Everything you need to know about hand embroidery

Sarah K. Benning
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Embroidery has always existed and it is not exaggerated. Its roots are ancient, each culture having a form in its history of textile art. Although the business began as a practical beginning to mend clothes, it grew into a creative endeavor that remains popular today. Hand embroidery has seen a major resurgence in recent years, especially among contemporary artists who incorporate thread into their work or use the embroidery hoop as a framework for fabric art.

Beginning of hand embroidery

Embroidery has humble roots, which is great news for beginners. it is an easily accessible profession to begin with. Supplies are inexpensive and techniques range from simple to advanced. You may even be familiar with some of the embroidery stitches – many of us learn to sew from a parent or grandparent, as embroidery skills are traditionally passed down from generation to generation.

Hand embroidery kits



Here is a list of supplies to get you started:

  • embroidery hoops. Hoops come in all sizes, from a few centimeters in diameter to over a foot.
  • Thread (aka dental floss). The DMC brand is the industry standard (it’s been around since 1746) and they have a very loyal following. It’s easy to see why – a skein costs less than a dollar and they have a ton of colors available.
  • Scissors. Embroidery scissors are small (palm sized) and just sharp enough to cut thread.
  • Needles. Needles are often presented in packages of different sizes. Depending on the type of fabric you are sewing on, some needles will work better than others.
  • Fabric. The possibilities are seemingly endless when it comes to sewing. If you’re looking for a starting point, try a pure cotton fabric. Make sure it doesn’t stretch (like you might find in cotton blends) and the weave isn’t too loose.

These supplies aren’t necessary to start embroidering, but will help you stay organized.

  • plastic bobbins. These are a lifesaver, especially if you have a lot of yarn. Before you start sewing with thread, write the color on one of these spools, then wrap it around the plastic piece. So when you’re out of yarn, you’ll know what type of skein to buy!
  • yarn organizer. Store your yarn, embellishments, and other supplies in one of these handy bins.

Learn embroidery stitches

Embroidery stitches have an amazing range of skills. Some are so basic you’re probably familiar with them, even if you’ve never sewn before. Others are more advanced and require instruction and lots of practice. Fortunately, with the resurgence of embroidery, there are plenty of places to learn embroidery stitches.

Embroidery books to read

Although there are many books dedicated to learning embroidery stitches, here are some bestsellers.

learn hand embroidery

Embroidered typography

Instructional videos and online courses

If you’re looking for video instructions explaining the basics of embroidery, online courses are a great place to start. Here are a few you can try today!

Start sewing with embroidery kits and embroidery designs

In addition to buying your own supplies and starting to embroider on your own, there are also embroidery kits and embroidery designs that make getting started easier. Embroidery kits are the simplest, often including everything you’ll need, from pattern to thread. Embroidery designs offer more freedom, but are still a good starting point. As you sew, you can change the colors to personalize the image as your own.

Embroidery Kits For Sale

Modern embroidery designs