Have you ever heard the phrase “It takes 10,000 hours to become good at a particular skill”?
Let’s face it, you’re probably really busy and don’t have an extra 10,000 hours lying around to teach yourself embroidery.
The good news is that you don’t need that long to start feeling comfortable stitching. In this post, I’ll be sharing some of the most efficient and effective ways you can learn embroidery. All of these methods are ones that I personally utilized in my learning journey and I hope they help you as well!
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!
How To Teach Yourself Embroidery
Start With A Handful Of Basic Stitches
In order to learn any skill more quickly, it is helpful to break it down into smaller pieces. In this instance, the “smaller pieces” would be embroidery stitches.
If you’ve ever looked through an embroidery book, you will have seen the many hundreds of different stitches. It can be a lot to take in!
You definitely don’t need to learn all of these stitches at once. In fact, you can create an embroidery using one simple embroidery stitch such as the back stitch.
Avoid overwhelming yourself and focus on learning a few stitches at a time.
Doing this will help you to become comfortable with some basic stitches so that you can eventually move on to learning more challenging stitches.
Get this free PDF to learn some basic embroidery stitches.
Focus On One Style Of Embroidery
There are numerous different types of embroidery, which are all really fun to learn. However, like I stated in the last tip, it’s helpful to start small and focus on one thing at a time.
I recommend picking one style of embroidery you’d like to commit to learning first and put all of your effort into learning it. Once you’ve become relatively comfortable in one technique or area, you can start to move on to another.
Needlecrafts can be fun to do somewhat mindlessly while you are watching tv or listening to music. When you are learning, it will be more effective to set up in an environment that won’t distract you so that you can focus on what you’re learning.
Invest In A Course
You don’t have to completely teach yourself embroidery alone! The internet is full of helpful resources, including many online embroidery classes. Online courses are great because they are set up in a way that will be conducive to learning, and they usually will include some sort of embroidery design you can stitch along with.
I have linked below a few beginner courses from popular platforms:
Apply Your Skills + Make Projects
Once you’ve practiced some basic stitches, you should practice your new skills as soon as you can. A great way to do this is by completing a pattern or embroidery kit.
Projects will keep you motivated as well as entertained. It can get quite boring practicing stitches over and over without some sort of goal or end result. The feeling of finishing something is like no other…you’re guaranteed to be super proud of your first creation!
Learn By Making Mistakes
While it is good to start small and slowly branch out when you are learning, don’t let that stop you from exploring and challenging yourself.
If you’re stuck in analysis paralysis, here is your permission to just start! Is there a project that you’re unsure of taking on because the stitches seem a bit complicated? It doesn’t hurt to just try!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with taking action and giving something your best shot. You’ll most likely struggle and make a few mistakes, which is expected and actually really beneficial for learning any new skill.
Study Other Artists
There is a popular saying about ‘studying the greats’ and it’s for good reason. Studying how someone else has approached a piece of art can help you figure out how to improve your own personal work.
How did the other artist use embroidery stitches?
Is there something about their style that you really like?
What does their use of color look like?
Don’t Get Stuck In A Comparison Trap
While it can be really effective to study other artists, it can be really easy to compare your progress and skill level to someone else’s.
Everyone is at a different point in their learning journey, and you never want to get too hung up on comparing yourself to others. This will only hinder your progress and inevitably discourage you!
When you get stuck in this mindset, remind yourself of where you started and your progress so far. It also helps to take progress photos of your work to look back on later.
Hold Yourself Accountable
If you’re super serious about learning embroidery, you need to make a commitment to yourself. This will involve setting aside time to regularly practice. Even if it’s for 30 minutes a week, consistency goes a long way when you are first learning a new skill.
If you’re someone that has a hard time with commitments, it may help to find a friend to learn alongside you or you can even join a Facebook or reddit group focused around embroidery. Some sort of accountability partner or community can be really helpful when you’re stuck and need help or when you need a little motivation to keep going.
I hope these tips to teach yourself embroidery are helpful! Remember to keep trying and be patient with yourself.
Now that you know how to teach yourself embroidery, check out my Ultimate Guide To Embroidery For Beginners.
Amanda is a hand embroidery artist and teacher. With over 15 years of experience in the craft industry and embroidery, she owns and runs Crewel Ghoul, sharing tutorials and patterns to help inspire fellow crafters to get inspired and creative. In addition to running this website, she teaches on Skillshare and Youtube.