Free Antique French Flowers Needlework Patterns

Free Antique French Flowers Needlework Patterns

Attention all floral needlework fans!  This great find of free patterns for 16th century royal French embroiders is a treasure trove digitized by the Missouri Botanical Garden. 

Pierre Vallat was the official royal gardener and embroiderer for the French court.  Like all celebrities he published a book in 1623 with an impossibly long name:  Les Jardin du Roy Tres Chrestien, Loys XIII, Roy de France et de Navarre.


Tapestry patterns were woven not stitched to create large scale pictures to hang on walls of castles and manor houses.

In the pages of Vallat’s book lie beautiful line drawings created specifically for needleworkers, helping them to depict flowers accurately.  With little travel for these ordinary workers, they had to create designs of flowers they may never have seen.  So Vallat’s work was printed to help get it right.  


Floral images are drawn with the needleworker in mind. 

These 271 digitized images feature plants and flowers growing in the garden of the French king at that time.  They are black and white line drawings delineated to make them perfectly suited to the gangs of cottage embroiders who were employed by the wealthy to decorate clothing and other textiles.  With the digitized versions you can save the images, then crop or re-size to have an exact pattern of the image you want to stitch. You can even use them as an iron on transfer!

TIP  Because digital images let you print out as many copies as you wish, you can color them in to test various color combinations before you ever pick up a needle.


Two versions of elaborately depicted Foxgloves.

Go directly to the book at

You can find this and many other rare books from the  Master List of Botanical Archives in the Digital Crafts Central.  Our listing translates the foreign titles and helps you understand what’s inside each one.  We at MoPlants are striving to create one of the most extensive and user friendly guides to free botanical illustrations on the Internet.

More ideas for crafts using online botanical images are found in our FREE e-book Online Botanical Illustrations:  A Treasure Trove of Free Images for Digital Crafts at


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