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 Patterns Book Online


Amazon Books

I love finding old embroidery books online, especially when they offer good instruction or patterns.

While it’s often difficult to find hard copies of these wonderful old resources, many different websites provide scanned copies of out-of-copyright books, pamphlets, and whatnot relating to embroidery. My favorite online book resources are Antique Pattern Library and Internet Archive.

This morning, I’d like to point you a little treasure over at Internet Archive.


This gem is a book published in 1917 titled An Embroidery Pattern Book and written by Mary E. Waring.


Throughout the book, there are lots of neat little patterns that would work well for individual embroidered elements or repeated motifs. They would make fun practice elements, too.


Some of them are really fun! I’m kind of taken with the frog and the lizard, as a matter of fact – and I like the worried fish, though I could probably leave the snake, personally….!

These could be really fun, by the way, to make into Little Things! There’s a section of the Little Things e-book about designing your own Little Things, and small, individual patterns like this would fit right into that.


I like this geometric design, too! I can see it in a combination of blackwork and goldwork…


This little sweet scene is found near the back of the book as a suggestion for a baby’s bib. Can’t help it – makes me think of the Little Things again – perfect for that! It’s churned up some ideas, anyway!

The Embroidery Pattern Book by Mary Waring is available free on Internet Archive in various formats, including PDF, EPUB, Kindle, a text file, or as an html file that you can read online. Hope you enjoy it!


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(27) Comments

  1. WOW! I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted some tree patterns and these are fantastic! I also love the bunnies and sheep. I adore bunnies!

    Thank you! I will be going to look at this book in more depth.

  2. Dear Mary

    Thanks for this reference to the free online book by Mary Waring my favourite is the last photo of the bunnies and sheep and as you suggested it would be perfect for a baby’s bib. It’s great when you can obtain free online resources like this especially if you don’t have the means to buy embroidery resources.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  3. Oh, the lamb and bunnies! I do not usually go nuts over cute-kiddy-patterns (in fact, razzberries would be a more normal reaction) but that one . . . maybe on the right tote bag, to carry to the farmers’ market, because unless my husband’s niece decides to reproduce, I have NO current outlet for embroidery-for-children.

  4. Oh Mary, I love all the animals but I don’t think that fish is worried – it looks more like attitude.

  5. What a delightful little book. I truly enjoyed looking through it. Those two sights are some of my favorites also. They just have so much that you can go through the sites over and over again and still find something new. I had not seen that one. Thank you.

  6. This book is fabulous! I get itchy fingers just ‘flipping’ through the pages. Thanks so much for the reference and corresponding link.

  7. Just opened the book and the introduction is very modern. The writer encourages embroiderers to not be constrained by pattern books but to engage in “the fascinating game of playing with the needle”, with reference to design. These words have as much relevance today as to readers almost 100 years ago.

  8. Thanks for the link to this terrific resource. I’m loving the many leaves featured, as well as the insects, and birds. Can I admit a certain weakness for the mouse?! Hmmm, a Little with a grey mouse…

  9. Dear Mary,

    I cannot seem to get the daily newsletter. I just keep getting the message that you have my
    email address. Is there a chance you could
    look into this please?

  10. Gracias por los diseƱos y patrones de bordado! Soy encajera de bolillos, pero el bordado me alegra la vida. Es un placer enhebrar la aguja y luego, mansa y dulcemente, seguir el
    el diseƱo hasta que aparezca, glorioso prendido a la tela!!! Un gran abrazo de agradecimiento y de admiraciĆ³n!!

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