Personal care comes in all shapes and sizes. For me, what has kept a part of me grounded during this quarantine and pandemic is the things I can create with my own hands. Yes, I paint, draw and do origami. But my real passion and what keeps these hands busy is embroidery. Correction, fandom embroidery. Since The Mandalorianis Grogu to wonder womanthe logo of, Schitt’s Creek “Yuck David” and Avatar: The Last Airbenderthe state of the avatar. I’ve done them all and so have you.
I know it’s a little intimidating, and it sounds like a lot. But anyone can do fandom embroidery. All you need is inspiration, supplies, and someone to hold your hand and give you all the guidance to get started. This is where I come in. Below I’ve included the supplies you’d need to start your own embroidery projects, tips explaining the methods I use the most, and videos to walk you through and show you the ropes.
Step One – Buy What You Need
To start your own embroidery project, you will need the following items:
- embroidery hoop – These can be purchased in all sorts of sizes and in many materials through a craft store or Amazon. Personally, I use bamboo hoops because of their versatility. Here is a varied pack with different sizes you can try.
- embroidery scissors – It is up to the dealer to choose the type of embroidery scissors you want. Amazon has a huge number of choices, but here’s my favorites.
- Fabric – Your local Michael’s or Joann’s Fabrics store will carry a plethora of fabrics. Personally, I choose the Fat Quarters fabric swatches because they are on sale often and you can experiment with lots of different colors and patterns. Don’t have a local store? Etsy is a great place to start your fabric hunt.
- embroidery thread – Same as fabric. Visit your local Michael’s or Joann’s Fabrics. Don’t have a local store? Etsy is a great place to find all of the embroidery floss.
- embroidery needles – Same as fabric and embroidery thread. Visit your local Michael’s or Joann’s Fabrics. Don’t have a local store? Amazon has a few here.
Additional items you may need:
- Needle Pin Cushion – This will save you from many instances where the needle rolls, falls or gets lost while you panic about where it is hiding.
- White watercolor pen – This pen will work well on dark fabrics when you are trying to mark things or want to draw a pattern on said fabric. Use water to erase.
- Heat-soluble black pen – This pen is a godsend when working with fabrics. It lets you mark, draw, and do whatever your heart desires. To erase it, you just need to apply heat. I use a hair dryer and it’s perfect.
- water soluble printer paper and printer – They are perfect for printing patterns.
- Felt – This will be used to cover the back of the embroidery if you choose to do so. For best results, purchase felt that matches the color of your embroidery fabric.
Step Two – Choose a Design
Become crazy. Seriously. There are many free templates on the DMC website and Etsy offers many printable templates. These won’t float on your boat and you don’t have a printer or water soluble paper to print your designs on? Use the white water-soluble pen on dark fabrics and the black heat-soluble pen on lighter fabrics to draw your own designs.
Are you scratching your head on how to do it? Watch the video below:
Step Three – Learn How to Set Up an Embroidery Hoop
Once you have your set of designs, it’s time to jump on the hoop to do the actual embroidery. Be sure to use the small hoop to gauge where your design is going to be. Slip it under the piece of fabric, center the design and place the larger hoop on top. Cut the fabric into a square shape, making sure there is at least two fingers width around the entire hoop.
Still confused on how to do it? Watch the video below:
Step Four – Learn How to Separate Your Floss
After setting up your hoop, it’s time to choose your colors and separate your embroidery floss. Embroidery floss has six strands that are twisted together. You want to separate the embroidery floss to work with three strands. Why is this important? It allows for clean lines and easier travel time in and out of fabric as you create your design.
Need more help on how to do this? Watch the video below:
Step Five – Learn Some Stitches
The key to learning stitches is to go slowly. Don’t jump into the deep end. Learn one basic stitch at a time. As soon as you master one, move on to the other. It doesn’t matter if you have to watch the video again, which will probably be on Youtube because all the best examples are there. Watch it again, master it, and when you get stuck, see if there is another method to realize the point or someone explains it the way you can understand it. There is only one way.
Below I’ve included a few essential videos that I use to this day when I need a refresher on running stitch, French knots, and more! And remember, be kind to yourself and conquer one at a time. Otherwise, how are you going to accurately capture Baby Yoda’s face? Or Aang’s Avatar state? Plus, I’ve included some easy beginner flowers and left over embroidery stitches once you’ve mastered beginner stitches.
Step Six – Decide on the style you want for the back of the finished hoop
Now that you’ve finished your design, you need to decide how you’re going to finish it. You still have all that extra fabric around the edges and if you flip the hoop over you can see all the behind the scenes of your hard work. After cutting off the excess fabric, making sure to leave at least an inch or two of fabric to work with, I like to finish my work with a felt backing that covers the back of your hoop.
- You can practice your whip stitch and blanket stitch here.
- But there are other ways to save your embroidery and here are some examples for you if below method is not what you want.
- To cut a perfect circle of felt, lay a finished hoop on top of the felt. Use a marker/pen of your choice to make a line on the felt and around the hoop. Cut inside these lines to line them up with the back of the finished hoop.
- Take this opportunity to include a design or signature on the marker of your choice to mark your work.
Step Seven – Enjoy Your Hard Work
You’ve put in the time and done all the hard work. Now is the time to enjoy, share and marvel at your work and plan what’s next. Because there is always another project on the horizon!
Still have questions ? hit me on Twitter or write to me at: [email protected].
(image: Lyra Hale embroidery)
Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!
—The Mary Sue has a strict commenting policy that prohibits, but is not limited to, personal insults towards nobody, hate speech and trolling. The Mary Sue may earn an affiliate commission on certain products and services purchased through links.—
Do you have a tip we should know? [email protected]