Learn how to embroider by hand

I learned how to embroider by hand a long, long time ago, and still love the craft. In addition to my own stitching, I enjoy teaching others the joy that embroidery can bring, just as my grandmothers taught me.

My maternal grandmother used to make soft toys (I still have a tiger that was a second birthday present) and the most delicate items in crochet lace.

My other nanna was the embroiderer and going to her house was like entering an Aladdin's cave for me. I loved rummaging through her transfers and picking one for her to iron on to a piece of fabric ready to sew.

french knot embroidery

However, you may not have a family member that can teach you how to embroider, so I hope I will do as a substitute?

I would like to be your virtual friend, sitting by your side, guiding you through the different stitches and techniques that we can experience together.

Getting started

So enough talk, let's get stitching!

Clicking on the links below will take you to instruction pages and free designs to get you up and running.



Taking it further

If you have more experience, or like a challenge, check out the following pages on the site...

So what is hand embroidery?

Let's look at the dictionary definition...

"The decoration of fabrics with stitches, worked with needle and thread"

Over the years I have lost track of the number of items that I have embroidered, but here are some that have stuck in my memory...

  • The needlecase shown was the first piece of sewing I did at school
  • Back in the 70s, I learned how to embroider by stitching big, bold flowers onto my purple flared jeans.  I wore these with an embroidered cheesecloth blouse. Small flowers decorated the neckline and shoulder.
  • Also at school, I appliquéd felt leaves onto a table mat for my mother, which she insisted on using well into my adulthood
  • Just before I got married, I started a stamped cross stitch tablecloth, but that never got finished as my skills improved and I realized what a mess I had made of it!
  • I stitched numerous embroidery kits, including one that had wild animals all over it
  • I stitched my grandparents a picture of an old man and lady, which they proudly hung in their lounge for all to see

Ready to learn how to embroider?

When I am teaching needlework in person I am often told that I seem to be able to remember what it was like to learn something new and that I explain the basics really well.

Hopefully you will find my written hand embroidery instructions just as easy to follow. But remember I am always here if you need extra help. I am happy to explain things further and in different ways until you understand how to embroider a particular stitch or technique. Just ask!

The most important thing is to have fun while you learn to embroider by hand. It is a wonderful way to relax from the busy lifestyle we all live nowadays.

You could be creating an heirloom to pass down to your children and your children's children. Averi's mother did just that, and I am delighted to share photos of her work here on the site.

do you have a question about Embroidery?

This is your spot to ask any embroidery questions that you have. Other visitors to the site will be able to view and hopefully answer your queries.

Or perhaps you have some tips or even an article that you have written and would like to share?

Your contribution will be made into its own page on the site, and other people can comment on your submission.

So join in and use the form below to have your say.

[ ? ]

Upload 1-4 Pictures or Graphics (optional)[ ? ]


Click here to upload more images (optional)

Author Information (optional)

To receive credit as the author, enter your information below.

(first or full name)

(e.g., City, State, Country)

Submit Your Contribution

 submission guidelines.

(You can preview and edit on the next page)

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

what type of embroidery is this? 
Many years ago I taught myself to embroider flowers, butterflies, etc. I purchased a book, and if I remember correctly the author's name was Erica Wilson, …

What wool was used for a piece of antique needlework? 
I recently purchased an antique (unfinished tapestry that feels like wool threads..I am inspired to finish this piece and possibly embellish it. How can …

Crewel work using Appletons wool 
I am looking for some fabric that will support Appletons wool, everyone tells me to use linen twill but as I am new to this I would like to find something …

Re-creation Embroidery 
That is re-creation not recreation as in play. I love to run paper-backed cotton cloth through my printer to print a beautiful picture on the cloth. …

Does the stamped embroidery design wash out? 
This is my first venture into hand embroidery. Counted cross-stitch has always been my game. So, please help! I am taking on a huge tablecloth project …

Solid embroidery stitches 
I'm hand embroidering a design on a sweatshirt for a gift. The outline and key features have gone quite well. Now I'm looking at a couple of larger expanses …

How do I embroider on a pre-made pillow 
I have purchased a small ring bearer's pillow for my upcoming wedding. I want to embellish it myself. I would like to embroider our wedding date on the …

How to fix an untied knot 
I wish I had found this web site before I did the embroidery embellishment on my tunic top. Then I would have known how to start the thread without …

Embroidery on kitchen towels 
I've just started embroidery on flour sack kitchen towels. I am using transfers and I don't know what straight stitch to use for my pattern. Carol …

Do I tie a knot while doing stamped embroidery 
I embroider pre-stamped pillow cases and dresser scarves. I do not always like the way it looks on the back, with all the knots, it seems so untidy. …

embroidering names and letters 
I am embroidering a handkerchief for my boyfriend. All I need to do is do a few simple lines and a pattern around the edges, but am not sure exactly how …

Hand Embroidery 
If there is anyone who knows of a website that sells hand embroidery patterns and or kits i would be forever grateful. I have spend numerous days …

and am frustrated beyond words in my inability to find projects I want to work with! Just about everything is cross stitch (I live in "Silicon Valley", …

difference between cross stitch and embroidery 
Is there really a difference between cross stitch and embroidery? I am new to needlepoint and found some kits say one or the other or both but they look …

Many years ago I did a little bit of redwork but have since lost the instructions. I would like to know if it is necessary to do the embroidery with …

How long should it take me to embroider a piece? Not rated yet
I am a beginner embroiderer and I wonder what my goal should be for any given piece of embroidery...when I look at a new pattern, how can i gauge how long …

stitching bunny tails Not rated yet
The velvet stitch was FAB for my bunny tails. Now I need to know what color to make the shadows under the bushes and fences and such. Should I make them …

Click here to write your own.


New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave me a comment in the box below.

Recent Articles

  1. Blackwork Christmas Designs that stitch up quickly

    Oct 26, 16 04:51 PM

    Simple blackwork Christmas designs to download and stitch for cards, coasters or decorations. Choose from star, bell, robin or blackwork angel patterns

    Read More

  2. This free assisi pattern will help you learn the technique

    Sep 17, 16 11:16 AM

    Learn long armed cross stitch whilst working this free assisi pattern.

    Read More

  3. Learn 2 variations of Fishbone Stitch, flat and raised

    Sep 13, 16 06:38 PM

    Learn 2 types of Fishbone stitch to add to your range of basic embroidery stitches

    Read More