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: Monogram Frame


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Hand embroidered monograms! Ahhhh! I am twitterpated by them! They are my One Weakness… to quote Dorcas Lane.

This inordinate infatuation with embroidered monograms and decorative initials was the impetus behind a crazily obsessive era of collecting old embroidery pamphlets and magazines from the mid-1800’s through the first half of the 1900’s, before it became really popular to collect them.

In the last six years or so, it’s become increasingly The Rage to collect vintage and antique patterns. The prices have gone up considerably on these old publications – when you can actually find them. So I don’t really collect many anymore, unless a happy chance brings me into contact with a volume I’m really interested in that’s affordable.

The old French magazines like La Broderie Blanche and Journal des Demoiselles, and the old Sajou pamphlets (especially those with line drawings rather than charts) are among my favorites. I have a good pile of them that I browse through occasionally for design ideas, alphabets, and general inspiration.

And sometimes, I stumble upon a little pattern that, with a little clean-up job, would be fun to share. Like this one!

Monogram Frame Pattern for Hand Embroidery

The art of monogramming often includes fancy frames that encircle an initial or two (or three… or four…). The frame above is a typical example. Right in the middle of it, you can plant a single, simple letter that will feel perfectly at home surrounded by festoons of flowers.

Designs like this are perfect for whitework on a semi-sheer background, like handkerchief linen. At the same time, they would work equally as well in color on a sturdier ground fabric – from the cotton kitchen towel to heavier linens used for cushions and the like.

Monogram Frame Pattern Printable

The pattern on the PDF below prints at about 4.5″ high if you choose “no scaling” in your printer options before you print. You can certainly enlarge it, or you can reduce it for smaller projects.

Monogram Frame Embroidery Pattern – PDF

Enjoy the pattern, and have a splendid weekend!

You can find heaps of free hand embroidery patterns here on Needle ‘n Thread, including a few monogram alphabets, all on the Patterns page. If you’re looking for something to stitch, feel free to browse!

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(23) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    Thanks for sharing this lovely monogram pattern with us this would make a lovely celebration card. This is on my to do list once I’ve completed my eggembroidery just a couple more to go.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  2. You do realise that eventually dictionary entries listing “twitterpated” will show a cartoon of you jumping up and down with a huge grin on your face?

    1. Gives me a chuckle every time too Megan. I’d actually put it into dictionary this time, before I saw your comment, and it directed to Bambi in Wikipedia!! What fun : )

    2. I think it’s a wonderfully evocative word, and always reminds me of those ‘Regency’ words that Georgette Heyer used, eg. ninnyhammer (I often feel that way), and flowing claret (usually blood after a little punch-up). There are lots more but I will spare you. I think twitterpate belongs in that category and is a word I use often.

  3. Hi Mary! This is beautiful! I love monograms as well. One question – I love intertwined letters and wonder if there is a trick to figuring out how to make two letters intertwine.

  4. Hi Mary, thanks for this posting. I, too, love intertwined monograms and hope to do one this summer for a gift. I like what Tania K. wrote asking what the trick is to get them intertwined? We know it’s not a ‘trick’, but just curious how it’s done as Tania mentioned.

    Also, I really love this free pattern, but don’t know how those 2 leaves are embroidered?? I assume thread painting, but would appreciate a video lesson on how they are embroidered. I don’t know which corner to start thread at… Just a sewing thought for you. I’ve seen those leaves before and not sure if that is William Morris or what…
    Thanks for your great daily columns. Roxanne

    1. Hi, Roxanne – this Thursday, I’ll have a tutorial on shading a lead. It isn’t the same shape, but it is the same idea, when it comes to stitch direction.

      I’ve been working a lot with monograms lately, and will share some information a little bit down the road. This summer, I’ll also be running an online class on embroidered monograms here on Needle ‘n Tread. (Hence, the reason I’m spending lots of time monogramming right now!)


    2. Hi again–I never tire of my daily reading of ‘Needle ‘n Tread!’ I’ll look fwd to Thursday’s tutorial and most definitely your online monogramed class this summer. I just signed up for a summer Maderia course out East and am jumping out of my skin I am so excited to learn madeira embroidery! I’ve been waiting a long time for something like this to show up and it never seems be happening through EGA courses that I know of—–and now your monogramed offering. Great! Thanks for your reply, Mary. Roxanne

  5. I just finished teaching a 2-day monogram class at a Regional EGA Seminar. It was a lot of fun. I know “my girls” read your column, so I hope they put this beautiful monogram frame to use!! Thanks for all you do, Mary!

  6. So excited to hear about your upcoming summer monogram class. Can’t wait to hear more about it (and here is a request, if possible, could the class include a ‘how to’ on intertwined letters?)

    Love all you do Mary!

  7. I’m very new to embroidery, so wanted to ask what you print patterns on, so that it can be stamped on the fabric. Thanks in advance for your help.

    Kind regards,

  8. I LOVE that you quoted Dorcas Lane : “They are my One Weakness”!
    I hope you enjoyed “From Lark Rise to Candleford” as much as I did.
    Best regards

    1. 🙂 Good catch, Em – I did like it, at first. I thought the later seasons were a bit drawn out. Sometimes, it better to end a series while people really like it and are clamoring for more, than to draw it out to the point when the audience’s opinion and attention shifts!

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