Free hand embroidery patterns

I was browsing the Antique pattern Library and discovered 3 files I had not spotted before. They are part of the 1907 Herrschner Catalogue. It caught my eye since it was described as

“Herrschner, Frederick. Art Needlework Supplies General Catalog. Chicago, Frederick Herrschner, c.1907, 242pgs. Scans donated and photo edited by Luann Pfost 08-2010. Enormous and beautiful needlework catalog, a wonderful reference for early 20thC needlework, with many illustrations.”

After I down loaded the PDF files to discover pages and pages of patterns that could be used in either crazy quilting or on small hand embroidery projects.

Some of the patterns are a bit blurred but I have cleaned up a few using GIMP (a graphics software program) to show you just a little of the sort of free needlework patterns are to be found in the catalogue.

Feel free to right click and save these designs if you like them as they are out of copyright. Just if you pass them on note where they come from.

There are quite a few that would be suitable for biscornu designs.

You will find  the 1907 Herrschner Catalogue in the Antique pattern library and the three files are called:


  • HerrschnerCatalog1.pdf
  • HerrschnerCatalog2.pdf
  • HerrschnerCatalog3.pdf


If you have trouble opening them see the Pattern library instructions at the top of the page as you really do need the latest version of acrobat 9.0 to view them.

Simply right click on the image and save to your computer. If people like the cleaned up versions of these files. Let me know if they are useful as they could easily become a mini series offered here when I had time.

Leave a comment and let me know what you think of them.

Anyway happy stitching!

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25 Responses to Free hand embroidery patterns

  1. A. Willems says:

    I am a young adult VERY interested in learning to hand embroider. I love the patterns shown here but I know absolutely no stitch styling. How do I get started?

    • sharonb says:

      Start with the first 12 stitches in the TAST challenge – learn those and you will find you can apply them to most patterns- the list is in the TAST FAQ page

    • Jules says:

      Go to Needle & Thread website. Mary Corbet has all stitches in free great tutorials that you can follow easily. Especially for new starters. Good luck.

  2. Sharon B says:

    You did not leave an email address os I will answer here. The original patterns are open source (link in the post) and sure you can share the info that I have cleaned some up and link to it.

  3. Hi Sharon,
    My favourite is the one with the basket.Is it OK if I embroider and show it in my blog?

  4. JulieK says:

    These are lovely and will make really nice parchment cards. Thank You

  5. Sharon B says:

    Hi Kamala the designs don't come with suggested stitches. People select their own. In the days when the designs were first released people did not have such detailed kits and I think were more creative as a result. But that is a soapbox of mine. Basically you get to choose your own stitches. If you need help with jogging your memory I have a stitch dictionary online here

  6. Kamala says:

    I love these designs. Thanks so much for cleaning them up and posting them. How do you know which stitch to use? Are there directions in the original catalogue? Sorry for the stupid question. I haven't embroidered since childhood. I remember some stitches, but I think it was only in kits with detailed directions. I really love the freer, more creative designs I've seen on your site (been reading for hours) and Maureen's blog. Kamala

  7. Sharon B says:

    ndb – sorry I cant fix that it is not my site. As I said in the post you need the latest version of adobe reader however

  8. ndb says:

    I tried downloading the PDF's but they are locked and require a password to open them for viewing. Can you fix that?

  9. viji says:

    I liked all the designs very much.
    Being an learner, i triedout the kikos flower stitch with the design no.4 and uploaded at stitchinfingers photo, flicker site and my blog. Have a look.
    I found very intersted in doing so. Thanks a lot.

  10. viji says:

    Very pretty designs. Thanks for sharing.

  11. jojo says:

    j aime ce que vous faites vous etes douee comment faire pour s inscrire a votre newletter j ai beaucoup d admiration pour vous jojo

  12. Sharon B says:

    Maureen I hope everyone follows your link as its great just beautiful!

  13. Ati says:

    Thank you Sharon. They are lovely!

  14. Maureen Bond says:

    Thanks Sharon for the patterns. I embroidered one and have blogged it at

    if you'd like a peek.

  15. wendy says:

    Thanks Sharon,

    I can't open them so I'm sending the link to my husband to sort out!

  16. Sarah Vee says:

    Thank you for sharing these motifs, Sharon. I find them inspiring for quilt patterns as well. I am starting to practice embroidery stitches and these are great designs to keep me motivated:)

  17. Isangel says:

    Muchas gracias por compartirlos. Son preciosos. Saludos

  18. Frances says:

    I am not into embroidery, but I see some WONDERFUL machine quilting patterns there!!!! Thanks so much for sharing these.

  19. Pam Kellogg says:

    Sharon, thank you so much! These are just lovely! I have a few old Herrschner catalogs here that I picked up at my flea market travels over the years.


  20. Bobbi Pohl says:

    Oh, thank you for this. I'm working now on a large crazy quilt block entitled "purple baskets." I need lots of old flower and fruit basket patterns and I found several in this catalog.

  21. Maureen Bond says:

    Thanks for sharing Sharon. The patterns are lovely I can see Mountmellick for the first and the last 4 with silk ribbons in Japanese stitch with Fargo roses. I'll try the last one.

  22. Karen Carroll says:

    Thanks so much for putting up the free patterns. I luv to embroider but I'm not a designer and can't come up with my own designs. Karen

  23. These are lovely images — and I appreciate your cleaning them up. I can see where they'd be lovely in embroidery, I can also see that, enlarged, they could be lovely applique….Thanks for sharing this resource!

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