Learn how to embroider by hand

french knot embroidery

Learning how to embroider by hand is not as difficult as it may first appear. 

Yes, there are lots of different stitches that you can learn but you don't need to use them all in one design. Beautiful projects can be completed using just a few.  Keeping things simple to begin with will build confidence in your abilities. 

So how are you going to learn?

I was lucky in that both my grandmothers taught me how to embroider while I was a young girl.  Needlework was also on the curriculum at school in the 1970s and I persuaded my teacher that I much preferred embroidery than dressmaking, so got to practice many different techniques. 

If you don't have any family members to pass on their skills to you, I would love to step in as an substitute. Over the years I have taught in many different venues throughout the UK including schools, shops, shows, churches and private houses.

Now, with the help of this web site I can help you learn how to embroider wherever you live. 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!


How do I get started?

 

What will I 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 stiches 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

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 junior school. The running stitches were threaded 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 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.

If you are just starting learning how to embroider, why not keep a list of your finished projects, either in a book or on your computer?


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.

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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? 
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 
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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 
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How do I embroider on a pre-made pillow 
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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 …

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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 …

embroidery-beginners 
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 …

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 …

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 …

Questions on Fixing an Old Quilt Not rated yet
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 …

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 …

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