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12 Top-Trending Embroidery Styles Lookbook

Applique, freestanding lace, in-the-hoop designs, and more!


to explore exciting machine embroidery styles & techniques.


Embroidery Library artists and digitizers love bringing traditional needlecraft arts to the embroidery machine realm. As crafters and artists, we want to take those classic styles, like applique, lace, and vintage stitches, and use them in our contemporary machine embroidery projects. This Lookbook is all about moving beyond the basic (and beloved) to explore more crafty embroidery types and techniques. Get the secrets for stitching freestanding lace on your machine, and see the simple elegance created with redwork, blackwork, and candlewicking designs. Enjoy exploring these twelve excellent styles. We hope that you find something new to you, and use it in your next embroidery project. Tell your friends about this Lookbook, too! For the very best in machine embroidery designs, and creative ways to use them, visit our website: Thank you!

Deb Mundinger President, Embroidery Library, Inc.

Topics Included: 3-6. Classic Applique

25-28. Battenburg Lace

7-10. Heirloom Applique

29-32. In-the-Hoop Embroidery

11-14. Crafty Cut Applique

33-34. Redwork

15-18. Vintage Stitches

35-36. Whitework

19-20. Sketch & Toile

37-38. Blackwork

21-24. Freestanding Lace

39-40. Candlewicking

Design Used: Country Apple (Applique)

Applique embroidery uses fabric pieces to fill in parts of a design. The classic style has a satin-stitch finish, like this apple design shown on a kitchen towel. Compare it to the stitch-filled version on the right. It also looks great on the towel, but it’s filled with dark red thread instead of that cute print.


Classic Applique

Design Used: Country Apple


Project Instructions Choosing the fabric for the applique design is a great way to exercise your creativity. It’s fun to look for prints and patterns that are a perfect fit for your decor and taste. In the example on the left, we used a plaid print to enhance the country motif.


Design Used: Bohemian Flower Frenzy Border Floral Folk Art (Applique)

Click here to see a free video tutorial that demonstrates the technique for classic applique.

Design Used: Peeking Bear (Applique)


Design Used: Happy Birthday Cupcake (Applique)

Classic Applique

Designs Used: Teapot in Bloom (Applique) Teacup in Bloom (Applique)

Applique designs are nice for a wide variety of items, including kitchen and terrycloth towels, table linens, and more! The applique fabric keeps the nap of the project fabric from peeking through.


Designs Used: Charming Country Animals (Heirloom Applique) Design Pack


Heirloom Applique


Project Instructions

Click here to see a free video tutorial that demonstrates the technique for heirloom applique.

Blooming Blossoms Neckline

Heirloom applique, like classic applique shown previously, uses fabric to cover areas in designs. The big difference? Heirloom applique designs have a blanket stitch (also called an E-stitch) finish. This style is reminiscent of hand embroidery work.

When working with this style, you may want to choose fabric that won’t fray. Felt or Ultrasuede are good choices. Using double-sided fusible web between the applique fabric piece and the base fabric is a great way to create a bond that will last for a long, long time.


Ohli the (He


Heirloom Applique

Design Used: e Owl with Tulips eirloom Applique)

Heirloom applique designs are nice for baby items, like bibs or onesies. They’re also eye-catching on tote bags, mug rugs, coasters, and more! See all of Embroidery Library’s heirloom applique designs here.

Design Used: Sew Sweet Owl (Heirloom Applique)


Crafty cut applique has raw fabric edges, bringing beautiful dimension to embroidery projects. Use fabric like felt or denim for this type of embroidery. Decorative scissors add interesting texture.

Designs Used: Craft (Crafty Cut Applique) Sew (Crafty Cut Applique) Create (Crafty Cut Applique)

These types of designs use a running stitch to tack the applique fabric down to the base fabric. The edges are left loose and free, resulting in a unique look.

