I’m still cleaning up my great big folio of ecclesiastical embroidery patterns from the early 1900’s. It’s quite a task!
Occasionally, I come across some little excerpts or individual elements that I like to share here on Needle ‘n Thread. Some are obviously ecclesiastical in design, while others can be used for secular embroidery pursuits, too.
I’ve already posted several patterns that I’ve cleaned up from the same folio: this fleur-de-lis frame, the bloomin’ branch, this lily in a diamond, this wheat bundle, this rococo bud, and others. These are all excerpts from larger ecclesiastical designs, but I thought, taken individually, they make nice patterns for embroidery in general.
This small stylized passion flower is also an excerpt from a larger collection. The way many old folio collections of patterns were laid out, you could mix and match small vignettes from different designs and work them into other, larger designs. This provided a huge variety of possible embroidery designs, published in a smaller space.
Anyway, I thought the design was appropriate, since it’s Ash Wednesday. Maybe you can find some use for it!
The passion flower is a common symbol in ecclesiastical embroidery. You can see it in embroidery on altar frontals, vestments, banners, and the like. It’s a been a popular symbol since the early 15th century, especially adopted by the Spanish, but then eventually incorporated in Christian symbolism all around Europe. The various elements of the flower were seen to represent different elements in Christ’s passion, which is why it is commonly called (in English) the passion flower.
In some countries, though, the flower is called a “clock flower” because of its resemblance to a clock face!
However, the version here is definitely ecclesiastical in flavor, due to the stylization of the flower with a crown of thorns around the center.
There are so many ways you can go about embroidering a design like this!
It can be used for whitework, for goldwork and silk, or just for regular surface embroidery. You could appliqué the leaves and stitch the rest of the design, depending on how large you want to make it. (Appliqué works well for larger designs, and not as well for smaller designs.) You could embroider the design for a bible cover, for an element in a banner, for any church linens or decor.
Small Passion Flower PDF Printable
Here’s the PDF printable for the small passion flower. The flower prints at 3″ in both directions, but if you want it smaller or larger, you can always enlarge it on a photocopier or your printer.
You can find more ecclesiastical hand embroidery patterns here on Needle ‘n Thread, if you’re looking for something church-isn to embroider this Lent. You might even enjoy my Church Patterns for Hand Embroidery, Book 1, which includes over 120 patterns from old sources, cleaned up, squared up, and ready to used for stitching, arts, card-making, and whatnot.