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How To Embroider – The Ultimate Beginners Guide

Start here if you’re just getting started on your hand embroidery journey! I’ve compiled a comprehensive beginner embroidery guide of all of the free patterns I offer, embroidery stitch tutorials, resources needed, and much much more that will help you learn how to embroider.

learn how to embroider

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!

Learning How To Embroider

When I was first learning how to embroider, I felt like there weren’t many resources out there to help. My time consisted of a lot of trial and error, reading old embroidery books, ripping out stitches, and, let’s be honest: sometimes feeling like ripping out my hair.

I started questioning my ability to learn and began to wonder how difficult embroidery was really supposed to be.

But hey! It doesn’t have to be this way.

This guide is meant to give you the resources to start learning how to embroider with as little frustration and confusion as possible!

Can You Teach Yourself Embroidery?

Of course you can!

I am self-taught; I actually picked up embroidery in nursing school as a creative outlet!

The information in this post is most definitely not the only way to do things, but I wanted to share some tips and tricks that have worked for me over the past ten+ years of learning.

Hand embroidery is such a wonderful medium, and the styles and types of embroidery seem to be almost endless.

Embroidery is relatively easy to start learning because you can start by teaching yourself simple stitches and then build off of the skills and techniques you’ve learned as you go.

Below is a video I put together that goes over embroidery for beginners. It talks all about hand embroidery supplies you’ll need, basic embroidery stitches, and some general tips and tricks!

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 that are of good quality.

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Hand Embroidery Supplies

hand embroidery supplies

Hand embroidery doesn’t require much to get started. Embroidery supplies are easy to find in craft stores or online and they’re all very affordable.

You can read more about all the different types of embroidery supplies that are available and helpful to have, but if you’re just starting out, all you really need are a few things

What Do I Need to Get Started?

What Size Needle Do I Need For Embroidery?

This depends on how many strands of thread you are using. But in general, the most popular sizes of embroidery needles to use are 7-9. These sizes have a large enough eye that allows for the thread to easily pass through.

Can You Use Any Fabric For Hand Embroidery?

Technically, yes.

However, some fabrics don’t fare as well as others. Fabrics that are stretchy or thin are more challenging to work on.

The easiest fabrics to use are natural fabrics such as cotton and linen. They are not stretchy, have an even weave, and are easy to stitch on.

Can I Embroider Without a Hoop?

You can embroider without a hoop, but it is a lot more difficult.

Embroidery hoops make it a lot easier to embroider. They pull the fabric tight, which makes it easier to make your stitches look nice and they also prevent the fabric from wrinkling under the tension of your stitches. Furthermore, holding an embroidery hoop is a lot easier than holding loose fabric while you are stitching.

how to thread a needle

How To Set Up An Embroidery Needle

  1. Cut a forearms length piece of embroidery floss
  2. Moisten the end of the thread
  3. Pinch the very end of the thread in between your thumb and forefinger.
  4. Place the thread through the eye of the needle.
  5. Pull the thread through, leaving a few inches of a tail.

Setting Up An Embroidery Hoop

setting up an embroidery hoop
  1. Loosen the screw on the top of the embroidery hoop
  2. Separate the inner and outer rings.
  3. Place the fabric over top of the inner ring.
  4. Place the outer ring over the inner ring and the fabric.
  5. Pull the fabric tight like a drum, but not so tight that it warps the weave of the fabric.
  6. Tighten the screw.

Basic Embroidery Stitches

how to embroider a back stitch

Next, let’s get to the exciting part…actually stitching! A few basic embroidery stitches can really go a long way.

If you watched the video at the beginning of this article, you learned about the backstitch, chain stitch, and satin stitch.

In fact, you can make an awesome-looking embroidery with just these three stitches! Don’t worry or overwhelm yourself too much and just stick to learning a few at a time.

Once you’ve got the hang of a few of the basic ones, you can challenge yourself and learn even more embroidery stitches

Beginner Embroidery Patterns

beginner embroidery patterns

You can design and start your own embroidery project or choose from a ton of different beginner embroidery patterns available online!

It may be useful when you’re first learning how to embroider to start with a pattern made specifically for beginners. PDF patterns and kits are available in the shop and you can also find a ton of beginner kits on Etsy.

If you decide to purchase a pattern, read this post about how to read an embroidery pattern.

transferring embroidery patterns

Transferring Patterns to Fabric

You’ll want to have a reliable way to transfer a design onto the fabric before you stitch it. The most common way to do this is by using a sunny window and tracing the design onto the fabric with heat erasable or water-soluble pens.

However, depending on the detail of the design and the color of the fabric you are using, there are several other ways to transfer embroidery patterns.

Starting Stitches

Now you’re ready to start stitching. You can start embroidery stitches a couple of different ways, and it all boils down to what your personal preference is.

Learn 2 starting embroidery knots or learn how to start embroidery stitches without a knot. Try them both and see which way works best for you!

Beginner FAQs

You’ve probably still got a bunch of questions about everything, which is totally normal. These posts are geared towards answering some of the commonly asked questions you may have.

How many strands of embroidery floss should I use?

How do you keep fabric tight in an embroidery hoop?

5 tips for threading an embroidery needle

The best way to separate embroidery floss to avoid tangling

How to keep embroidery from puckering

Secrets to Embroidery – Embroidery Tips

Embroidery Classes Online

online embroidery classes

I teach on the online learning platform, Skillshare, where I have several different classes. If you’d like to, you can sign up for a free trial and take my classes!

The embroidery classes I teach include:

Also check out this post:

Best Online Embroidery Classes To Learn Hand Embroidery

Free Intro to Embroidery

Sign up to the email list and get exclusive access to my intro to embroidery mini-course/resource! This includes a free teacup pattern stencil along with a whole page full of information about embroidery.

You’ll also get occasional emails delivered straight to your inbox that are tailored to beginners learning how to embroider.

intro to embroidery mini course
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Hand Embroidery Kits and Patterns for Beginners

Embroidery Books

The internet is an amazing place to learn, but sometimes a book really comes in handy when you want to look something up. They are also great to learn with because they are very comprehensive.

Check out my favorite recommendations of embroidery books for beginners.

Lastly, I know this is a ton of information, but I truly hope that these tutorials help you on your journey of learning how to embroider!