I’m calling this free hand embroidery pattern Art Nouveau, although it doesn’t quite have all the qualities of an Art Nouveau design. I think the reason Art Nouveau came to mind was because this is a pattern from an old catalog from the early 1900’s.
This was originally a cushion pattern, and the full embroidery design could certainly be used in the same way. But what I like about this particular design is that it can be taken apart fairly easily and reconstructed into different design schemes. It can be rendered in embroidery in many different ways.
This is the original pattern, more or less. There were some elements in the design that were not clear due to damage in my copy of the catalog, so I reconstructed it after drawing the clearly visible elements.
It’s obviously a pattern of repeats, so if you look at each element individually, you can see how it could be broken down into a variety of different designs all along the same theme.
For example, this is one of the corner designs. Taken individually, it can stand on its own, right?
Then we have the center design element, which could also work on its own.
And then we can start playing with the center design element and some of the side design elements, and mix things up a bit.
It’s just a matter of playing around, sketching, tracing, seeing what works.
The embroidery design itself is suitable for practically any kind of technique, from surface embroidery with regular embroidery floss, to silk shading (those swashy things would look great in gradual shaded tones), to whitework (eyelets for the dots?), to goldwork (spangles for the dots? chip work?).
Well, I’ll leave the interpretation up to you! Here are the designs in downloadable PDFs:
Hope you enjoy them! If you ever make anything with them, I’d love to see it – send photos!
If you’re hankering to start a hand embroidery project but don’t have a pattern to work with, feel free to browse my collection of free hand embroidery patterns here on Needle ‘n Thread!
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