Embroidery has humble roots, which is great news for beginners; it’s an easily accessible craft to start. Supplies are inexpensive and the techniques range from basic to advanced. You might even know some of the embroidery stitches—many of us learn to sew from a parent or grandparent, as the skills of embroidery are traditionally passed on from generation to generation.
Hand embroidery has seen a major resurgence over the past several years—particularly among contemporary artists who incorporate thread into their work, or use the embroidery hoop as a frame for fabric art.
Here’s a supplies list to get you started:
Embroidery hoops. Hoops come in all sizes, from just a few inches in diameter to over a foot.
Thread (aka floss). The DMC brand is industry standard (it’s been around since 1746), and they have a very loyal following. It’s easy to see why—a skein is less than a dollar and they have a ton of colors available.
Scissors. Embroidery scissors are small (palm-sized) and just sharp enough to trim thread.
Needles. Needles often come in packs with a range of sizes. Depending on the type of fabric you’re sewing on, some needles will work better than others.
Fabric. The possibilities are seemingly endless when it comes to sewing. If you’re looking for a place to start, try a fabric that’s pure cotton. Make sure that it doesn’t have stretch (like you might find in cotton blends) and that its weave isn’t too loose.
Plastic bobbins. These are a lifesaver, especially if you have a lot of thread. Before you begin stitching with a thread, write the color on one of these bobbins and then wind it around the plastic piece. That way, when you run out of thread, you’ll know what type of skein to buy!
Thread organizer. Store your thread, embellishments, and other supplies in one of these handy bins.
Embroidery stitches have an incredible range of skills. Some are so basic that you probably know them, even if you haven’t sewn before. Others are more advanced and require instruction and a lot of practice. Luckily, with embroidery resurgence, there is no shortage of places to learn embroidery stitches.