If you are interested in learning embroidery, this post will outline how to get started, online resources, materials needed and more.
Are there any hobbies that you have long looked at wanting to try, but never have? For me, that hobby has been embroidery. I have wanted to learn it for years, but have never explored how, watched a single video on YouTube or taken a class.
After three years of looking an an intro embroidery class at Nashville's Craft South, I decided to ask for it for Christmas. Matthew bought a kit and signed me up for a class, which I took in January.
Taking the class was all I needed to become immediately hooked. I love this new-found hobby. I have set a goal of stitching every day this year in hopes of really learning the craft and committing to doing something for me daily. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, I have had many people reach out asking how I learned embroidery. It is the perfect craft for this time, as it is soothing, requires patience and doesn't require many supplies.
This post outlines how to learn embroidery, online embroidery resources, what supplies you need and what to do with completed projects. This is just scratching the surface, but hopefully it will be helpful to you if you are interested in getting started with embroidery. It is not hard and incredibly satisfying. Some links are compensated affiliate links.
How to Learn Embroidery
Take an Embroidery Class
If you live in Nashville, I recommend taking a class at Craft South. The instructors are great, the kits are a perfect intro and it is fun.
That said, right now, due to social distancing, taking an online class is probably best if you want to get started with embroidery. I recommend the online classes through Creativebug. Click here to try it for free.
Do an Embroidery Stitchalong
Without question, doing an online stitch along taught me more stitches and gave me more confidence. A stitch along is just like what it sounds like – you stitch along with a teacher every day online.
One of my favorite Instagram embroiderers is Tory at The Barmy Fox. She hosted a stitchalong in February that I participated in, and I learned so much. She host stitchalongs often, but if one isn't currently going on, you can buy a past pattern on Etsy and watch the videos on YouTube. Tory's patterns are just $12.95 on Etsy. Since an in-person class is generally in the $40-$50 range, this is a fantastic deal. Also, Tory is a wonderful teacher. In February, I would DM her questions and even send videos of stitches I was struggling with and she always responded back with photos, videos and encouragement. I love her so much and know you will too.
Another Stitchalong that is available is Tinkerellen's adorable rainbow heart sampler. She has the pattern listed for $1 on Etsy and has a highlight on her instagram called “heart sampler” where she shows you how to do all the stitches. If you can't afford the $1 right now, email me and I will send (with her permission) the pattern to you. I just started this one and it is soooo precious and perfect for a beginner.
Sign up for a free Embroidery Email Series
Many embroidery teachers offer emails series that will teach how to get started, some basic stitches, etc. Check out this series by Crewel Ghoul that I have found on Pinterest.
Follow Embroiderers on Instagram
The embroidery community on Instagram is amazing. I am so inspired every day. A few of my favorites:
Many of these artists have etsy shops. Shop small and please consider buying from their shops for kits and patterns.
Getting Started with Embroidery Supplies & Patterns
Basic Embroidery Supplies
Embroidery doesn't require a lot to get started.
Tightly woven fabric, like cotton, linen and muslin
Embroidery hoop: You need a hoop to stabilize your fabric. Hoops can also be used to display your finished embroidery. Wooden hoops are super affordable and great place to start. I like displaying my art in wooden hoops. (This 12-piece set is a great way to get a bunch of sizes for just over $1 a piece.) Another option are plastic hoops, which I find hold the fabric much more securely because of an extra groove in the interior plastic ring. I have this 5-piece colored set and it was well-worth the $10!
Erasable pens: these pens allow you to trace a pattern on fabric, then erase the ink with an iron, blower dryer or in the dryer. Use these pens to trace patterns onto fabric. They are amazing! I also love these Pilot Frixion pens.
Embroidery floss: You can buy cheap packs of floss, but DMC brand is the best. It has a smoother finish and is just a nicer thread to sew with. (I have lots of the cheaper stuff, but try to use DMC whenever possible!) Here are a few packs of DMC floss on Amazon: Mix colors, holiday decor pack, 36 popular colors I know it is tempting to buy the cheap stuff, but trust me, you'll prefer DMC floss.
Embroidery needles: Needles vary in size. This multi-pack will allow you to see what you like using best.
Embroidery scissors: Sharp, small scissors are critical for embroidery. I am in LOVE with this two pack of silver stork scissors.
Light pad for tracing patterns: You can use a window, but this $20-ish lightpad makes it soooo much easier.
Buy Embroidery Kits
You can find lots of embroidery kits on Etsy, Amazon and craft stores like Michaels. I also subscribe to a monthly kit from Cozy Blue. It is only $13 a month for fabric with a pattern printed on it + all the floss. It doesn't come with instructions for stitches, but she shares stitches on Instagram and you can also see what others are doing with the hashtag. Both of the above are Cozy Blue!
I also found a few fun kits on Amazon
Flower & plant kit (two projects)
Floral & daisy kit (two projects)
Floral set (two projects)
You can also buy PDF patterns on Etsy and then transfer the patterns to the fabric yourself with a transfer pen. Many patterns are in the $5-$12. Here is a list of free embroidery patterns and resources.
Search Embroidery Patterns on Pinterest
Pinterest has a plethora of free patterns posted. I have started an embroidery board you can follow. Here are a few specific pattern posts that I discovered.
25 easy embroidery patterns for beginners with free patterns
What to Do with Finished Embroidery Projects
The most common question I have received after how do I start is what to do you do with your finished hoop? Since I have only been stitching for three months, I have kept my projects and hung them at various spots in my home, including my living room, office and bedroom. In the future, I plan to do a whole wall of hoops, as well as gift them.
I hope this has answered all your questions about starting to embroider. I am only just beginning, so I have much to learn. Please feel free to comment with your tips and questions. I am sure I will add to this post in the weeks and months to come.
For more embroidery content, check out this post on how to help children learn to embroider, and this post on where to find free patterns. You can also sign up to have my Blooming Books patterns emailed to you for free.
Malisa Price says
Love the idea about a wall of hoops. I highly recommend taking a picture of each one you finish and then I printed them out and put them in a little photo album. It is crazy to see the progress since I first got into embroidery in 2017. Also thanks for sharing about cozy blue, I just subscribed. And can’t wait to start the new Isolate & create tomorrow
That’s a great idea! I can already see my progress just in a few months. I can’t imagine what it will be in a few years. You’ll love Cozy Blue!
this was really helpful, thank you!
Do you keep your embroidery thread in the figure 8s that it arrives in, or do you transfer them to little cards? I embroidered a little as a kid and want to try again, but remember that it would be so frustrating when my thread would get tangled up!
I put them on the cards!
It was really great. Thanks for sharing.
These are great resources! Thank you. I wonder if you have an updated link to the Cozy Blue monthly kits? The link goes to a 404 error. I have found I enjoy CB products. I just started embroidering a couple months ago, in part because of what you have shared.
Apologies about that. Here is the right link: https://cozybluehandmade.com/pages/stitch-club
What do you suggest for kids? I have an eight year old and she is interested in sewing. I thought embroidery or cross stitch might be a good crafting task for her.
And Other Adventures Embroidery Co says
Thanks for featuring our Wildwood design in your top photo (the one on the right). Since you used one of And Other Adventures Embroidery Co’s patterns, we would love it if you could provide the source link for that design – https://andotheradventuresco.com/collections/wildwood