Free! Project Crafty Cut Applique Instructions

Design Used: Cup For A Book Lover 11


Project Instructions

Crafty Cut Bird (Applique)

Spring Pig (Crafty Cut Applique)

Cozy Country Crafty Cut Butterfly (Applique)


Design Used: Crafty Cut Daisy (Applique)


Crafty Cut Applique

Notice how the raw and decorative edges of this crafty cut design give it unique layers of depth and texture. It’s a gorgeous way to combine fabric favorites with beautiful embroidery.

Watch the video to see how to embroider crafty cut applique designs.



Vintage Stitches

Browse through the designs at Embroidery Library, and you’ll find many that are marked with the word “vintage.” These types of designs use stitches that are reminiscent of hand embroidery work.

See all of the Embroidery Library vintage designs right here.

Designs Used: Days of the Week Birds and Veggies (Vintage) Design Pack


Vintage designs are light with open areas. They’re excellent for smooth and light fabrics, that have little to no nap. Try vintage designs on fabrics like tea towels, floursack towels, canvas, denim, and quilter’s cotton. Vintage designs have been used in several of the Embroidery Library videos, including: - Embroidering on Floursack Towels - Embroidering on Quilter’s Cotton

Free! Project Vintage Stitches Instructions

Design Used: Cup For A Book Lover 17

View the Design Pack 18

Design Used: Pug in Crown

Sketch designs are light, and a breeze to embroider on a wide variety of projects. The most popular sketch designs at Embroidery Library are animal compositions, like the dog design featured above.


Sketch & Toile Embroidery


Design Used: Rose Botanical (Toile)

Toile designs are inspired by the classic Toile du Jouy style, often seen on fabric and wallpaper. These types of designs use only a few colors of thread. They’re light and sheer, making them quick to stitch.


Design Used: Frosty Winter Shine (Lace)


Freestanding Lace


Project Instructions

Blooming Blossoms Neckline

Most embroidery designs are stitched onto fabric. But freestanding lace designs are specially digitized for water-soluble stabilizer. After embroidering, the water-soluble stabilizer is soaked away, and beautiful lace remains.

Watch the video to see how to embroider freestanding lace designs. 22

Design Used: Dream Catcher and Feathers (Lace)

Click here to find all of the freestanding lace projects.


Freestanding Lace


Design Used: Faithful Bookmarks (Lace) Design Pack

Freestanding lace designs come in a wide variety of themes and styles. Whip up a beautiful dreamcatcher for your home, or keep your place while reading with a lace bookmark. Design Used: Fairy in 3D (Lace)


Battenburg lace is also embroidered onto water-soluble stabilizer, but varies from traditional freestanding lace. The delicate lace was developed in the late 1800s and was named after Queen Victoria’s son-in-law. It uses cotton thread to replicate a crochet-like look.


Battenburg Lace


Project Instructions Contemporary machine embroidered Battenburg lace is a beautiful addition to any home decor project. It’s just right for dressing up dining room linens, or giving a hint of sophistication to pillows and tablecloths.


Click here to find all of the Battenburg lace projects.

Design Used: Forever Flower (Layered Battenburg Lace)

Many Battenburg pieces can be combined to make a project, such as in the examples shown here. Layer the lace to create a three-dimensional flower, or sew pieces together to make a lovely doily for your table. A crown and tiara are perfect for the prince or princess in your life!


Battenburg Lace

Design Used: Bohemian Flower Frenzy Border Celtic Knot (Battenburg Lace)

Design Used: Crown Fit for A Queen (Battenburg Lace)

Design Used: Crown Fit for A King (Battenburg Lace)


Designs Used: Bohemian Flower Frenzy Border Bird Stuffies (In-the Hoop)

Design Used: Daisy Clothespin Cozy (In-the-Hoop)


Design Used: Swirls Heart Corner Bookmark (In-the-Hoop)

In-the-Hoop Embroidery

Design Used: Winter Hand Warmer Heart (In-the-Hoop)

Click here to find all of the In-the-Hoop projects. In-the-hoop designs refer to anything that is constructed within the embroidery machine’s hoop. Bookmarks, hand warmers, clothespin cozies, stuffies, door hangers, bottle aprons, and more -- the list goes on and on!


