Free Patterns

Last Addition: August 2013 / Last Update: November 2013

Happily, there are now a very large number of legitmate free patterns offered online! This is a list of some of my favourites, and I hope you enjoy them too :)

Please note that most sites have their own terms of use, so please check those before stitching! Generally, freebies are limited to personal/charitable use only.

Please note that none of these sites require registration or membership!

All the patterns on the list are either .PDF (by far the most common format) or .JPEG image files; unless a special format has been used, file type is no longer noted.

If you do not have Adobe Reader (for .PDF files), you can download it for FREE.

A Note About List Organization:

There are Four Main Categories, with Sub-Categories:
1. General Needlework: Company Freebies and Historical Sources;
2. Cross-Stitch Freebies: Blackwork, Classic Cross-Stitch and Specialty Designs;
3. Embroidery Freebies: Modern Patterns and Vintage Transfers; and
4. Fine Crochet Freebies: Modern Designs and Vintage Patterns.

In each category, the sites are listed alphabetically. If a site fits multiple categories (e.g. offers embroidery *and* cross-stitch patterns), then they are listed under both headings, for easy reference :) If you have a link suggestion, please e-mail me!

This site is public access, unlike the DMC Club which requires registration! Most of the patterns are grouped by product range. Of special interest:

Cross-Stitch: Cotton Floss, Half Cross-Stitch, Color Variations (Overdyed), Light Effects (Metallic/Opalescent) and some designs in Satin Floss (Rayon);
Embroidery: 2 in Cotton; several in Pearl Cotton, and some in Satin Floss; and
Fine Crochet: by thread type - Cebelia and Traditions.

Offers a small collection of projects; most are canvas-work, but could be adapted to cross-stitch. There is also a beautiful Hardanger needlecase and pincushion.

Kreinik, the makers of specialty threads, offer many craft designs, although some projects appear in more than one category. Of special interest:

Crochet & Knitting: which includes fine crochet brooches and ornaments;
Cross-Stitch: nearly 200 projects, sorted by seasonal categories;
Hardanger: 6 projects, in addition to those classified under Cross-Stitch;
Needlepoint: includes designs that may be adapted to cross-stitch or embroidery; &
Surface Embroidery: which has 5 patterns in varying styles.

This amazing non-profit site depends on volunteers to donate and scan out-of-print arts and crafts books. There are project books, product catalogs, design sheets, ladies' workbooks, instruction manuals, period magazines and much more!!!

APL is a treasury for anyone who is interested in Victorian fashion, design and craft, or in vintage needlework materials, trends and techniques. Often, several crafts are combined together in the same book (but not always in the title!), as it was assumed that a needlewoman should be skilled in multiple techniques. So it is very worthwhile to browse interesting titles, because you never know what you'll find!

Within the Catalog, which lists all the holdings alphabetically, you can also search by Technique, Date and Publisher. The newest additions are archived on this page.

The world's largest source of free electronic books (e-books), PG hosts a Crafts Bookshelf which includes Needlework, Knitting & Crochet and general Sewing books.

Hosted by the University of Arizona, this online .PDF bibliography covers many crafts, including a small section of Cross-Stitch books and over 100 Embroidery publications. All documents have a Sample Page you can preview, and some have written reviews. There are also many resources about historical textiles.

Noted designer Elizabeth Almond offers a large and diverse collection that covers nearly the full spectrum of blackwork techniques! NOTE: There is a charge to ship a printed copy, but NOT to view/save/download/print the files.

Original blackwork designs by Paula Kate Marmor, inspired by historical sources.

A small selection of contemporary blackwork and Assisi designs; all files are Microsoft Word .DOCs and have to be saved and downloaded before opening.

This innovative blog has well over a hundred blackwork fill patterns and motifs!

This is the site of designer Jos Hendricks, and offers a large and varied collection of blackwork borders and fillings, as well as other styles drawn from historical sources, including BW Assisi work. Also has a number of articles about historical needlework. 

Acclaimed designer Kim Brody Salazar wrote one of the most definitive books on historical blackwork: The New Carolingian Modelbook, under the SCA name Ianthe de Averoigne, which is now sadly out of print. However, she has offered her newest book - the Ensamplario Atlantio - with over 200 filling patterns for FREE! It's available to download in four parts. Kim has also archived her oddities here!

Designer Lady Kell of Kincavel offers many blackwork designs, ranging from elegant to slightly subversive. There's something here for everyone! Please note that this link is to the BW Category on her blog, and so some posts are for her retail designs.

This designer offers a number of designs including the large (and aptly named!) Blackwork Challenge I and II :) Also, the Blackwork Floral is lovely!

I discovered this site when StitchinKat of StitchinKat’s Pawprints Blog posted about her impressive finish of a series of four very tiny and very cute biscornu pendants made from the Tor Rhuann Getting Squared Away collection!

Most of the Tor Rhuann designs combine Blackwork with Assisi work (in which the background is stitched and the motifs are left blank) to pleasing and unusual effect.

These two amazing sites belong to versatile designer Jeanne Dansby, who generously offers many gorgeous BW patterns on her website - WyrdByrd's Nest - and on her personal blog, Byrd's Nest. Many of her designs feature repeating motifs which can be adapted into other forms, as I did with my Robin's Nite Blackwork Bookmark.

A great collection of unique and cheerful designs, including The Stitcher's Alphabet!

