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Five Free Embroidery Designs to Celebrate National Embroidery Month

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February is National Grapefruit Month as well as National Wild Bird Feeding Month. Both worthy celebrations, but we're most interested in it also being National Embroidery Month! To celebrate we have a set of five free machine embroidery designs from Sew4Home sewist team member (and digitizing designer extraordinaire), Michele Mishler. With the crazy winter weather we've had this year, these lovely custom tulip designs will bring the freshness of spring to your next machine embroidery project. We also show you the steps for creating the Michele's Tulip Garden Pillow shown above.  

Embroidery is the art of using needlework to embellish fabric to make it more colorful or decorative. It's been with us for centuries as a hand craft. Today, although hand embroidery is seeing a resurgence, machine embroidery is at the forefront of the art form thanks to its speed, precision, design variety and pure beauty.

Embroidery Downloads

Click HERE to download the Tulip Garden Embroidery Collection by MM Embroidery Designs. This free download is sponsored by Sew4Home and available in the six major embroidery formats. Also included on the download page are: a folder containing a .jpg image of each of the designs in color (each image represents a 6½" square and all the images are to scale with one another), a complete Color Chart for the five designs, and a template for the Tulip Garden Pillow design arrangement. 

Our thanks to Michele Mishler for creating this quality design collection especially for Sew4Home. Please note that the collection is copyright protected by MM Embroidery Designs and distributed through Sew4Home.com for our visitors with her permission. These designs are for personal use and gifts only. For more designs by Michele Mishler, visit MM Embroidery Designs at Oregon Patchworks Mall.

Tulip Garden Pillow 

The pillow shown is designed for a 16" x 16" pillow insert. We recommend a medium to heavy weight, 100% linen fabric for results similar to ours. We used ½ yard of linen for our sample. 

In addition to the fabric, pillow form and your standard project tools, you will need the following items:

  • 40wt rayon embroidery thread in the following colors:
    Three shades of green; Dark Green, Leaf Green and Light Green
    Medium Pink and Bright Pink
    Lavender 
    Purple
    Pale Yellow and Bright Yellow
  • Bobbin thread
  • Tear away stabilizer
  • Three ¾” buttons
  • Marking pen
  1. As listed above, click HERE to download the Tulip Garden Embroidery Collection in the format for your machine embroidery model. You should also download the Color Chart and the template for the tulip arrangement. Both of these are .pdf files.
  2. From the linen fabric, cut one 18" x 18" square for the pillow front, and two 11" x 17" rectangles for the pillow back.
    NOTE: The pillow front square is cut slightly oversize. It will be trimmed after the embroidery is complete. 
  3. Place the pillow front square right side up and flat on your work surface.
  4. Using a fabric pen or pencil, measure and mark a horizontal line 5½" up from the lower raw edge of the fabric square. Measure and mark a second, vertical line 5½" in from the left raw edge of the faric square. 
    NOTE: You are working on the right side of your fabric so be sure your fabric pen or pencil will easily wipe or wash away or will vanish with exposure to the air.
  5. Cut a piece of stabilizer 18” long, then cut the stabilizer in half lengthwise. Place the stabilizer behind each marked line and pin in place.
  6. Thread your sewing/embroidery machine with 40wt decorative thread in Light Green and bobbin thread in the bobbin. 
  7. From your machine's selection of decorative stitches, select a pattern with a mesh or honeycomb design. Stitch along the horizontal line at the lower edge of the fabric square. 
  8. Using the presser foot as your guide, sew a second line of decorative stitches ¼" parallel to and below the first line. 
  9. Finally, stitch a third line of decorative stitches ¼" parallel to and below the second line. 
  10. Make a set of matching decorative stitches along the vertical line on the left side of the pillow front, working from right to left with your stitching lines.
  11. Change the upper thread to Leaf Green, and select a stretch stitch or small zig zag. Add two lines of stitching between the rows of honeycomb stitching within both the horizontal and vertical sets. 
  12. Remove the excess stabilizer. Place the pillow front on a flat work area. Position the template over the decorative stitches so the lower edge of the row of tulips is centered on the band of decorative stitches. Mark the placement crosshairs for each design. Notice that the crosshairs are all perpendicular to the decorative stitches, except for one tulip design.
  13. Set up your machine for embroidery. Cut two layers of stabilizer to fit your hoop. Hoop the fabric and stabilizer so the first placement crosshair is centered in the hoop. Embroider the first design. Color combinations are suggested by the colors on the printed template, but feel free to adjust the colors to match your favorite palette.
  14. When the first embroidery is complete, remove the fabric from the hoop and remove the excess stabilizer. Hoop stabilizer and fabric for each placement crosshair, and embroider each design until the embroidered arrangement is complete. 
  15. Press the completed embroidery from the wrong side of the embroidery.
  16. Flip the pillow front to the right side and place it on your cutting board. Trim to a 17" x 17" square.
  17. To finish the pillow, you'll need to construct a standard envelope back with a button closure, using the remaining 11" x 17" fabric rectangles. 
  18. The Sew4Home tutorials listed below detail these finishing steps. For more options, browse our Project Index.
    Woven Border Print Pillow with Poms
    Soft & Sweet Banded Bow Pillow
    Xtra EZ Nine-Patch Pillow

