So you want to give hand embroidery a try... It is on trend. It seems calming. And it totally justifies your Netflix binge. I get it!
But if you have never picked up a needle, it can probably feel a little overwhelming and intimidating. What supplies should you get? Of the 100s of stitches out there, which one do you start with? And most importantly, what design do you choose that you will actually finish? Friend, I am here for you and am going to guide you through all of it. Welcome to your new favorite hobby!
To get started here is what you will need:
- A needle
- Embroidery Hoop
- Embroidery Floss
- A beginner pattern
- Water or Heat Soluble Marker (this is only if you are transferring your pattern.
I will dig in to each of these below. However, if this list is already causing you anxiety and you want to hit the easy button and have all your supplies, pattern, and instructions already picked out for you and packaged up in a cute little box that is delivered to your doorstep, go check out my Beginner Embroidery Kits.
So let's dig in...
Fabric: We could talk all day about fabric. But for this post, I'm going to be specific for beginner projects. I suggest that you choose a light-colored, tight-weave cotton that is not stretchy. You can go wild with fabric once you have completed your first project. But for today, let's keep it simple. To get started, take a look at these specific cotton fabrics: cottonvill, cotton muslin,and Kona cotton. I also really love stitching on high quality linen.
Embroidery Floss: Select your favorite colors of good quality embroidery floss. I am a fan of DMC floss. I like that the colors are consistent and readily available everywhere. I don't use any other brand because I like DMC's consistency with colors and quality. And if you need help choosing colors, we have a lot of ideas in the form of Floss Bundles and Digital Color Palettes to take some of the guesswork out.
Embroidery Hoop: There are lots of different styles of embroidery hoops. But I like to keep things simple and go with this tried and true high-quality beech wood hoop. It is definitely more expensive than what you find in a craft store, but nobody likes fussing with a poorly constructed embroidery hoop. So if you stitch a lot, go for a high-quality hoop. You can always swap out your finished embroidery into a different, less expensive hoop to display in after you are done stitching. You can purchase them at your local craft store or I have ordered this hoop off Amazon.
Needles: Just like hoops, there are a lot of different kinds out there. And needle preference often comes down to personal choice. Bottom line is that you want a sharp needle with large eye. Needles are available at your local craft store, Amazon, and even Walmart sometimes. I use a lot of different types of needles and switch them up based on the fabric and types of stitches I am creating. Here are my top 3 needles: DMC #24 Chenille Needle, DMC #5 Embroidery Needle, Tulip #5 Embroidery Needle.
A Beginner Embroidery Pattern: A true Beginner Pattern is so good because it will teach you the fundamental stitches that will serve as your embroidery foundation. When looking for Beginner Patterns, choose something based on your personal taste and quality of instruction. Obviously you need to be excited about the pattern and love it. I hope you love my beginner embroidery patterns! But if you don't, that is okay. Just make sure that you choose to buy from someone that will give really good quality stitch instructions that go with your pattern. And I have a HUGE favor to ask you - please do NOT purchase your kits/patterns off Amazon/Ebay/etc or copy something off Pinterest. There are so many counterfeits and knockoffs out there that are ridiculously terrible and I would much rather you support the actual artist that has poured his or her heart into their embroidery pattern.
A Transfer Pen: In this post I talk all about How to Transfer Your Pattern and the different options available to you. For me personally, I transfer using this light box and this transfer pen. I really like these pens. I do my best to cover the pen lines with my stitches. However, for any pen lines that are still showing, I just blast them with a hair dryer and they magically disappear. And for your first project, don't worry about getting a lightbox just yet. You can always use a bright, sunny window to trace your pattern. But if transfer pens still sounds too overwhelming or your budget is tight, keep it simple and just start your first project by tracing with a pencil. Be sure to cover the marks with your stitching and you should be good to go for your first project. You can always upgrade to the pens later.
- Scissors: If you have been around here for a while, you know that I have a love affair with these scissors. However, you truly can use any pair of scissors so long as they are sharp and will cleanly cut through floss.
Okay, so now that you know what you need for all of your hand embroidery supplies, you can move on to your actual stitching project. Here are some other posts to get you started: