10 Beginner Embroidery Tips I Wish I Knew When I First Started

I remember when I first started embroidering. My journey consisted of a lot of trial and error with a few triumphs along the way. Learning something new felt so exciting! But there were also times I felt discouraged when things didn’t turn out quite as I expected. Sometimes learning embroidery can feel a bit like a rollercoaster; you take one step forward and then two steps back, so today I’ll be sharing some beginner embroidery tips and encouraging advice from fellow embroiderers to help you.

When I started writing this post, I had a few practical tips in mind to share, but I also decided to reach out to my audience on Instragram to see what they had to say to someone just starting out. And wow, I wasn’t expecting some of their answers! I think you’ll find them extremely helpful and encouraging.

This post is a part of a series of posts about hand embroidery. For even more beginner embroidery tips, check out how to embroider for beginners.

Disclaimer: This post has some affiliate links in it. I receive a small commission from purchases at no additional cost to the buyer. I only recommend products I would use and love and that are of good quality. All opinions are my own!

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Beginner Embroidery Tips

1. Stick With Natural Fabrics

Natural, medium weight fabrics like linen, quilting cotton, and muslin are the easiest to work with. Try avoiding fabric blends that contain synthetic materials and definitely avoid anything that contains elastic. You’ll feel a world of difference when you’re stitching and your embroidery will turn out better overall.

If you’re not sure where to shop, head on over to this post where I share all of my favorite places to buy fabric.

embroidery supplies - a hoop, pen, scissors, needle, and floss

2. Invest In High Quality Supplies

Embroidery is a relatively cheap hobby to pick up. There are a lot of generic supplies to choose from, but I would recommend skipping over the cheap options and spending just a few more dollars on embroidery hoops and floss. They will last longer and make for a better crafting experience.

Choosing Quality Embroidery Hoops

The plastic and wood hoops that are available at the craft store are usually fine to work with, but If you are able to spend a little bit more money, I’d recommend getting a nicer embroidery hoop. Here’s a list of some of the best ones; beechwood hoops are the one I use most regularly.

If you do end up purchasing a wood or bamboo hoop at the craft store, make sure that the inner and outer rings seal together tightly. If there are gaps between the rings, they won’t grip a piece of fabric evenly which will cause all sorts of problems.

Embroidery Floss Brands That Are Worth Buying

The second material that I wouldn’t skimp on is floss. Nice embroidery floss is smooth in texture, has somewhat of a sheen to it, and it’s more durable than some of the generic brands. DMC is the brand I use because of it’s wide range of color selections but there are plenty of other high quality floss brands to choose from too.

Everything You Need To Learn Embroidery In One Place

Any new skill can leave you feeling overwhelmed with where to start and let’s face it: your time is limited.

I created this guide with you in mind!

It has everything in it that you need to know to get started stitching. Comes with tips, material recommendations, and 6 fun projects that will build your confidence and allow you to not just learn the art of embroidery but have something to show for it!

3. Find A Transfer Method That Works For You

There are about a dozen different ways to transfer patterns to fabric. I used to recommend particular methods to people, but I have found that certain techniques don’t work well for everyone. For example, I love to use stick and stitch but some people find it really annoying and hard to stitch through.

The two most important things: the design should be easy to follow and the marks should stay visible on the fabric while you’re handling it. I recommend experimenting with a few different techniques to see which one works best for you!

4. Master A Few Stitches

I love embroidery because you can use as little or as many stitches as you want in a design. Pick a few of your favorite stitches and focus on learning and mastering them. Once you feel comfortable with those, branch out and learn new ones.

5. Use The Right Needle Size

I used to pick up a needle, and as long as I could thread it, I’d use it. While it’s certainly possible to embroider like this, it’s actually better to choose a needle size in relation to how many strands of floss you are using. When you use the right size needle, you may be surprised to see your work improve and it will make stitching a whole lot easier!

This post explains everything you need to know about needle sizes.

free beginner friendly daisy embroidery pattern

6. Learn From Other Artists

Check to see if some of your favorite embroidery artists share tutorials or sell kits and patterns. While you may want to dive into creating your own designs, it’s super helpful to learn how to work a design from a pattern because it will usually walk you through each step. You’ll learn so much about what makes up an embroidery design and become more familiar with with how different stitches can be used.

7. Use Embroidery Books To Learn

The internet is an amazing place to learn embroidery, but nothing beats having a physical book with everything in it. The book I recommend to everyone is the Royal School of Needlework Book Of Embroidery. It has all of the embroidery stitch reference and guides to specific techniques you could ever need.

8. Take Breaks

If you’re getting frustrated, take a break! Sometimes when you’re learning a new skill it can be discouraging when it’s not turning out the way you want it to. Sometimes putting a project down and coming back to it with fresh eyes will help you solve the problem.

9. Find What Style And Techniques Work Best For You

If there is a particular style or technique you are drawn to or one that comes easy to you, I say run with it!

When I first started embroidering, I felt pressure to design my embroidery patterns in a similar style to other artists I looked up to. I loved the look of more modern, minimalist art but it never felt natural to me to draw and stitch. After struggling for awhile, I came to the realization that I should embrace more of what felt easy to me, which was thread painting.

10. Encouraging Advice From Fellow Embroidery Artists

Don’t worry about making every stitch perfect, just enjoy the process.


No work deadlines! Even better if you stretch out the project over many days.

Ella M.

Don’t give up when you get frustrated!! Just keep trying!

Hip Threads Embroidery

Honestly don’t worry too much about the names and techniques of stitches. Just play around and see how things feel. Embroidery is very intuitive; you’ll learn best from trying it out!

Rachel J.

It doesn’t matter if you don’t follow the “rules” or prescribed stitching methods. Do what works and enjoy.

Ephemera Embroidery

Want to keep learning even more? Check out this article to learn some clever embroidery tricks that will save you time and frustration.

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