above for a larger version, then right click on the larger version and save it to your computer. Using photo editing software or a copy machine, you can scale it up or down.

Ths stitches illustrated in the pattern are pretty basic: The outline can be worked in chain stitch or in split stitch. The dark oblong in the center is a good place for satin stitch, as well as the dark area on the right edge of each design. Stem stitch is used for the line that runs down the “vein” of the motif (inside), up to an area that can be worked in straight stitches. The accents in the motif (the individual stitches) on the back of the design are little single chains, or lazy daisy. Towards the front of the design are elongated French knots.

You could also add more repeats to the design, if you wanted to end up with, for example, a four-pointed “flower” or something similar. I was looking for three points, suitable for a corner, but you could build on this, spacing four or five around in a circle.

Right now, I have a renewed interest in Jacobean work and crewel embroidery because I just acquired a huge pile (huge!) of Appleton wools!

Appleton Wool for Jacobean embroidery

Have fun with it!


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(6) Comments

  1. Well – that’s just weird. Or co-incidental 🙂

    I’ve just spent the evening reading about crewel and Jacobean work – so it was a nice surprise to get your post just as I was about to shut down for the night.

    You have fun too 🙂

  2. Hi Mary – thanks so much for all you patterns and tips!

    I’ve been embroidering since I was little, but am starting to want to learn crewel work. My great grandmother recently moved out of her house and we found some beautiful pieces that she had done. This seems like the perfect learning project!

  3. Je commence à faire de la broderie Crewel et j’aimerais bien avoir des patrons gratuits ,petits et aussi des grands .

    Merci beaucoup.

  4. Hello Mary, First of all please allow me to thank you for the lovely designs and your own hand embroidery examples which are exquisite.

    I just wanted to tell you that the above design is prevalent in its’ many forms and sizes in a number of illuminated 8th century Holy Qurans that I studied (while studying art and design in Alexandria and Cairo. I have some pictures of them and have used the design in greeting card design in the past and for caftan embroidery. I will look through my files and get back to you. Just though it might be of interest to you.

    With love, Llyn.

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