Hello Sailor – Vintage Anchor Tattoo Inspired Free Embroidery Pattern

May 2, 2012Allison Murray

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of weekends with my Mimmie & Poppa (my awesome grandparents). Sometimes Mimmie had to work running a dry cleaner and I went with her. In fact here are me, my sister and a friend in the lobby of said cleaners on Halloween. I am the clown on the left. On a side note, I am honestly and truly terrified of clowns – WTF?

At any rate, I was often bothering the seamstress, who would draw butterflies, hearts and flowers on scrap fabric for me to embroider. She was probably just trying to keep me out of her hair, but I loved it. As I got older, Momma taught me how to hoop my own pieces, how to make my own transfers and how to use some real stitches.


So, here is a free embroidery pattern that I made because I dig the look of old tattoos and my because super crafty Momma taught me how to make them. Enjoy!

In order to turn this PDF into an iron on transfer, you’ll need to do the following:

STEP 1: Trace the image using a transfer pen or pencil. When you trace, remember that you need your transfer to be the mirror image of how you want it to be when you iron it on. This is especially important because there is text on this pattern.

There are two pages in the PDF – one that is the mirror image and one that is the “right” image. My preference is to take the “right” image, flip it over, and trace my transfer onto the back. This way, when I go to iron on, I have the image on the front as a guide when I am placing on the fabric!

STEP 2: Get your iron nice and hot. Place your pattern, tracing side down. You can pin down your pattern to make it more secure, if you want. Put the hot iron on top and wait 10 seconds or so. Pick up and move the iron to another spot. Gently lift up the page from where you have already ironed and see if it needs more time or if it’s good to go.

NEVER use the iron like you would to press a shirt, you’ll blur your image! Just set the iron straight down and pick it straight up again.

If you need some more help, or if you are just getting into embroidery, I’d recommend going through the tutorials of Jenny Hart at Sublime Stitching. She’s a stitching goddess!

I hope that you’re having a fantastic Wednesday!

Comments (4)

  • Betsy

    June 13, 2012 at 12:54 AM

    Thank you so much for this design – it's beautiful and you are very generous to share it!

  • Allison Murray

    June 13, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    You are very welcome, Betsy. I'm so glad that it being enjoyed!

  • Cerise

    October 24, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    Beautiful pattern thank you!
    I got thrown off reading your blog for a moment. My husband's Mimmie worked a dry cleaners when he was little and he spent a lot of time there when he was growing up. Crazy similarity there for a moment. :o)

  • Allison Murray

    October 24, 2012 at 1:51 PM

    That is pretty uncanny, Cerise! Thanks for letting me know – too neat :)

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