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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Tulips & Blooms – Free Hand Embroidery Design


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Today, a rather exuberant hand embroidery design for you!

This is no small embroidery pattern. If you were to undertake it as a project, I think it could occupy you for quite a while! But it depends, really, on how it’s worked.

I have some ideas on how Tulips & Blooms can be interpreted in embroidery, from simple to complex projects, and I’ll share those with you below. I’ll also talk about the pattern itself, its origins, how I’ve changed it up a bit, and then, if you want to chime in with some stitching ideas, that would be great, too!

Tulips & Blooms Hand Embroidery Design

I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll probably say it again, but I’m pretty bad at naming embroidery projects and designs! But when I look at this particular patter, I see tulips and blooms, so that’s what I called it.

The pattern itself originated as a Therese de Dillmont design from one of the public domain DMC books. But, not satisfied with Dillmont’s original design – or with its presentation in the original book – I decided to change the design up a bit.

In the original book, the design is presented on a gridded background, to make enlarging it by hand-drawing it easier and to make it easier to repeat the design when transferring it. Only part of the design is presented in the original book.

Strangely enough, though, when you settle down to really study the design and work out the repeats, the version in the book is slightly off. This doesn’t really matter if you are re-drawing a design completely by hand in order to transfer it. But if you were tracing the design, using the gridded lines as a guide, it would be problematic.

So my first purpose when I tackled this particular design – which I like very much – was to straighten the whole thing out and present it as a complete design, without repeats.

Then, my second purpose was to make the elements more sensibly sitchable.

Making the Elements More Stitchable

In the original there are several elements that I considered odd in shape or situation, and several that I think would translate better into stitches, with some modifications.

Tulips & Blooms Hand Embroidery Design

So, this area on the old design – well….it’s kind of just odd. And how would you interpret it into stitches? Just a filled area? Perhaps a shaded, filled area?

In any case, I think it would come out as an odd shape on the overall piece, and, if filled, because of the size of the element, I think it would draw the eye to something that looks rather like bulging biceps.

So I changed that element entirely, working the bicep thing into another curved branch with leaves, and segmenting the element above it.

Some of the floral elements, I adjusted a little bit and added vein lines to them to give a sense of direction or to just break up the open area. A couple elements I adapted into more obvious florals, rather than just shapes.

Once I had my drawing complete, I scanned it, traced it as a vector and got everything pretty much situated for the whole design. You can read about my process of turning a drawing into a downloadable design here.

Tulips & Blooms Hand Embroidery Design

Of course, there’s the problem of printing, when offering free downloads. Most people are printing on standard paper sizes when printing from home. But this creates a very fine, very detailed pattern that’s only about 7×7″. That’s a lot going on in 7×7″! If you’re working with very fine threads, it would work – and it would be very pretty!

But I could see this design more appropriately stitched much larger – in fact, 13.5″ x 13.5″ would make a nice size for a cushion design.

So, I split the pattern into a quarter, so that, if you want to transfer the design at a large size right from home, you simply have to transfer the quarter repeat four times.

It would be vastly easier, though, to print the smaller size and then stop by a copy service and have them enlarge and print the whole design to 13.5″ on larger paper, and then to work from there.


If you went all-out on a large cushion size with this design, it would work up much faster in crewel wool than it would, for example, in cotton or silk. So the design, enlarged, is definitely “crewel ready.”

That said, if you wanted to go very elaborate with colors, fillings, and what, working the design in cotton or silk, you can do that, too!

But if you want something that’s simpler and quick, I think the whole piece would work up very nicely in a monochromatic approach, just stitching the design lines. I could see it, as well, in a white-on-white or ecru-on-white with different textured line stitches worked over the outlines.

So, while the design seems complex, the complexity of the embroidery and the amount of time it would take to stitch really depend on how you want to interpret the design.

If you want to go all-out-elaborate in multiple fillings with cotton or silk, there’s that option. If you want to take a moderate approach with a larger cushion design, it would work up well with crewel wool. And, for a quicker but elegant design, stitching just the lines in a monochromatic scheme or white or ecru on white would get you to a finish faster than the first two options.

Tulip & Blooms Design Downloads

Whatever your approach, I hope you enjoy the design! Here are the PDF printables that you can download and print from your own computer:

Tulips & Blooms – full design (approximately 7″ x 7″)

Tulips & Blooms – quarter design (when duplicated, will make approximately a 13.5″ x 13.5″ design)

Hope you enjoy it!

Looking for More?

You can find more free hand embroidery designs to download and stitch right here under Patterns on Needle ‘n Thread.

If you’re looking for stitch-along projects, check out the first section on my Tips and Techniques Index here.

