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 (40) 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)

Whitework Angel Ornament – Free Pattern


Amazon Books


And there you have my Big Tribute to Halloween.

Instead of focusing on ghouls and ghosts this morning (I have none! But I do have candy if you’re out trick-or-treating!), I thought we could look ahead a bit.

With November less than 24 hours away, and December showing up shortly thereafter, it’s time to think about embroidering something special for Christmas.

And to get you started, here’s a beautiful embroidery pattern for an angel in cutwork (or Richelieu) embroidery.

The pattern (you’ll find the PDF at the end of this article) is from Joanna at Haft Richelieu, and it is part of her Christmas collection design booklet that will be out by December (no. 61 in the Haft series). No. 61 includes 10 angels adorned with beads, along with 12 other little whitework ornaments for the tree.

Whitework Christmas Angel: Richelieu cutwork

The fun thing about these little ornament patterns is that they are relatively quick embroidery projects.

Now, admittedly, this kind of whitework – called Richelieu and sometimes just called cutwork – is not really a quick embroidery technique. All the cut edges and the inside cut away areas are lined with closely worked buttonhole stitch, and all those stitches can take a bit of time!

But in the scheme of All Things Richelieu, where the designs are usually for much larger items such as table linens and the like, little ornaments like these help you get a good taste and feel for this type of whitework, without overcommitting yourself to a massive project.

Want Color? Interpret It!

What I really love about small designs like this angel is that you can get inventive and interpret the design with regular surface embroidery, too.

For example, you could use all kinds of colors and textures to stitch the scrolly lines and the edges that define the angel. It doesn’t have to be done in cutwork.

It doesn’t have to be cut at the very edge of the fabric, either. The shape is simple enough that you can even make a stuffed, sewn ornament from it.

A little (big) part of me wanted to throw away all my current scheduled plans and embroider this design, reinterpreting it in color with surface embroidery stitches. I picture it in a multitude of colors that fade out to white in the wings, with textured stitches and lots of beads.

But then the Cold, Wet Fish of Reality slapped me in the face, reminding me to restrain myself to the current to-do list.

And so, I will leave the interpretation up to you!

(Unless, of course, I decide to slap that silly fish down and do it anyway.)

Free Richelieu Angel Embroidery Pattern

If you’d like to print out the angel and stitch it up, here’s the PDF:

Cutwork Embroidery Angel Pattern (PDF)

Hope you enjoy it!

Looking for More on Richelieu or Whitework in General?

Looking for more information on Richelieu and whitework embroidery? You might enjoy browsing some of these articles or experimenting with some other patterns:

An Easter Bunny Cutwork Pattern

Articles about Whitework on Needle ‘n Thread

Transferring Whitework Embroidery Designs with Confidence

Whitework: The Essential Stitch Guide from the RSN

A-Z of Whitework: A Book Review – and some photos

Schwalm Embroidery in a nutshell

Schwalm Embroidery by Christine Bishop – with a bit of background information


Leave A Comment

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


(11) Comments

  1. I say, if you want to stitch the angel, just add it to your to do list; then you won’t need to slap down any fish. 😉

  2. Dear Mary

    The Whitework Angel is lovely just the thing as a Christmas decoration and as you say you don’t have to use cutwork all sorts of embroidery stitches and techniques would make these lovely ornaments. I keep saying I must try cutwork as I really like it but, like you there are a couple of projects that I must complete, so this will have to go on my to-do list for future projects. Thanks for sharing this beautiful Christmas Angel with us it would look lovely on a Christmas tree etc, and thanks for the free pattern.

    Regards Anita Simmance

    1. I’d probably go for some Christmas reds, greens, golds. I’d have to feel my way through with the stitches, though. I’d probably fade them out either through lighter stitch coverage or lighter colors on the wings close to the body and work out to white. That’s how I’m picturing it, anyway!

  3. Haha! “The Cold, Wet Fish of Reality”! I love it. That thing smacking me in the face is the only reason I get out of bed in the morning. ‘Cause you can’t pee in your bed. Well, technically, you CAN. WON’T is the word. I think… it doesn’t look like it’s spelled right… and it looks weirder the longer I stare at it… and, like, what words is this made out of? “Can’t” is “can” and “not”… English is stupid. (It is still before noon, I can say stupid crap. Then, around two or three, nap time. I can say more stupid crap! Then comes evening. Very tired after a long day. More stupid crap! You know… I think I just figured out the psychology of the entire human race and why they do what they do! Now, like Einstein with his theory of relativity that had to be revised to include gravity, I must revise my little theory to include first world problems! So exciting! Go away fish.)

  4. Thank you for the pattern Mary. I won’t have time to do it this year, but will be a nice summer project! I take for granted the work you do and I appreciate it. Always look forward to your email. Hope you are doing well.

  5. Hi! First of all, love your work! So inspiring and I learn something new everytime I’m in here.
    Want I wonder about is can I use a cotton canvas tht can also be used for making clothes? I live in Norway so the selection of fabric here is not that great. And the same for the thread. DMC floss and pearl thread is most common here and can that be used and give a good result?

    – Christine

  6. I think you should reinterpret the angel in surface embroidery, in the spirit of the Christmas season, for all your loyal followers. The other (non-Christmas) projects can wait until after the holiday. (Is that argument good enough?)

  7. What a lovely design! Many thanks. Also for the notion that it might be handled in colours. Am I the only one who sees the cutwork blocks on the hem and the wings as stained glass?

More Comments