Freehand Blackwork Embroidery Patterns

This page contains freehand blackwork embroidery patterns that I have transcribed from extant pieces, or created in the style of extant pieces and portraits.  They are all appropriate for 16th and early 17th century style freehand blackwork embroidery, especially English style.  When a pattern is transcribed from a period example, a photo of that example should appear next to it, along with a link to more images of the piece when possible.

I am providing all of these designs for personal use, free of charge.  They are also available for non-profit educational use, provided I, Sidney Eileen, am given credit for the transcriptions.  If you do make something using or inspired one of my designs or transcriptions, I would love to see your creation.  Please share it here, on my facebook page, or tag me in a tweet (@Sidney_Eileen), instagram (@sidney_eileen), or facebook post (@bySidneyEileen).  It’s the amazing things all of you do that inspire me to provide resources like this one.

If you would like to know more about the techniques of how to embroider these designs, please visit my article, Basics of Elizabethan Freehand Blackwork Embroidery.

 

Transcribed Historic Designs

Freehand Blackwork Embroidery Pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from a Portrait of Henry VIII

Freehand Blackwork Embroidery Pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from a Portrait of Henry VIII

Portrait of Henry VIII of England c. 1537, Hans Holbein, the Younger (detail) - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hans_Holbein,_the_Younger,_Around_1497-1543_-_Portrait_of_Henry_VIII_of_England_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

 

Freehand Blackwork Embroidery Pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from a Portrait of Mary Hill. In the portrait, the knotwork grids are completely consistent, but the manner in which they join is not, and no single visible join is clear and consistent within itself, so I created a join that was similar to a couple of them and created a consistent repeat pattern.

Freehand Blackwork Embroidery Pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from a Portrait of Mary Hill. In the portrait, the knotwork grids are completely consistent, but the manner in which they join is not, and no single visible join is clear and consistent within itself, so I created a join that was similar to a couple of them and created a consistent repeat pattern.

Mary Hill Mrs Mackwilliam 1567 - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mary_Hill_Mrs_Mackwilliam_1567.jpg

 

Freehand Blackwork Embroidery Pattern from Extant Panel, transcribed by Sidney Eileen

Freehand Blackwork Embroidery Pattern from Extant Panel, transcribed by Sidney Eileen. I wasn’t sure what the little black squigglies were supposed to be, so I left them off of the transcription.

1580–1620 Panel of Blackwork, silk blackwork embroidery on linen fabric, in the collections of the Met Museum.

1580–1620 Panel of Blackwork, silk blackwork embroidery on linen fabric

 

Freehand Blackwork Embroidery Pattern from Extant Unfinished Coif, transcribed by Sidney Eileen

Freehand Blackwork Embroidery Pattern from Extant Unfinished Coif, transcribed by Sidney Eileen

Unfinished Blackwork Coif from the beginning of the 17th century.

Unfinished Blackwork Coif from the beginning of the 17th century.

 

Freehand Blackwork Embroidery Pattern from Extant Coif, transcribed by Sidney Eileen

Freehand Blackwork Embroidery Pattern from Extant Coif, transcribed by Sidney Eileen

1610-1620 Blackwork coif with spangles, from the Glasgow Museums Collections. Silk blackwork embroidery on linen fabric.

1610-1620 Blackwork coif with spangles.

 

Freehand Blackwork Embroidery Pattern from Extant Jacket, transcribed by Sidney Eileen

Freehand Blackwork Embroidery Pattern from Extant Jacket, transcribed by Sidney Eileen. If you look at the detail from the extant jacket, no two barberries are exactly the same. There are differences in the leaves and the little spirals that prevent uneven gaps and white space. If you use this pattern in an all-over manner like the original jacket, keep that in mind as a technique for filling space, rather than adhering perfectly to this pattern on every single repetition.

1610-1620 Jacket Blackwork Embroidery Detail, from the Museum of London Collections

1610-1620 Jacket Blackwork Embroidery Detail

 

Freehand blackwork embroidery pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from an extant Elizabethan smock.

Freehand blackwork embroidery pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from an extant Elizabethan smock.

Scarletwork Embroidery on an Elizabethan Smock (detail) - From the Victoria and Albert Museum, Made in England, Great Britain (made), 1560 - 1580, Linen fabric, linen thread, embroidered with red silk thread

From the Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum: Made in England, Great Britain (made),
1560 – 1580, Linen fabric, linen thread, embroidered with red silk thread; hand-woven, hand-embroidered, hand-sewn.

Freehand blackwork embroidery pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from an extant Elizabethan smock. The design is repeated enough times to include variations of the figures found on both the front of the smock and the sleeve.

Freehand blackwork embroidery pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from an extant Elizabethan smock. The design is repeated enough times to include variations of the figures found on both the front of the smock and the sleeve.

Scarletwork Embroidered Smock (detail - sleeve and front) - From the collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Made in England, Great Britain, 1615 - 1630, Linen fabric, linen thread, silk thread embroidery

Scarletwork Embroidered Smock (detail – sleeve and front), from the collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Freehand blackwork embroidery pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from an extant coif: http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/101643

Freehand blackwork embroidery pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from an extant coif

1600 blackwork and goldwork embroidered coif - http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/101643

1600 blackwork and goldwork embroidered coif

 

Freehand blackwork embroidery pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from an extant coif: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O364617/womens-coif-unknown/

Freehand blackwork embroidery pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from an extant coif

Woman's Coif 1590-1610 - blackwork embroidery detail - V&A Museum http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O364617/womens-coif-unknown/

Woman’s Coif 1590-1610 – detail

 

Freehand blackwork embroidery pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from an extant coif

Freehand blackwork embroidery pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from an extant coif

1610-1620 embroidered Elizabethan coif

1610-1620 embroidered coif

 

Freehand blackwork embroidery pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from an extant jacket

Freehand blackwork embroidery pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from an extant jacket

1600 Blackwork Embroidered Jacket

1600 Woman’s Blackwork Embroidered Jacket

Freehand blackwork embroidery pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from an extant jacket

Freehand blackwork embroidery pattern, transcribed by Sidney Eileen, from an extant jacket

 

My Original Designs

This is a floral strawberry roundel band embroidery pattern, inspired by Elizabethan English blackwork designs. It is freely available for anyone to use, but please give credit to Sidney Eileen if you share or post it online.

This is a floral strawberry roundel band embroidery pattern I created, inspired by Elizabethan English blackwork designs. It is freely available for anyone to use, but please give credit to Sidney Eileen if you share or post it online.