Designs Used: Woodland Owl Topper (In-the-Hoop) Woodland Owl Mask (In-the-Hoop) Woodland Owl Napkin Holder (In-the-Hoop)


In-the-Hoop Embroidery

Designs Used: Bohemian Flower Frenzy Border Woodland Napkin Holders (In-the-Hoop)

Love to Sew

In-the-hoop woodland masks, toppers, and napkin holders are the perfect embroidered accessories for a wild and woodsy party. These fun designs are just an example of the amazing things you can create with in-the-hoop designs.

Click here to find all the in-the-hoop woodland party projects

Design Used: Woodland Fox Topper (In-the-Hoop)


Click here to find all of the redwork designs. Days of the Week Backyard Birds



Blooming Blossoms Neckline

Redwork grew in popularity in the 1800s with the arrival of “penny squares.� These muslin squares were pre-printed with hand embroidery patterns in red ink.

Traditional redwork is composed of simple running stitches, and is a popular, quick-stitching choice when making multiple items, such as towel sets and quilt blocks. Embroidery Library has a wide variety of simple redwork designs, as well as more complex choices, as shown in this comparison below. The design on the right has simple stitches; the design on the left is more complex with a blend of running stitches and satin stitches. Art Nouveau Gerber Daisy (Redwork)

Garden Sparrow (Redwork)

Designs Used: (Redwork) Design Pack


Design Used: Spring Whitework Butterfly 1

Click here to find all of the Embroidery Library whitework designs.



Design Used: Woodland Whitework Spray

Design Used: White Peacock (Whitework)

If you’re looking for a dramatic effect in your projects, turn to whitework embroidery designs! The one-color motifs are quick-stitching and striking when stitched on contrasting fabric colors.


Designs Used: Tudor Rose Square (Blackwork) Floral Elegance (Blackwork) Blooming Blackwork Flowers Design Pack

Blackwork embroidery is quickly recognized by its geometric patterns, graceful arcs, and elegant lines. In these three examples, we can see the evolution of the art style.



See all of the Embroidery Library blackwork designs right here. The first pillow is traditional blackwork, inspired by clothing from the 15th and 16th century. The second style became popular thanks to Zentangle ™ and modern coloring books. Pops of color add yet another unique twist, as they add a vibrant, eye-catching look.


Design Used: Rose Blossom (Candlewicking)



Love to Sew

Blooming Blossoms Neckline Design Used: Flutterby Flourish (Candlewicking)

Find out more about candlewicking in this free video.

Candlewicking began as a hand embroidery style that used white cotton thread on white muslin. Today’s embroidery machines can’t accommodate the thick thread that was used, nor can the elaborate knots and stitches be done by machine. But there are beautiful machine embroidery designs that echo this traditional style. Here, the elaborate knots that would be made by hand are instead represented with 30 weight embroidery thread and smooth satin stitches.


Design Used: Flamingo with Anthurium (Blackwork)

Embroidery Library has long been known for excellent machine embroidery designs and inspiring ideas. We’ve been drawing and digitizing designs, here in Minnesota, since 1998. Embroidery Library is 100% employee-owned, and each of us has an artistic nature and creative spirit. Every design we create is absolutely unique -- we don’t use clip art, and we don’t outsource. Learn the basics of machine embroidery styles with this Lookbook, then pass along to your sewing circle to share the wealth of tips and tricks! Visit us at:

Embroidery Library 12 Top-Trending Embroidery Styles Lookbook  

Go beyond the basics to explore exciting machine embroidery styles and techniques including applique, freestanding lace, in-the-hoop designs...

Embroidery Library 12 Top-Trending Embroidery Styles Lookbook  

Go beyond the basics to explore exciting machine embroidery styles and techniques including applique, freestanding lace, in-the-hoop designs...