Learn how to embroider by hand
one stitch at a time

Are you looking for a new way to express yourself creatively? Learning how to embroider may be the perfect solution.

Embroidery is a fun craft that you can learn easily, with the right guidance and practice. Not only is it an enjoyable activity, it also has the potential to become a meaningful creative outlet.

In this section, of the site I will share the essential basics of how to embroider, from the tools you will need to building up a library of stitches. So, set aside some time to learn the craft of embroidery and enjoy the beauty of creating with a needle and embroidery floss, pearl cotton, yarn, crewel wool and many other fibers.

I would love to teach you

french knot embroidery

My grandmothers taught me how to embroider when I was a young girl.

Needlework was a subject at my school in the 1970s. I persuaded my teacher that embroidery was more interesting than dressmaking, so I got to practice lots of techniques.

Can't find relatives to teach you? No problem. I would love to step in as a substitute.

Over the years I have taught in many venues throughout the UK including schools, shops, shows, churches and private houses. 

Now, with the help of the internet, I can pass that knowledge onto you in the comfort of your own home. 

Consider me your virtual friend, sitting by your side, guiding you through the different stitches and techniques of hand embroidery. 

So enough talk, let's get stitching.

Start with simple projects to gain confidence. Record your accomplishments. And never underestimate the pride you'll feel when you want to show off what you've accomplished.

How do you get started?

What will you need?

Find the right needle for your fabric and thread here

Choose the best embroidery scissors for the job

Learn how to use an embroidery hoop and why

How do I ...

How do I use an iron on transfer to get the design on the fabric?

How can I embroider my name to personalize my belongings?

How do I stitch a line in a design?

How do I fill an area with stitches?

Which stitch ...

Which stitches can I use to embroider small flowers?

Which stitches can I use to embroider leaves?

What stitch can I use to embroider a strawberry?

What stitch can I use to embroider a hen?

Can I use variations of chain stitch to create a fish design?

How can I create a furry effect?


Once you have learned the basics...

 

we can take things a little further. 

Try some different embroidery techniques

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

Thread painting - use long and short stitch to create a embroidered picture

Stumpwork or raised embroidery - create an Easter bunny in a basket

Cutwork - worked in crisp white on white

Embellish a crazy quilt - you can really go to town here!

Colcha embroidery - a traditional technique from New Mexico


So what is hand embroidery?

Let's look at the dictionary definition...

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

 

My early projects

We all have to start somewhere. I thought I would share some of my earliest embroidered projects with you.

The needle case shown above was the first piece of sewing I did at junior school. I threaded the running stitches under the loose threads on the surface of the fabric. I was about 8 or 9 years old when I stitched this. 

In the 70s, I learned how to embroider big, bold flowers onto my purple flared jeans. I wore these with an embroidered cheesecloth blouse decorated with small lazy daisy stitch flowers around 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 many 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 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 create 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.

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What Other Visitors Have Said

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Embroidering on pillow slip 
I am embroidering a monogram on a pillowslip which makes it difficult to use an embroidery ring. Any suggestions please.

what type of embroidery is this? 
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What wool was used for a piece of antique needlework? 
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Solid embroidery stitches 
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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. …

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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 …

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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", …

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backing-embroidery 
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 …

Embroidery on an afghan for a child Not rated yet
I'm going to be hand-stitching some designs on an afghan as a gift. I've done it once before by stitching on a separate piece and then attaching the fabric …

How do I stitch French Knots quickly? Not rated yet
How can I speed up time on French Knots? They take much longer than any other stitch. I have a lot of them on my project. Thank you.

Hilary's embroidery Not rated yet
I am looking for instruction to continue to improve my embroidery. I am having trouble finding instruction for traditional whitework, and traditional embroidery. …

Can you use backing on a finished piece of embroidery to hide the threads? Not rated yet
I used to embroider as a child and decided to get back into it. I have to say it has been challenging and fun at the same time. I have learned a lot about …

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I inherited an old family quilt from my mom which my paternal, maternal and Great-Grammas created/worked on, which makes it extra special for me. The cotton …

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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 …

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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 …

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