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 Hand Embroidery Pattern: Framed, in Silk & Gold


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Here’s a free hand embroidery pattern for you that can really be used for any type of surface embroidery, but I can see it in silk and gold, working it in such a way to give dimension to the piece by bringing the stylized plant forward from the frame, and then sinking the background even farther back from the frame. It’s hard to explain how I see this, without actually showing the piece already worked.

Needless to say, I haven’t worked it – you’d know if I had!

I’ve been sitting on this pattern for a while, planning on doing something with it before putting it up on the site, but since I’m not moving too quickly on my present projects, you may as well have access to the pattern. If you come up with a brilliant idea for it, let me know!

Free Hand Embroidery Pattern: Framed in Silk and Gold

This is adapted from an old German embroidery book, from the later 1800’s. The book actually focuses on ecclesiastical work, but I like to abstract elements from the various drawings and see how they will work as isolated embroidery patterns.

Anyway, back to my silk and gold idea here. I was thinking that the background inside the frame could actually be filled with a pattern of sorts, in a darker, neutral color. Then, a brilliantly colored plant can leap out from the frame. The plan would be worked in silk shading, outlined with gold and silk, and the berry bunches would of course be paillettes (spangles), perhaps topped with beads. Then, around the outside of the frame and plant, I could see a much lighter fill pattern worked. The frame itself, I’d probably keep rather “flat.” If I were working it out, I’d have to play a bit to figure out precisely how to get the effect I want. But in any case, the plant and bowl and berries would have to be brilliant.

How would you picture a design like this worked?

Here’s a PDF of the design:
Free Hand Embroidery Pattern: Framed, in Silk & Gold

You can find many more free hand embroidery patterns here on Needle ‘n Thread! Enjoy them!


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(9) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,

    Lovely pattern! I see it as a crewel-work pattern with a very brightly plant and the frame in a dull-gold colour worked in some kind of lattice pattern or perhaps couched and laid. I think if I did it this way then I’d leave the background blank. Sadly I have too many projects on to try working this one as well!

  2. Thanks, Mary, I can see all the elements padded. I’m into padding right now. Do you own the book it came from? I’m looking for some old German ecclesiastical patterns. Thanks, anne in NC

    1. Good morning, all! Thanks for your comments!

      Oh, Bobbi – I’m glad to hear you have “the list,” too! My problem with “the list” is that it doesn’t ever seem to get shorter, does it?

      Yes, a crewel pattern works, too! Laura, I like your color ideas for the tulips & carnations (I’m assuming that’s the previous pattern you’re talking about). The white will really stand out!

      Hi, Anne, yes, I own it, but it’s in bad shape, and it has no cover. If there’s a version online, I’ll see if I can post links, but I’m not 100% sure of the title of the book. I haven’t found it in Antique Pattern Library or Digital Archives… The designs, by the way, don’t necessarily look particularly “German” (except some of the gridded designs); the surface designs look more or less like any mid-1800 – early-1900 ecclesiastical designs. I’ll be putting more of them up as I clean them up.

      Have a terrific Sunday!


  3. That is a nice pattern. I like the last one better since I made plans in my head to do something with it! I will try to use dull pewters, and burnished gold, type of things, with snow white accents.
    I love to see you work on things, since you have an incredible talent with color coordinating. Looking forward to the pics!

  4. Mary, BJ here. I am so excited about this pattern. I just finished a silk on silk Peacock. I would love to do this as a silk on silk with gold. Thanks for the great patterns. I have a small fortune in framing coming up.

  5. Hi Mary
    I think this design would be lovely in silk and gold as you said, for some altar linen. Alternatively, I think it would look good worked in white silk, also for altar linen. I like keeping things simple and bringing out the effect with the threads and materials, rather than using too many stitch varieties, so I would just love this motif worked in this way.

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