And if you’re looking for full step-by-step project instructions for various types of embroidery projects, you can find several project e-books available for download in my shop.

If you’re looking for downloadable versions of the public domain Therese de Dillmont books, you can find a while slew of them available for free through Antique Pattern Library. Careful, though! Browsing through there is like falling into the abyss! You won’t come up for air for ages.



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(38) Comments

  1. Lovely design and I like how you’ve manipulated it – but your pdf links for printing aren’t live đŸ™‚


  2. Hi Mary,
    Where can I find the link(s) to download the Tulip & Blooms .pdf?
    Probably just me but I don’t see anything to click on?
    Hugs, Colleen

  3. I have been wanting to make a ‘dust cover’ of sorts, to drape over my embroidery stand when not working on the current project and I think I just found the design for it!
    I wanted something that would be at least somewhat attractive as my projects stand sits in my sun room. I plan on centering your Tulips & Blooms in the center of the fabric and then use the ‘quarter’ size in each corner of the squared cover (does that make sense to you?). I thought I would do it as white stitching on white fabric, subtle but attractive, don’t you think? Any ideas or suggestions?

  4. Both the design and your tweaking are lovely, Mary. I like the idea of crewel…or of Hazel B.-style modern crewel in cotton or silks. If I were to go for white stitching, I would be drawn to doing it on a darker “burlap” toned linen, I think. This one definitely goes on the list…the live to a 150 list! Thanks for another stitch dream!

  5. I looked at your “bulging biceps” area and saw the shape of a bearded iris (sideways). If I were doing the design, that’s what I’d make it, in shades of purple with a smidge of yellow…

  6. Dear Mary

    Very pretty design and just full of Tulips and just right for the Spring season. As you said it would make a lovely design on a cushion or similar large item. Thanks for the free pattern and for sharing it with us it’s really pretty.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  7. Hi Mary,
    The pdf doesn’t seem to be here, which is tragic because this design is GORGEOUS! I think that the changes that you made to the original are perfect. When we’re able to download it, I suspect that this will “jump the queue” of projects that I have lined up to stitch. Thanks again for your wonderful work.

  8. Morning Mary,
    I don’t see a link to download the Tulips and Blooms design. Am I missing it?

    Hope you have a great day.
    Thank you
    Deborah BJ

  9. I’m sorry, I must be missing something. I don’t see links to the PDFs. Do I need more caffeine this morning?! Thank you for the beautiful design, Mary.

  10. Thank you for the pattern.Really beautiful. Antique pattern library it is really an abyss, but I do not think any of us minds that. What I do mind that I do not have so much more time and necessary materials to stitch all my wish list. How does your wishlist looks?

  11. Hi Mary,

    Thank you for this beautifull design well shaped and full of possibilities. Once again your website offers new horizons for stitching. I am just a bit surprise about the link to the PDF file that seems not to work. Could you please have a look on it ?
    Since two months I am reading all your posts from the begining of your site and I am delighted with the amount of informations, tips, gorgeous pictures, exciting analysis that you offer to your reader. It’s really a big job you have done and as I am only in 2011 I have ahead a lot of good reading for my evenings. Thank you again for the pleasure you give. Kind regards
    Florence (Brittany)

  12. “In the original there are several elements that I considered odd in shape or situation…” Ha! This sounded so much like Jane Austen that it made me giggle! Thank you for the lovely design–Can’t wait to stitch it!

  13. Thank you, Mary, for another lovely design to add to the wishlist! And for fixing the pdf link. Have a safe and wonderful trip.

  14. Thank you Mary. As I can see I was not alone in frustration. You don’t have to be sorry, it may happend to everybody and its nothing beside the work you do. Have a nice day !

  15. What a fantastic design- I am going to try it with free motion quilting! May have to leave out a few elements, but I can’t resist the challenge!

  16. Mary, I just have to tell you that I love you to bits…I was sitting here reading about the design you’ve modified for our benefit and it just made me smile. I’m still a young stitcher, though not so young woman and I learn so very much from your posts. Truly, I appreciate all you do and don’t know how I could progress without the information you provide. Thank you for the pattern!

  17. The 13.5″ x 13.5″ size could be used as vanity dresser mat. Yes, it is round and vanity tops are rectangles for the most part, but the circle would be in the center of a slightly larger piece of fabric cut and hemmed to fit the rectangle of the natural wood vanity dresser in my bedroom. I plan to throw caution to the winds and do it in silk thread – shading, colors and all! I also plan to be very careful with the stitching, which for me would be months of work. Thank you for this pattern!

  18. I’m thinking about doing this pattern on an ivory white satiny piece of fabric with white floss outline. I think it’s called candlewicking, or white work, and something like that. I’d like to make it as a placemat type of article for the cut flowers from my garden

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