The 6 things you need to start Embroidery
Not sure what you need to get your start in the world of embroidery? Well it doesn’t need to be daunting! Below we’ll discuss the top 6 things that you need to get started creating.
1 | Embroidery Hoops
An embroidery hoop is a key part to keeping your stitches even and prevents the fabric from puckering. It acts as a stabiliser for the fabric and (as a bonus) makes for a cute frame to display your finished work.
Embroidery hoops come in lots of different shapes, sizes and even materials. There are two different types of hoops you will see me use – a non-slip plastic hoops for when I’m stitching and a bamboo hoop to finish with. The non-slip hoops are designed with a groove in the hoop to keep the fabric secure and prevent it from slipping while you are stitching (this often happens with cheaper bamboo hoops). My favourite brands to use are Elovell hoops (from Brynn and Co. Shop) and Rico. The wooden/bamboo hoops are perfect for displaying your work in the hoop, as they can be varnished or even wrapped with ribbon to look extra special. They are also reusable across multiple projects. My preference is to stitch with the non-slip hoop and finish my pieces in the wooden hoops.
I love to sew with 10-25cm sized hoops, as this is what feels most comfortable to me. However, it is a personal choice according to what feels right to you! For large projects you can use very large plastic hoops or frames (which are often used for cross stitch or quilting), however, you can also simply reposition your hoop as your sew if you prefer.
2 | Fabric
You can sew on pretty much any fabric you wish and you aren’t limited to just swatches of cloth. I personally love to sew on cotton and other natural fibres.
Choosing fabric for a project can be overwhelming as there are so many options. It is actually one of my most asked questions… what do you sew on? Now remember, you can sew on just about anything, but my favourites are natural fibres like cotton and linen. For beginners I recommend calico, as it is relatively inexpensive and is light enough to easily trace patterns, plus the neutral seeded colour is perfect for a wide range of projects. I personally love muted colours, but there is nothing stopping you from sewing on bright patterned or even textured fabrics!!
I recommend that you always start by considering the weave and the weight (or thickness) of the fabric. If you can, try to touch and feel the fabric first. If the fabric is too thin it can be hard for the stitches to stay even. If the weave is too loose (like muslin), then your fabric will pull and distort your sewing. A trick with loose weave fabrics is to layer a second piece of fabric (often cotton or calico) behind the top fabric to give it some more body and support. Experiment with different types of fabric. You can often buy fabric in 0.5m or 1m lengths from fabric stores and sometimes even find it in thrift stores.
FIND FABRICS IN OUR SHOP: Devonstone Cotton Fabric
3 | Needles
As a beginner any needle will do. There are a lot of different types and when you are getting into specialty work you will need to consider what style and size of needle will work best for your project. Needles can be super confusing for beginners. There are three main types of needles typically used with embroidery and they also come in a range of sizes. It’s important to pick the right needle type and size for your project and fabric. I tend to use 2-3 different types of sizes depending on the number of strands I’m using and the weave of the fabric. The needle I use the most is an Embroidery needle size 6 or a Chenille size 22 if stitching with all 6 strands.
FIND NEEDLES IN OUR SHOP: Tapestry, Beading, Chenille and Embroidery Needles
4 | Thread
If the fabric is your canvas, then thread is your paint!!! Playing around with colours and finding the perfect combination for the project is one of my favourite parts of the embroidery process. The thread used with hand embroidery is often called floss and is often bought on a skein. There are a few important things to consider when it comes to selecting your thread. Firstly, there are definitely a number of other brands that produce embroidery floss, but not all of the them are the same quality. There are different styles and brands of threads, but DMC embroidery floss is my all-time favourite. It is also the brand I exclusively stock for my kits and monthly thread club. They have a wide range of consistent colours, are colourfast, fade resistant and found easily worldwide. We sell a variety of thread packs on the website.
SHOP DMC THREAD IN OUR SHOP: Thread Bundles, Tapestry Wool, Thread Club Subscription, Diamant Thread and more!
5 | Pens/Pencils
There are many ways to transfer your pattern to your fabric, but the easiest to start with is to trace the pattern with a pen/pencil. Picking the right pen to transfer your design is very important and there are quite a few different options out there. Some commonly used options are heat erasable pens, water soluable pens, air erasable pens pencils and even chalk. I recommend experimenting with the different options and find one that works best for you. My preference is the Pilot heat Frixion pen – goes on super smooth as it is a gel like pen and then once you have finished stitching you just ‘erase’ the lines with a heat source (hair dryer, iron or my favourite hair straightener.
MY FAVOURITE FRIXION PEN: Find them here.
6 | Scissors
Scissors aren’t just to look cute on your desk (although that does help!). A good quality pair of scissors will help you cut thread with precision and leave no split threads. You need a sharp and small point, so you can get into small spots and close to the fabric to cut off your thread. I recommend special embroidery scissors (which are particularly thin and sharp) to cut thread easily and give you more control in small delicate spaces. However to start with, any pair of sharp small scissors will do.
Sometimes you will see curve-ended scissors which are very helpful for cutting stabiliser close to fabric without cutting the fabric itself.
FIND IN OUR SHOP: Brynn and Co. Embroidery Scissors