Again, our thanks to Michele Mishler for helping us to help you celebrate National Embroidery Month with these free design downloads.

For more wonderful designs by Michele Mishler, visit MM Embroidery Designs at Oregon Patchworks Mall.

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Comments (25)

Janet Schwartz said:
Janet Schwartz's picture

Love the colors and the way they are layed out. I love tulips anyway!! Thank you! Hoping for spring so they can come up!

Berenice said:
Berenice's picture

Thank you for sharing this!  Love tulips and am starting this as soon as I get home tomorrow.

SewSoSlow said:
SewSoSlow's picture

I wasn't able to open the images - are they only for use with an embroidery machine? If so, how about images that us hand embroiders could use? I don't have a machine, and don't ever plan on purchasing one. I love the relaxation of handwork too much to give it up.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ SewSoSlow - yes, these designs are just for machine embroidery. The artwork is copyrighted so we cannot release it for any additional uses at this time. However, we have some projects coming up next month, which do feature hand embroidery. So everyone will be happy!

Linda Cordonnier said:
Linda Cordonnier's picture

Where do you purchase a linen that is suitable but not overpriced for this lovely project? Love this design and cannot wait to start it for Easter and Mother's Day.

Loved this pillow design for Easter and Mother's Day and cannot wait to start it for a specail occasion . Where do you find linen that is suitable and not overly priced for this design. Is there different qualities of linen out there?

Rosemary Rivas(nellieduclos@yahoo.com) said:
Rosemary Rivas(nellieduclos@yahoo.com)'s picture

These are lovely.  Now I wish I had a machine that would do those beautiful designs!

sewtoad said:
sewtoad's picture

Thank-you!  These will make lovely place mats for our RV!

Ewa said:
Ewa's picture

Pięknie dziekuje za te cudowne tulipany, poszewka jest przepiękna. ;)))

Ali0423 said:
Ali0423's picture

Thank you for the free download of these beautiful designs. Can't wait to try it out on my machine and make somehting for Spring and Mother's Day 

Sewing Gigi said:
Sewing Gigi's picture

Thank you so much, this has been a very long, cold, snowy winter and these tulips will remind me of Spring, till the real thing comes along.

Genny said:
Genny's picture

Thank you so much for these beautiful Tulip designs.  I'm going to stitch a few of them this afternoon!

Nancy @ EmbroideryIt.com said:
Nancy @ EmbroideryIt.com's picture

This is just beautiful!  Thank you so much.  I really like the added touch with the rows of decorative stitching.  If it wasn't snowing right now, I'd be in my car to go get some linen and create this.

Nancy in Grand Rapids

mpistey said:
mpistey's picture

I love these designs - simple and elegant.  The leaves are gorgeous!  Thank you!

sandie said:
sandie's picture

The tulip design is very pretty.  I love the colors, and details. The placement chart will be a great help.    Thank you

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