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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Bloomin’ Branch – A Stylized Motif for Hand Embroidery


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Off and on, I love to spend time doodling about with hand embroidery designs that eventually, I’d like to embroider!

Some of this fiddling is done in sketch books, some is done on the computer (usually after I’ve played about in a sketch book), and some is done on vellum over old embroidery patterns, photos of old pieces of embroidery (from ecclesiastical embroidery collections I’ve visited), or over real pieces of embroidery that I’ve collected.

But you know how it is. You understand this dilemma:

So many ideas, so little time.

Today’s hand embroidery pattern is one example of an excerpt from an old folio of ecclesiastical embroidery designs. I cleaned up the excerpt, made some changes to it, and ended up with a stylized blooming something-or-other.

And because I have such a gosh-awful time naming things, I’m calling this one Bloomin’ Branch: A Stylized Motif for Hand Embroidery.

Bloomin' Branch: A Stylized Motif for Hand Embroidery - free hand embroidery pattern

Now, this stylized embroidery design is super-suitable for all kinds of embroidery techniques, but in mind, one stands out more than others: goldwork (with silk). I think it would make a good study piece for goldwork and silk embroidery.

Still, crewel embroidery – it would work. Whitework – sure! Tambour embroidery – oh, yes. In fact, tambour embroidery would be my second choice.

But this type of design always screams goldwork to me. What do you think? How do you see it, embroidered?

This Bloomin’ Branch goes goes well with this Rococo Bud embroidery design I posted last year. They’re both excerpts. They’re both stylized. They’re both branchy things.

Bloomin’ Branch Embroidery Pattern Printable

Below, you’ll find the handy-dandy PDF printable for the Bloomin’ Branch.

The design prints at 5″ high, if you print it at 100% with no scaling. I think you could print it smaller (4″ – 4.5″ high) for silk and goldwork, and if you’re thinking about crewel work or something with heavy threads, you could print it larger (6″), but 5″ seemed about right to me, for practically any technique.

Bloomin’ Branch: A Stylized Motif for Hand Embroidery (PDF)

If you’re looking for more hand embroidery patterns, you can find many designs for hand embroidery available for free here on Needle ‘n Thread. Browse through the Embroidery Patterns page, and maybe you’ll find a design that will spark your interest!

Hope you enjoy this one!

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(12) Comments

  1. Dear Mary

    The Bloomin’ Branch is a lovely pattern and ideas are certainly blooming and yes I agree because it is a thick sturdy design it screams silk thread buttonhole stitch and silk shading covered with different types of goldwork. Thanks for your hard work in re-designing this embroidery pattern for us and sharing it with us to embroider. I hope you have a great weekend.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  2. To be completely honest wide areas like branch and and leaves leave me in a quandary. I’m never sure what filling stitches will work.

    1. I know what you mean, Kristina! That’s why I always think of silk and goldwork. With silk, I’d shade those in long & short stitch. Outlining and accents in gold….. Of course, with something like tambour work, they could be filled with chain stitch. And with whitework, they could be worked in a pulled thread or drawn thread technique, edged with trailing or something similar. In regular surface embroidery or in crewel embroidery, those areas can be worked in long and short stitch, left blank, or filled with seed stitch or small scattered filling stitches, etc.

    2. Well I’ve been unable to stitch for a long time and I miss it. Thanks for the continued inspiration.

    3. Many years ago, far too many to admit to, save that it was in the era of embroidered caftans, I made one for myself and embroidered around the neckline (I confess it was a Vogue pattern complete with the embroidery transfer). The salient fact here is that the whole pattern which was floral in nature was worked in chain stitch. What I am trying to say is I think this motif could be worked very effectively in just chain stitch, with for example, 5 or 6 rows side by side for the stems following the design lines.

      As Mary said there are any number of ways to embroider this delightful motif; this is just one more.

  3. Mary…

    I have been using long & Short stitch for my most recent projects and I am getting forgetful/rusty on other favorite stitches. I am definitely using my imagination and getting inspired to use those “other” stitches in this pattern. Ah, this now becomes “another” item added to my “Wish I Can Finish This in 2015” List!

    Stitchingly yours,

  4. Good New Year Mary, What a lovely blossom. I like that it is small. One of my goals this year is to learn to learn to work with the Gold threads. Is this a good design to learn on?

    1. Hi, Victoria – You could use it as a starter project – it just depends on how determined you are to learn! I’d make sure to have a good reference book about Goldwork on hand – I’ve reviewed several that you can find under Books. Hazel Everett’s books is exceptionally good. -MC

  5. I can definitely see it in goldwork, like you said. The design reminds me a bit of a daffodil in the flower, but I think I’d rather do it in deeper, richer colors than that if I was working in gold. A wine red, maybe? IF you ever get around to stitching it, I’m sure it will be gorgeous!

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