Mary Corbet

writer and founder


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

Contact Mary

Connect with Mary



2024 (65) 2023 (125) 2022 (136) 2021 (130) 2020 (132) 2019 (147) 2018 (146) 2017 (169) 2016 (147) 2015 (246) 2014 (294) 2013 (294) 2012 (305) 2011 (306) 2010 (316) 2009 (367) 2008 (352) 2007 (225) 2006 (139)

Free Hand Embroidery Pattern: Exuberant Flower


Amazon Books

Here’s a little free hand embroidery pattern for you – one that has loads of possibilities when it comes to embroidery techniques!

This is an adaptation of an element within a much larger project featured in the old Herrschner’s catalog from the beginning of the 1900’s. If you’ve never seen that catalog, you can find it online in various places. Antique Pattern Library has it available under H, and you can also search Flickr (using “Herrschner 1907”) and many images from it will come up.

But… all that having been said…. if you can find your own real copy of it from used or rare booksellers, it’s a wonderful resource to have! It’s so enjoyable to browse through.

Imagine how much fun it must have been for embroiderers at the turn of the 20th century to find out a new catalog was out, to wait with anticipation to see it, and finally to linger over the pages making purchasing decisions!

I found my copy foraging through a library book sale years ago, and picked it up for a whole fifty cents. One of those serendipitous moments…

Free Hand Embroidery Pattern

I’m calling this embroidery pattern “Exuberant Flower” because, despite its diminutive size (it prints at just three inches high), it has a rather lush and luxuriant look to its foliage.

It reminds me of a cross between a brilliant sunrise and Jack’s beanstalk.

This is the type of design that I would call a “small.” A small is a small embroidery design perfect for sampling a technique.

I can see this little drawing worked in crewel embroidery in bright, lively colors. I can see it worked in regular surface embroidery with cotton floss or floche. What about redwork on the corner of a quilt square? It would make a good beginner’s goldwork piece. How about some appliqué and embroidery mixed together? In fabric or felt? You could even adapt it for blackwork. So, lots of possibilities in this little 3″ pattern.

I’m pretty sure you can think of many other ways to use it, too! Any ideas?

You can click on the link below to open the PDF and save it to your computer for the next time you need a little practice piece for any technique. If you print it at the original size (without scaling), the design will print at 3″ high.

Exuberant Flower Hand Embroidery Pattern

Hope you enjoy it!

You can find plenty of other free hand embroidery patterns available here on Needle ‘n Thread, if you’re hankering for something fun to stitch! Feel free to check out the collection!

Looking for inspiration & information on hand embroidery?

There are all kinds of reasons to sign up for the Needle ‘n Thread daily newsletter! Check them out and sign up today!


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(11) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    What a lovely embroidery pattern lots of ideas already flowing in my head for this little design. Me thinks It just needs Jack to climb the beanstalk and get a better look at the sunrise! thanks for sharing this with us another idea to ponder on.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  2. I get Herrschners but never considered keeping them. Now I wonder what I’ve lost. Adorable flower design. I love the chubby leaves (sunflower type) and huge petals.

    1. Hi, Irene – Ah, the catalogs that come in the mail today are not quite the same as the ones printed over a century ago. The ones from a century ago concentrated on all kinds of designs for surface embroidery, lace-making (lots of Battenburg lace designs that can be adapted for embroidery) and so forth. They were essentially pattern catalogs, so they are full of little pictures of the larger embroidery designs that could be ordered. ~MC

  3. merci beaucoup pour cette magnifique fleur à broder; ce ne sera surement pas aussi beau que toi,je n’ai pas ce niveau de broderie. AMICALEMENT

  4. Thank you, Mary! I am so glad there are still some people who like and do HAND embroidery. Everything in catalogs is machine embroidery. For one thing, not all of us can afford the computerized embroidery machines, but most important I want ‘me’ in my work. I guess with machines you set it up and can walk away. I take pride in my work so I want it to be MY work not a MACHINE’S. Sorry I rambled on. Thank you again for all your ‘freebies’ but most of all your inspiration!

  5. Thank you for the free pattern – this little flower is not quite ‘me’, but you said that the book was on the Antique Pattern Library – a wonderful, wonderful resource that I use a lot. Somehow I’d missed this old catalogue. So I downloaded it yesterday. Almost immediately, I found a wonderfully-inspiring battenberg lace pattern that I am just itching to adapt and work – but as an ink and colour-wash drawing, not an embroidery. Thank you for starting off yet another inspiration.

More Comments