AD: A Guide To Embroidery For Beginners

14 June 2020

Has lockdown not been the time for taking up new hobbies? I’ve personally found myself doing a lot of new bakes, attempting yoga and as of very recently, having a go at some hand embroidery. 

Now, if you’d told me this time last year, that 2020 would see me stuck at home for 13 weeks and doing embroidery, I’d have laughed in your face. 

But, a few embroidery TikToks made their way onto my homepage and I decided that it looked a) relaxing, b) a good way to pass the time and c) not toooo technical, seeing as my artistic abilities leave a lot to be desired. 

I’ve created a fair few pieces of work now and am so pleased with my progress already. My screen time is also really thanking me – it’s no nice to be doing something that doesn’t involve a phone, laptop or TV, nor any expensive supplies or equipment.

Anyway, let’s get into my guide to embroidery for beginners, shall we?

A Guide To Embroidery For Beginners - a simple guide to getting started with hand embroidery.

A Guide To Embroidery For Beginners


What is embroidery?

A really succinct definition from the Cambridge Dictionary sums up embroidery as follows; ‘the activity of decorating a piece of cloth with stitches sewn onto it’. Quite simply, it’s sewing thread onto a piece of fabric. Okay, it’s way more fun than it sounds, trust me. There are lots of different types of embroidery, but for the sake of this post, we’ll group them all together under one umbrella term to keep this an easy, quick read. 


Can anyone do it?

YES! Trust me, it’s not difficult at alllll and really doesn’t require any previous experience. I haven’t had any lessons nor help from anyone, I’ve just been watching videos and reading articles online, and would say I’ve already got the hang of a lot of the basics! 


A Guide To Embroidery For Beginners  - a simple guide to getting started with hand embroidery.

What supplies do I need to get started with embroidery?

One of the things that drew me to embroidery was the limited number of supplies you actually need to get going. There’s nothing worse than stumbling across a new hobby to realise that the supplies cost more than a meal for ten at the local Italian restaurant. 

I ordered all of my supplies online (because COVID) and they weren’t hard to source at all. To get started with embroidery as a beginner, you will need: 
  • Fabric – I’m using a plain white cotton. If you’re struggling to source fabric or want to save some money, you could cut up an old bedsheet or pillowcase and use that to start with whilst you get the hang of it all!
  • Floss – Otherwise known as embroidery thread. It’s much thicker than your standard thread, in fact, it’s made up of six strands all twisted into one. If you already have an embroidery design* in mind, you could just buy the colours for that, if not, a black, a white, and a green are a great place to start! (I also bought a yellow because I knew I wanted to create some sorta bumblebee/sunflower creation).
  • Needle – For embroidery, having a needle with a large eye makes life a whole lot easier. Who wants to spend 5 minutes just trying to thread a needle? 
  • Hoop – Now, it is possible to embroider without one but I definitely recommend you invest in a hoop or two. They’re not expensive and they make life soooo much easier as they hold the fabric taut for you. They come in lots of different sizes, but I’m currently swapping between a 4 and a 5-inch hoop. I decided against getting anything too big because I didn’t want to get bored halfway through a project and give up. The smaller hoops are a far more manageable size meaning pieces don’t drag on and on! 

A Guide To Embroidery For Beginners  - a simple guide to getting started with hand embroidery.

Where can I find ideas of things to embroider?

One place to look for embroidery designs* is Design Bundles, they have thousands of different ideas for projects, ranging from inspiring quotes to eggplant emojis, and from floral bouquets to cute dogs. Lots of the embroidery files cost less than a fiver and are a great place to start If you have no idea what to create with this new-found skill of yours. The majority of the files are PDFs (including colour charts) meaning you can just download them and get started straight away. There are also both hand embroidery and machine embroidery files available too, should you choose to take your hobby one step further! 

What stitches do you recommend a beginner learns?

These are the four stitches I’ve been using as a beginner and would recommend you attempt them too. If you only learn one, make it Backstitch – it’s just so versatile and you can use it for most things! 
  • Backstitch 
  • Satin Stitch 
  • Stem Stitch 
  • French Knots 
If you put these stitches into YouTube hundreds of tutorials will come up. I definitely found watching someone else do it made it far easier to understand than trying to read some instructions!


A Guide To Embroidery For Beginners  - a simple guide to getting started with hand embroidery.

How do you display your embroidery work?

I know a lot of people put their artwork in frames but I really quite like how the pieces look kept in the hoops. If, like me, you want to keep it in the hoop, simply cut off the excess fabric until it’s really short and not visible from the front. Alternatively, you can fold the fabric under and glue gun it to the hoop. 

Some people like to leave the back as is, whilst others sew a piece of fabric over the back to hide all of the stitches. Much like any other type of artwork, how you finish and display your embroidery is entirely up to you and your personal preference. I’m definitely team cut the excess short and leave as is, it definitely makes it feel more homemade! 


So, there we have it, a beginners guide to embroidery brought to you by yours truly. I hope I covered any questions you might have surrounding this new hobby of mine, but if not, get in touch and I can definitely have a go at answering any of your questions!


Have you ever had a go at any embroidery?

A Guide To Embroidery For Beginners  - a simple guide to getting started with hand embroidery.

4 comments

  1. Oooooooh these are adorable!! I've been getting into embroidery recently too! It's just so relaxing

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  2. I've been getting into it too!it's so relaxing

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  3. I have been really wanting to get into embroidery too but didn't know where to start so this is the perfect post!! I found a little kit I bought years ago and it was so relaxing, but I wasn't sure what to do next - now I am so inspired! x

    Erin / Everything Erin

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  4. Embroidery seems so therapeutic, I'd love to give it a go!

    Lucy | Forever September

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