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Embroidery Essentials

Embroidery is easy and fun to learn - if you know where to begin.

There's been a resurgence in handmade crafts, and more and more small businesses are opening up shop to offer these services or materials. I'm so glad to be part of the movement.

With embroidery, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by a lovely group of friends who showed me the ropes, but I understand not everyone has crafty friends. If you're keen to get into a craft such as embroidery, I'll be your crafty friend!

Here's what you'll need to get started on embroidery:

  • Embroidery Hoop. Go for the wood hoops over plastic, especially if you intend on displaying your work on the hoop. The most common sizes are 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 in).
  • Fabric. Cotton, linen, and various blends of both are the most common. Calico or Kona cotton are great quality options to get started.
  • Floss (threads). Most, if not all, needle crafters and stitchers use DMC stranded cotton. It comes in 6 strands that are easily separated if you require less strands.
  • Needle. Size 22 or 24 Chenille is ideal, they've got a sharp tip and a huge eye for easy threading.
  • Heat erasable pen or transfer paper. I use and recommend the Pilot Frixion pen to transfer patterns as this is easily removable using a hair dryer. Use a white water-soluble pen for dark fabric.
  • Needle & thread (or hot glue), for backing the hoop. I wouldn't waste embroidery thread on the back, so I have a separate roll of 4-ply mercerised cotton (aka crochet thread) and a Size 18 tapestry/Chenille needle specifically for this purpose.
  • Felt circle, for finishing the hoop backing.
  • Scissors. Any pair of sharp scissors will do for the thread, but it is handy to invest in pinking shears for cutting fabric as it prevents it from fraying easily.
  • Bobbins, for storing thread.
  • And a nice kit to house all these materials.

Some optional materials include: needle threader (though you likely won't need it with my recommended needle), needle minder or pin cushion, metal bobbin ring - this is useful for setting apart your colours that are in use (comes in handy when you have lots and lots of colours!)

All of these materials are able to be purchased at your local craft or quilt shop. In New Zealand, this would be Spotlight or search up your local emporium.

This list + more details can be found in my digital resource Embroidery 101 - your guide to all things embroidery basics. I send this out for free with every purchase. ❤️

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