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Embroidery is a timeless and creative craft that allows anyone to transform plain fabric into a work of art with a needle and thread. Relax and unplug from a stressful day, all while learning a new hobby and creating art to hang on your walls or personalize your clothes with. This complete beginner’s guide will show you the essential steps to getting started with embroidery.
Materials Needed for Embroidery
Before you start your embroidery project, you’ll need to gather the following materials. Or if you’re looking for a kit that has everything you need included, try out our Zollie Beginner Embroidery Kit featuring embroidery designs from Arounna Khounnoraj of Bookhou.
Typically circular, but occasionally oval, an embroidery hoop holds the fabric taut, making it easier for you to work on your embroidery. These come in several sizes depending on the size of your project. If you are working on a large project, you can move your project around in the hoop to make something larger than your largest hoops. Embroidery hoops are typically made from wood or plastic. Make sure you use a smooth hoop that won’t snag your fabric.
Choose a plain, woven fabric like cotton or linen. Light-colored fabric is ideal for beginners, as it makes it easier to see your stitches. Beginner kits often include fabric with the patterns printed right on, so you can get started stitching right away. If you are using plain fabric, you can draw or trace your pattern onto your design with a water-soluble pen or pencil.
There is a wide range of types of embroidery yarn (also called embroidery floss or embroidery thread) on the market. Cotton, wool, and silk are most commonly used. At Zollie, we love embroidering with Array. Array is a wool yarn grown, spun, and dyed in 114 colors and shades in the USA. Each tube has 210 yards, meaning you can build your stash with each project and you’ll have plenty left over for future projects.
Choose a small, sharp needle with an eye that is large enough to accommodate embroidery thread.
These are optional, but we include them in our Beginner Kits because it makes it much easier to thread your needle!
Small, sharp scissors are essential for cutting thread and trimming excess fabric.
Getting Started With Embroidery
To get started, you'll need your fabric, scissors, embroidery hoop, needle, needle threader, and yarn. You should use either a fabric that has a pattern pre-printed on, or you should trace or draw a design onto your fabric before starting.
- Grab your embroidery hoop and put the fabric in, mounting and tightening the fabric once it is inside. The number one thing to pay attention to is that your project is centered inside the hoop—you want to have good clearance around the edges as you can’t stitch easily right next to the hoop.
- Grab your needle and yarn. Cut a long piece. For beginner projects, we use a double end of yarn, meaning that you will pull the yarn all the way down and tie a single knot in the end. If you prefer to use a single end of yarn, you also do that.
- If you’re using a needle threader, follow those instructions to thread your needle.
- Bring the yarn through the needle until both ends of the yarn are at the same length and tie a knot at the end. Or, if you’re using a single end of yarn, tie a knot at the end without doubling it. Now you’re ready to start your first stitch!
Prefer to learn by video? Watch Grace teach how to prep your fabric, put it in a hoop, and start embroidering.
Beginner Embroidery Stitches
There are a number of great beginner embroidery stitches you can learn. Click the links below to see step-by-step written and illustrated instructions for each stitch. Each post also includes video instruction if you prefer to learn this way.
Learning More About Embroidery
We hope you found this guide helpful! The simple meditative practice of embroidering with your hands can be a fun and grounding everyday ritual, even if you only have time for a few stitches.
If you’re ready to learn more or dive in, our Zollie Beginner Embroidery Kit has all of the materials, written and video instructions you need to complete 3 projects illustrated by Arounna Khounnoraj of Bookhou. It’s the perfect kit if you’re brand new to embroidery, or rusty with your skills and looking for some support. Come join us!
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