How to Start Embroidery- A Guide for Beginners

How to Start Embroidery

Embroidery is an art that instantly increases the beauty and value of a fabric. For those who have never tried embroidery may hesitate to take on the activity because all that on-point stitching and flawless patterns sure seems like hard work. And it is.

But learning how to start embroidery by hand doesn’t necessarily have to be difficult. It only takes some useful tips, informative guidelines, a few decent tutorials and a whole lot of dedication to start your journey.

If you have a creative mind and a passion for sewing then you must definitely take on embroidery because it will help you take your creativity to a higher level and allow you to enhance your skills in the field. 

The good news is that you can even get started on your first project with minimum supplies so there isn’t really much of an investment to make until you have worked on your skills to move on to bigger and more demanding projects.

So if you are serious about learning how to start embroidery then our quick-start embroidery guide should get you ready and equipped with all the basics required to successfully complete your first embroidery project.  Please note that all the information shared below are general ideas set for basic hand embroidery only.

Let’s move on- “how to start embroidery” with every details

Basic Supplies

Let us begin with all the supplies that you need to gather first.

  • Fabric: You will first need to pick a fabric that you want to embroider on. While it is possible to sew your designs on almost any fabric, some fabrics that stretch or fray too much aren’t the best options. Aida, a 100% cotton fabric is a popular choice among beginner embroiderers. It is inexpensive and widely available while also being one of those fabrics that allow trouble-free stitching. Quilting cotton and Linen are also great choices, to begin with, although linen may be a bit expensive.  Do your research and choose whichever suits your needs.
  • Embroidery Hoop: Hoops comes in a variety of styles and sizes but a simple 6-inch wooden or plastic hoop works just fine for multiple projects.
  • Needles: Go for a pack of embroidery needles that come with several needles in different sizes. An embroidery needle will have a large eye to thread floss and having quite a few of them, to begin with, will be a good idea.
  • Embroidery Floss: You can embroider with any kind of thread really but the best kind of thread for the job is embroidery floss. You will find that sewing with these kinds of threads will make the process less frustrating because they are designed specifically for embroidery. Select all the colors you have in mind for your project.
  • Scissors: Any sharp fabric scissors will do.

Know Your Stitches- 3 Basic Embroidery Stitches

There are countless types of stitches that you can use for embroidery but we will discuss three basic ones here today.

The Running Stitch

The running stitch or the straight stitch is one of the simplest and easiest stitches to learn which also makes it one of the most common kinds created by hand as well as with the help of machines.

For this stitch all you have to do is sew in and out of the fabric in a straight or running line, pulling the thread through the fabric with equal distance between each stitching line.

You could stitch along or over your desired design with the lines as close or apart as you wish, as long as the lines are neat and the distance is the same all the way through.

Simply knot down your stitch on the backside of the fabric when done.

The Back Stitch

Use this stitch when you need a really strong continuous without any gap between the stitch lines.

To do this stitch pull the needle from the underside of the fabric and make one stitch as you would for a running stitch-sewing into the fabric and pulling out the needle to complete a single stitch.

Once you have pulled out the needle from a distance of your first stitch instead of stitching forward push the needle back towards the first stitch, completely covering the distance between the two stitches.

You will notice that you now have two stitch lines making one solid line with no gap between them. Continue sewing using the same technique to create lines as long or as short as your design demands.

The Satin Stitch

You can use the satin stitch for shapes and parts of your design that need to be filled up.

For this stitch instead of running your stitches in a line, you must create stitches side by side. Start by creating one line first and then repeat to create another stitch as close as possible to the first one. Keep sewing until you have filled up an entire shape, making the stitches as smooth as possible.

*You can start and end each stitch with a knot until you have learned other special techniques to secure stitches.

How to Use an Embroidery Hoop

As mentioned before, embroidery hoops come in a variety of styles but the circular plastic or wooden ones are the most popular.

We recommend practicing on an extra piece of fabric first just so you get the hang of things.

Place your hoop over a piece of fabric to see how much area it covers and then proceeds to cut a square of the fabric a little larger than the hoop.

Remember that the center of the fabric will be the area of embroidery while the sides will hang free between the hoops.

Once you have your fabric cut out, loosen the screw on the hoop to separate them, setting aside the larger hoop.

Spread the fabric over the smaller hoop, making sure the hoop is right in the middle before placing the larger hoop over the fabric. You should now have your inner/smaller hoop below the fabric and the outer/larger hoop over the fabric.

Tighten the screw back on while pulling the fabric from all angles to keep it taut and plain.

You should now have the area of embroidery ready on the fabric to sew as you like.

A hoop holds the fabric taut and allows you to work on your design with precision and accuracy so we recommend moving the hoop to every area of fabric that you wish to embroider on. Without the hoop, it gets very difficult to get flawless stitches and a desirable outcome.


Now that you have an idea of the basics of how to start embroidery, you can move on to picking up special techniques and tips to enhance your skills and get more creative.

There really isn’t anything that one cannot embroider, if you can envision a design you can transfer it to your choice of fabric simply by stitching it out.

Start with a simple pattern today and soon you will be mastering the art of embroidery.

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