A Free Embroidery Pattern

How Do You Learn A Heap Of New Stitches While Creating Something Epic? This is the question I asked myself as I sat down to design an embroidery stitch sampler pattern. One that not only got you practicing new stitches but would look amazing too. Something you could be proud of, something you’d want to hang on your wall. (Which is why, in the last part, we’re going to cover how to frame embroidery properly too.)

You can download the Bug Case Free Embroidery Pattern with video links here –


I also wanted to make it as easy as possible to complete. So there are full tutorial videos for each bug linked in the pattern. They teach you at least one new stitch for each creepy cutie. From Bullion Knot and Chain Stitch, to less common ones like Herringbone Ladder Stitch. (Which makes excellent wings!)

What Is A Sampler Pattern?

Believe it or not this is a sampler embroidery pattern. Sampler patterns are designed to teach you new embroidery stitches. They get you to practice them by stitching ‘samples’. These can be as simple as a straight line of each stitch and are often arranged into pleasing shapes. They’re the perfect introduction to embroidery for beginners.
I wanted to create a modern embroidery sampler pattern that was more than just some tester stitches lined up in a square or a heart.

Embroidery Stitches Covered

We’ll be learning the following beginners embroidery stitches: 
  • LADYBIRDS: French Knot
  • CATERPILLAR: Bullion Knot
  • SPIDER: Chain Stitch, Woven Wheel
  • CENTIPEDE: Blanket Stitch, Fly Stitch
  • DAMSELFLY: Herringbone Ladder Stitch, Feather Stitch, Stem Stitch, Couching Stitch, Seed Stitch
  • MOTH: Turkey Work Stitch
  • STAG BEETLE: Long and Short Satin Stitch
sampler pattern stitches WIP
woven wheel stitch spider
Damsel Fly herring bone ladder stitch wings
turkey work stitch moth

The Bug Case Stitch A Long

The Bug case stitch-a-long is inspired by Victorian butterfly and insect collectors cases. Think taxidermy and pinned insects. Here’s a modern day ethically sourced version by MiniBeastUK – 
This was such an insanely fun project for me. It started as a series of weekly emails and my readers were my guineapigs helping me perfect the pattern. Now it’s perfect I’m delighted to write it up as a series of weekly articles!
Thank you to everyone who has already sent me photos, you’re stitching is magic and it’s amazing to see your creepy cuties. I’m humbled by the love you’ve shown my quirky little bugs! And as free embroidery patterns go, I hope this little beginner embroidery sampler has exceeded your expectations! 🥰 
So we’ll cover a bug each week, learning some new stitches. Then you get to practice those stitches by creating your own bug. Gradually building your beautiful insect collectors case! It’s everything you need to create something awesome while levelling up your skills! So lets get started with bug one!

What You’ll Need

This embroidery design is 6×6 inches and my suggested colors are DMC embroidery thread colors – 310, 817, Ecru, 921, 976, 3781, 612, 831, 906, 987, 601, 164, 3726, 3326.
Plus you’ll also need –
  • Needles – A few fine needles suitable for embroidery. Sizes 7 – 10 are ideal. Plus a large needle for the Caterpillar sizes 1 – 4 will work.
  • Embroidery hoop or frame Appropriately sized hoop for the design which is 6 x 6 inches square.
  • Fabric – A suitable embroidery fabric like cotton or linen with no stretch.
  • Fine pen or pencil or transfer paper – For transferring the design to fabric.
  • Embroidery scissors – Or other sharp scissors for snipping thread.
  • Glue stick or PVA – For attaching name tags (optional)

Week 1 Embroidered LadyBirds

Featured Stitch: French Knot

The colors for these two ladybirds are – DMC 817, 921, Ecru and 310.
Yes technically we’re starting with two bugs, but the technique is the same, it’s just the colors that vary. One will be the traditional red with black spots and the other is a cream-spotted orange ladybird. French knot is a great beginners embroidery stitch to start with!

Week 1 Embroidered LadyBirds

Featured Stitch: French Knot

The colors for these two ladybirds are – DMC 817, 921, Ecru and 310.
Yes technically we’re starting with two bugs, but the technique is the same, it’s just the colors that vary. One will be the traditional red with black spots and the other is a cream-spotted orange ladybird. French knot is a great beginners embroidery stitch to start with!

The Common Ladybird and Cream-Spotted Orange Ladybird 

These teeny little bugs can be found in your garden gobbling up the aphids and generally looking snazzy in their spotted shells. They’re loved by gardeners and children alike.
The common ladybird is the most common in Europe, its proper name is Coccinella Septempunctata, also known as the seven-spot ladybird. It sports the iconic red and black coloring we all know and love. This little guy is so iconic it’s also an emoticon! 🐞
The orange ladybird is pale orange with up to 16 cream spots on its wing cases. It’s proper name is Halyzia Sedecimguttata. There’s also a cream-spotted ladybird that is slightly darker than the orange ladybird and officially known as Calvia Quatuordecimguttata although you’d be forgiven for assuming they’re the same!  

How-To Embroidery Stitch Guide

Here are the sampler stitches for this bug. The stitch diagrams are below.

How To Do French Knot Stitch (wing cases)

Twist the thread twice round the needle and push the needle back through the fabric next to the base of the thread. Pull to form a little round knot.

How To Do Backstitch (legs)

Come up one stitch-space ahead of where you want to start and make one straight stitch backward. Take your needle under that stitch and bring it up one stitch space ahead of where you started. Make one stitch back to meet your first stitch and repeat.

How To Do Satin Stitch (head)

Neat, straight stitches stacked next to each other. The main beginners embroidery stitch for filling areas with blocks of color.

Stitching Instructions 

Common Ladybird & Cream-spotted Orange Ladybird


Use backstitch or straight stitch to stitch the little legs with a single strand of DMC thread in 310.


Next fill in the head of your Ladybird using Satin stitch.

satin stitch ladybird

 Wing Spots

Now take two strands of 310. Make a single long stitch between the two wings to separate them.

Now stitch the black spots using French knot. 

For the bigger spots wind the thread twice round your needle. 

For the smaller spots wind it just the once round your needle.


Wing Casings

Next take a single strand of red 817 and fill your ladybirds wings with French knots!

satin stitch ladybird
how to do french knot
satin stitch ladybird

Bug Eyes

Lastly take two strands of Ecru thread and add two more French knots for the eyes. 

Your ladybird is complete!



 Cream-spotted Orange Ladybird

Stitch your cream-spotted orange ladybird in the same way but instead using orange colored 921 for the head and wing cases and Ecru instead of black for the spots.


Your ladybirds are all done!  

satin stitch ladybird

Feel free to give your ladybirds names. These two were named Lily & James by my partners kids.

Next week we’ll tackle Boris the Tetrio Sphinx Hawk Moth Caterpillar! 😁 He’s made of Bullion Knots!




orange spot French knot ladybird

Don’t Forget Your Free Bug Pattern!

Don’t forget you can grab a free copy of this embroidery sampler pattern with stitch-a-long instructions and videos! 

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