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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Fleur-de-lis Frame: Free Hand Embroidery Pattern


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Golly, it’s been a long time since I offered a free hand embroidery pattern to you all, that isn’t a monogram!

Today seems as good a day as any to share one of the embroidery patterns I’ve been playing with this year.

This particular pattern was inspired by a design from a very old folio of full-sized ecclesiastical patterns that I was able to buy from a used bookshop in Belgium.

Free Hand Embroidery Pattern: Fleur-de-lis Frame

You don’t often find full-sized church pattern folios from the late 1800’s-early 1900’s still intact, with all the pages whole and entire, unused, so this particular folio is one of my favorite treasures.

Preserving & Printing Large Embroidery Patterns

To make sure I preserved it a number of ways, I took it to a blueprint printer and had two full sets of prints made of the whole folio, on vellum. One of these sets, I’ll use. The other, I’ll save.

I also had the pages scanned and saved as full resolution PDFs and TIFFS. That way, I have both electronic and vellum copies of the designs.

If you ever do come across large, full-sized old pattern books that you want to preserve, take them to a blueprint printing service. You can choose the type of paper you want them on (vellum is an excellent choice for embroidery patterns), and you can have them scanned, too, so that you can save them electronically.

Embroidery Ideas

Back to the today’s pattern – it’s pretty versatile. You could work it in any surface embroidery techniques, really. Of course, goldwork and silk come to mind right away, but whitework, regular surface embroidery with floss in colors, even wool embroidery for, say, a cushion cover – they’d all work!

For the center, you could embroider a monogram, perhaps. You could even cut out the center, mount the embroidery on mat board, and use it literally as a frame, around a photo or a mirror.

Use in Church Embroidery

If you are interested in church embroidery, this type of frame is often used to decorate a sacred monogram, like this:

Free Hand Embroidery Pattern: Fleur-de-lis Frame

An IHS, Alpha & Omega, or a Marian monogram would work well. The IHS above is taken from one of the designs in my Church Patterns e-book. It fits really well!

You can do this pretty easily by printing the patterns (the frame and whatever you’re going to put in the middle of it) at the right size ratio, then cutting out the inside design, situating it and taping or gluing it in place inside the frame. Then, take it to a photocopier and have it enlarged to the size that you want.

The Fleur-de-lis Frame could also be enlarged quite a bit and used to surround a piece of figure embroidery or a larger symbol. It would make a great decoration for a vestment, a pulpit fall, an altar frontal, or a banner. Reduced and stitched very fine, it would work well on a pall or other small linens.

It can also be used for embroidery other than church embroidery. The design itself, without the inside sacred monogram as it’s shown above, is adaptable.

PDF Printable

Here’s the PDF printable for the Fleur-de-lis Frame. The design will print at about 7.75″ square, if you choose the “no scaling” or similar option in your printer settings. A photocopier is the best way to enlarge it, if you need to.

Fleur-de-lis Frame – Free Hand Embroidery Pattern (PDF)

Don’t feel limited to using the design for embroidery! If you’re into paper crafts, painting, and the like, it’ll translate pretty well into other craft mediums, too.

Hope you find a use for it and enjoy it!

You can find lots more free hand embroidery patterns right here on Needle ‘n Thread, if you’re looking for something fun to stitch! If you are interested in church embroidery, check out my Church Patterns e-book, which has over 120 ecclesiastical designs that have been straightened and cleaned up into clear line drawings that can be enlarged or reduced as you need them.


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(22) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,

    I am curious how you find such wonderful treasures. Did you just google “church patterns” and come across this bookstore? Or is it more complicated. Perhaps you could do a small article on finding/searching for old patterns etc. My personal interest is old sewing etuis, baskets, sewing purses, etc.

    Barbara La Belle

  2. Thank you for your always interesting postings.
    You talk about blue print printing… Does that make a copy you can transfer with a hot iron?

    1. No, it’s blueprint – as in, blueprints for houses, etc. Blueprint printers print large format documents, and they print on vellum if you want it on vellum.

    2. I do not understand why you prefer blue print to a regular copy. I would like you to give more info on that. Thank you.

    3. Most local printers won’t do large size printing on vellum. Vellum is perfect for embroidery patterns because it’s somewhat see through, it’s very sturdy, and when it is pricked for design transfer, it can be re-used forever.

  3. Dear Mary

    What a lucky find and a very pretty pattern and what a great idea to add a monogram in the centre or a frame around a photograph, or a surround for a figure embroidery. Thanks for the sharing the Fleur-de-lis design with us and for the tips on embroidering the pattern.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  4. Dear Mrs. Corbet,

    At one point I had noticed that your Church Patterns for Embroideries book was designated with the numeral ‘1’. It gave me the impression that you would be coming out with another volume in the future. Do you have any plans to publish another book with ecclesiastical patterns? Also, are you familiar with the designs of Rev. Joseph Braun, S.J. from the early 1900’s?

    1. Some day! It takes forever to do each pattern…but yes, I plan to. Yes, I have Braun’s full-sized folio – it’s exquisite. It has some excellent figure embroidery patterns in it, too!

    2. Dear Mrs. Corbet,

      While not the full sized folio ‘cadillac’ edition of Braun’s work, there is another work of his with some patterns available in pdf format from the University of Heidelberg.

      The patterns are in an appendix after page 108. If you read German, pp. 90 sqq. contains Braun’s recommendations for their use and suggestions for their execution in embroidery.

  5. Such a beautiful design though I think it would take time to stitch considering the detail involved in some parts or at least it would for me! Thank you for sharing this pattern with us and for its’ suggested uses – much appreciated. I too am looking forward to your Church Patterns for Embroidery & Other Arts eBook Volume II!

  6. I’m glad that that pattern book found such a good home – someone who could appreciate it for what it was, who knew how to take care of it, who could use the treasures it contained – and who, very generously, was willing to share. The fleur-de-lis border is gorgeous.

  7. Thank you for yet another gorgeous design. I don’t know when I am going to have time to do all these things but as they are on the ‘bucket list’ I remain hopeful. This one is very pretty – I love fleurs de lis. I recall being a bit gobsmacked when I found out that the fleur de lis is actually an iris and not a lily. Somehow I had always thought it was a lily until relatively recently.

  8. Hi Mary,
    Thank you very much for all time posting mail through i am learning so many things i am improving my work
    thank you very much
    good day

    1. Hi, Amy – you can use them on already made things, but you can’t print them and include them in your own kits to sell, for making things with them. Feel free to contact me with the contact form on the website, and we can discuss further, though!

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