Richelieu Butterfly by Joanna Jakuszewska

10th May 2024

While the catalogue of projects that we’ve published spanning the 30+ years of Inspirations magazine may be considered somewhat comprehensive when it comes to the breadth of techniques we’ve covered, occasionally we do find something new(ish) to introduce you to.

Richelieu embroidery is an exquisite form of whitework originating from France in the 17th century.

Resembling lace, the motifs are edged with stitching and surrounded by a cut away background, held together with sections of stitched bars.

The one and only time we’ve published a project featuring Richelieu was back in Inspirations issue #58, so 64 issues and some 15 years later, thanks to Polish designer Joanna Jakuszewska, we’re visiting this technique anew.

Richelieu Butterfly is exactly as the name suggests, a graceful butterfly nestled amongst a lattice of flowers created in Richelieu embroidery.

This fascinating technique is achieved by first transferring the pattern onto the fabric and completing the embroidered outlines per the design. Then, using sharp embroidery scissors (and a steady hand!), carefully cutting the fabric away from the outer edge and between the outlines.

Joanna’s butterfly design is an excellent demonstration of the striking impact Richelieu embroidery has.

By cutting away the excess, in between fabric, the focal point is her eye-catching butterfly and gorgeous surrounding petals and leaves. 

The resulting effect is very reminiscent of a stained-glass window and Joanna’s use of snow-white cotton against pristine white linen results in a crisp and elegant final design.

Richelieu Butterfly is a wonderful piece to begin your foray into Richelieu embroidery as it’s completed using only medium weight linen, two needle sizes, stranded cotton and eight stitch variations. With the final piece measuring 20cm (8”) in diameter, this bite-sized project is the ideal introduction.

Make Your Own Richelieu Butterfly

We have all the materials you need to re-create this project yourself, from easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions to a Ready-to-Stitch kit with everything sourced for you.

Printed Magazines

Inspirations Issue 122

Digital Patterns

Richelieu Butterfly – i122 Digital


Richelieu Butterfly – i122 Kit

*Instructions – As this kit does not include instructions, for step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to Inspirations magazine issue 122 or the Richelieu Butterfly digital pattern, both purchased separately.

Join our FREE weekly newsletter All Stitched Up!

Back to top