Ana L. Avendano works as a lawyer in the Washington, DC area, and in her spare time enjoys stress-busting hobbies like quilting and embroidery. In the following article, Ana explains how someone can get into the business.
It’s a skill that dates back over 30,000 years, but there’s a reason the embroidery is still going strong.
Embroidery takes minutes to pick up and start, but a lifetime to refine and perfect. It’s relaxing, creative, inexpensive, and has a crowd of fans around the world who love to share tips and patterns with each other. It doesn’t take much to get started, but its potential is limitless!
There’s no need to spend a fortune
Ana L. Avendano explains that embroidery is big business, and for those who like to collect, it’s very easy to spend hundreds of dollars on this hobby. But for those just starting out, the basics are easy to find and cost about as much as a cup of coffee.
Ana L. Avendano explains what you need to get started:
- Fabric to embroider on – it doesn’t have to be anything special; even an old cotton t-shirt will do, but ideally the fabric should be cotton or linen, says Ana L. Avendano. Aida fabric is not for embroidery, but rather for cross stitch, so be careful when looking for fabric.
- An embroidery hoop – The hoops keep the fabric stable and the stitches at an even tension. Hoops are easy to find, cost next to nothing, and ask friends they may have or know someone with a hoop lying around. The advantage of hula hoops is that they can also be used to frame completed projects.
- Silk – Similar to dental floss (and not to be confused with it), embroidery floss is a thin thread that looks like dental floss. Ana L. Avendano says the colors span the entire spectrum of the rainbow. Dental floss is easy to find, but serious embroiderers will advise against being frugal. Cheap threads break easily. (Maybe something to consider with a bit more experience).
- Needles – Specifically, sizes 7 and 9 work best. But it depends on the fabric and yarn used. It is better to buy a whole set of different sizes for several dollars and experiment with the best ones for this purpose.
Ana Avendano, a lawyer, says there are other materials that will make the hobby easier, such as embroidery scissors, fabric scissors or pinking shears to seal the edges of the fabric and prevent fraying, but these are not necessary to begin with. Nail scissors can cut the thread until it’s time to buy embroidery scissors.
And now: sewing!
Ana Avendano, a lawyer, says that once the fabric is in the hoop and the needle has been threaded, it’s time to start sewing. Following pre-made patterns can be very useful for beginners, but it’s also easy to lightly trace a pattern on the fabric and sew it on top.
There are a variety of stitches to use, and it depends on the texture, thickness, and desired effect of the finished project. This point-to-point guide Reunited.how is a great resource for new embroiderers to tackle any stitch they could think of, from simple backstitch to bullion knots and beyond, says attorney Ana Avendano.
While hand embroidery is a relaxing and slow process, machine embroidery is much faster and can complete the job in a fraction of the time. For some embroidery enthusiasts in the industry, this is considered cheating, says Ana L. Avendano. For others, it’s the only way to get the designs they want on their textile projects.
There are real advantages to using a machine: speed, time, users are less prone to making mistakes and there will be more consistent styling across multiple different pieces using the same design. For those looking to carve out a niche in the industry, investing in an embroidery machine is a good investment choice.
However, Ana L. Avendano explains that the machines can be expensive to buy, complicated to set up, and require professional intervention when they break or need replacement parts. For those with little or no embroidery experience, hand embroidery is usually the preference.
Don’t be intimidated by social media embroiderers
There are those who have made embroidery not just their favorite hobby, but their entire industry. These people have spent years crafting and, with some knowledge of social media, have also managed to generate followings and even revenue from their projects.
Ana L. Avendano explains that you should not be intimidated by these professionals: embroidery is not a race, nor a competition of any kind. It is an enjoyable hobby that can be deeply stimulating and rewarding.
Viewing embroidery as a hobby that results in beautiful creations that can be gifted to friends and family or hung on the walls of the home should mean that it brings a real sense of fulfillment. Millions of embroideries over the past 30,000 years testify to this timeless hobby.