Adorable dragons from Jennifer Aikman-Smith! Includes the gem-hoarding "My Treasure", the Elemental Dragons series and the popular ChristMYTH ornaments.

Two addtional designs are available at the Kreinik site, in the Cross-Stitch category under "For All Seasons": The Greatest Treasure and You Are Never Too Old.

This blog goes by a few names; it's full title is "Free Easy Cross, Pattern Maker, PCStitch Charts + Free Historic Old Pattern Books" - and there are more file formats offered - but it is widely known online as the Pattern Maker Blog. Whatever name it goes by, this wonderful site is committed to sharing gorgeous vintage needlework booklets! Most are alphabets, but there are motifs and folk art designs too.

This lovely blog is a showcase for stitched freebies, and all of the finishes posted are supposed to include the pattern name and link. Although some patterns are no longer available, this site is a great resource for discovering new ones!

This is the site of blackwork designer Jos Hendricks, and it includes a large number of large cross-stitch alphabets adapted from computer fonts and a collection of large musical notation motifs. There are articles about historical needlework too!

Designer Lady Kell of Kincavel offers many cross-stitch designs, often in series! Her work ranges from elegant to slightly subversive, and is always interesting. Please note that this link is to the CS Category on her blog, and so some posts are for her retail designs. There is also a Think Pink! series for breast-cancer charity stitching.

Acclaimed fantasy cross-stitch designer Teresa Wentzler offers a collection of mostly small designs, many serving as an introduction to the specialty stitches used in her more challenging samplers (for example, the Peacock Tapestry Ornament).

My favourites are Stretch The Magic Dragon and the choose-your-own-colours dragon Futurecast, both of which I intend to stitch one day :)

Designer Lady Kell of Kincavel, who designs cross-stitch and blackwork, also has a small but lovely collection of SS projects, including the beautiful Rhodes Butterfly Biscornu! Also of interest are her cute Humbug patterns and finishing tutorial!

This page by retailer Nordic Needle appears not be active but offers a large selection of beautiful Hardanger patterns and small pieces of unusual stitchery, including: Chicken Scratch, Romanian Point Lace, Schwalm Work and Wessex Embroidery.

Acclaimed fantasy cross-stitch designer Teresa Wentzler offers a collection of mostly small designs, many serving as an introduction to the specialty stitches used in her more challenging samplers (for example, the Peacock Tapestry Ornament).

This needlework design company located in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (see the About page for more info) creates amazingly elegant heirloom stitcheries packed with specialty stitches! All of these small designs, many of which are variations on larger works, would make wonderful practice pieces for advanced techniques :)

This innovative and constantly updated blog has over 100 geometric patterns!

This section of Mary Corbet's wonderful site archives all of her free patterns, adaptable to a variety of embroidery techniques! Also includes her Hungarian Embroidery series, a variety of Monograms, and Church/Ecclesiastical designs.

Artist Bronwyn Hayes draws fabulously kooky characters, and has made some embroidery designs with her images. Especially notable: the completed Block-of-the-Month (BOM) "The Wish" Christmas Quilt and the lovely Butterfly Stitchery.

This link is to all posts archived with the tag Projects on the wonderful Wild Olive blog. The always creative home of artist Mollie Johanson offers an amazing array of embroidery-related projects including cute patterns with winning personality! There is also a free Wild Olive Cupcake Pattern on the DMC US Free Projects site.

This is a wonderful site for vintage transfers, organized by category!

Although this site is no longer being updated, it has a great archive of vintage transfers by theme. This was the source for my Bluebirds of Happiness!

This seller of reprinted iron-on vintage transfers has a small selection of freebies that includes a complete Flower of the Month quilt set and a cute sewing/knitting set!

Home to a large collection of vintage transfer sets that cover some of the most popular motifs, including several Sunbonnet Girls! Also some stamped cross-stitch.

Very cute vintage transfers! Run by Floresita; also archived on her Flickr.

NOTE: Because fine crochet with thread-weight cotton is considered a vintage craft, most modern designs are vintage-inspired. This is wonderful because these patterns often include better working methods and instructions! Also, they're pretty ;)

A small collection most notable for the lovely vintage-inspired Doilies.

Nearly 200 original crochet patterns, spread throughout several categories, most of them thread and heavily inspired by vintage designs. Of particular interest: the Doilies, Filet and Thread sections. Each thumbnail takes you to a larger picture - click the small link at the bottom right of the page to view the pattern!

A lovely collection of designs by Priscilla Hewitt that included many vintage-inspired thread projects! All of the patterns are .PDFs, with professional presentation.

This amazing site hosts many unique and creative snowflakes; the designer (Deborah Atkinson aka Snowcatcher) also sells special patterns for charity on her blog.

NOTE: There are three major ways that old patterns are shared online: as scanned copies of the original, as parts of the scanned original (often with notations), or as typed patterns with scanned copies of the original images/illustrations.

Because the old patterns were often error-heavy to begin with, more information may be lost with retyped patterns. The method of sharing is noted in the links below. Information on vintage pattern terms and materials is in the Resources section :)

A small but nice collection of retyped patterns spanning four decades.

This amazing site hosts over 100 typed patterns, including some beautiful and unusual doilies. There is also a page for new additions and a free weekly newsletter!

An interesting collection of scans of historical technique guides and projects.