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Beginner Embroidery Tips + Common Mistakes To Avoid

Beginner Embroidery Tips

Here are some quick and simple ways to improve your embroidery. I’ve learned a lot of these lessons the hard way, so I hope sharing some of these beginner embroidery tips can help you so that you don’t have to go through the same frustrations!

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!

Common Mistakes:

  • You’re using the wrong fabric
  • The embroidery hoop you’re using isn’t good quality
  • Your stitches are too tight
  • You are using the wrong kinds of markers to stencil your design.
  • Your stitches look uneven
  • You’re rushing or becoming impatient
  • Using scissors to cut out mistakes
  • Skipping over the basics

Mistake: You’re using the wrong fabric

Picking the right fabric

Tight evenweave fabrics like linen, canvas, and denim are ideal. Fabrics with an uneven weave make your stitches irregular and uneven. I have beautiful linen I bought from Joanne’s a few years ago when I was still trying to get a feel for what kinds of fabrics work best. The weave is very uneven and somewhat loose, so I would wonder every time I embroidered on it why all my stitches looked so uneven and just not clean!

Here are my favorites you can pick up online or in store at Joann:

Mistake: The embroidery hoop you’re using isn’t good quality

Choosing the best embroidery hoop

Not all hoops are the same quality! Make sure when shopping for embroidery hoops that the inner and outer ring seat nicely together. If they don’t, they will unevenly grip the fabric and your fabric could slip, making it harder to keep your stitches even. If you are able to spend a little bit more money on one, thing, I’d recommend getting a premium embroidery hoop.

Mistake: Your stitches are too tight.

Set your fabric, hoop, and stitches up for success

This makes the fabric ripple and we all know hoop art looks crisp and clean when the fabric is nice, even, and smooth in the hoop! Focus on even stitches that are snug, but not too tight. You may also be using fabric that is too thin. If you’re using thinner fabric, I recommend using an embroidery stabilizer on the back of the piece.

Also, if you’re embroidering on something like clothing, I cannot recommend this enough…use an embroidery hoop! I’ve tried to embroider on hats without one, and trust me; you really can tell the difference. Before you even put one stitch into the fabric, make sure that your fabric is evenly pulled through the hoop and that the screw of the hoop is tight. Such a simple step can go a long way!

If you’re still having trouble, check out these posts on how to keep fabric tight in an embroidery hoop and how to prevent fabric from puckering.

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 e-book with you in mind!

It has everything in it that you need to know to get started stitching. This e-book covers all of the basics: materials and supplies, embroidery stitches, and it also has 4 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!

Mistake: You are using the wrong kinds of markers to stencil your design.

Stencil your design on the fabric before you get started stitching.

I recommend using a water-soluble marker to trace out your design, or a water-soluble stencil. When I first started out, I would use a micron or fine tip sharpie directly on the fabric and I thoroughly regretted it because you could see the stencil and a dark shadow around the design, and it obviously didn’t wash off.

Having a solid design drawn out onto the fabric before you get started is so important. Sometimes I’ll wing it and free hand an embroidery but it never looks as good. It’s important like anything else in life to have somewhat of a blueprint or plan in place before you get started!

Mistake: Your stitches look uneven.

Pay close attention to your stitch length and slow down

Slow down and really be mindful of where you’re stitching. If you have fabric with a more visible weave, pay attention to where your stitches start and end and try to make sure the length of your stitches are all the same. Also, you may be rushing because you’re tired or getting impatient. Take a break and come back to the project later.

Mistake: You’re rushing or becoming impatient.

Learning is hard, and breaks are important!

If you’re getting frustrated, try to take a break! Sometimes when you’re learning a new skill it can be infuriating when it’s not turning out the way you want it to. It definitely helps to take a deep breath, take a break, and slow down.

Mistake: Using a scissors to cut out mistakes

Have a seam ripper on hand

You’re going to make mistakes, and it’s way easier to use a seam ripper than to use a scissors. I’ve definitely made a hole accidentally in the fabric using a scissors, and it’s less likely that will happen with a seam ripper!

Mistake: Skipping over the basics

Invest in a good embroidery book or stitch encyclopedia

I think having a good stitch encyclopedia or embroidery book that goes over different stitches and techniques is really helpful, sometimes way more helpful than googling every stitch! I find a lot of these books at thrift stores! Two of my favorites are:

Beginner Embroidery Ebook

Check out my beginner embroidery eBook that goes over the basics of embroidery and has 4 embroidery projects in it!