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How to do embroidery: tips and advice for beginners

Imagine transforming a simple piece of fabric into a vibrant work of art, where each stitch tells a story. In this article, we will explore the secrets of this technique together. Whether you're a beginner looking for a new passion or a veteran of needle and thread, embroidery has a lot to offer. From the embroidery box to the online tutorial and communities, discover our guide to starting embroidery step by step!

Choose the type of embroidery

Embroidery is an excellent idea for manual activity which comes in a mosaic of techniques, each with its own charm and specificities. Among the most popular, cross stitch stands out for its simplicity and pixelated appearance, ideal for beginners . Sashiko , originally from Japan, offers a minimalist and meditative style with its repetitive geometric patterns. For those looking to capture finesse and detail, needlepoint painting is an exquisite choice, bringing almost lifelike images to life on fabric . Finally, ribbon embroidery reveals itself through its volume and textures , perfect for creating floral patterns in relief.

Choosing the right type of embroidery depends on your taste and what you want to express. If you like precision and detailed designs, cross stitch or needle painting may be for you. For a more relaxed and textured approach, ribbon embroidery is ideal. Sashiko, on the other hand, is perfect for those who appreciate meditation through art.

Basic materials for embroidery

Embroidery starts with choosing the right equipment. For beginners, here are the tools to gather:

  • Embroidery needles: There are several types of needles , suitable for different embroidery techniques. For cross stitch, opt for a needle with a rounded tip, while for most other stitches, a needle with a pointed tip is ideal. Needle size varies depending on the texture of the fabric and the type of thread used.
  • Embroidery threads: The choice of thread is important. Mouliné thread , consisting of six strands , is most commonly used and is suitable for a wide range of projects. There are also specialty threads , like silk thread for a subtle sheen or metallic thread to add a touch of shine.
  • Fabrics : For beginners, Aida fabric is a wise choice , especially for cross stitch, thanks to its regular grid which makes counting the points easier. Over time, you can explore other fabrics like linen or cheesecloth, which provide different backgrounds for your designs.

When selecting materials, keep the end project in mind . For example, finer thread and a smaller needle will be better suited to detailed work like needle painting. For ribbon embroidery, choose longer needles and thicker threads. The key is to find a balance between working comfort and the desired aesthetic effect. Feel free to experiment with different materials to discover what works best for you.

Learn the basic stitches

Mastering a few fundamental stitches can open up a world of possibilities in embroidery. Let's start by exploring the basics:

  • Cross stitch: This stitch, formed by two intersecting diagonal lines, is ideal for beginners . It is used to create pixelated designs and is particularly popular in folk embroidery and geometric patterns.
  • Backstitch: Simple but effective, the backstitch is used for outlines and fine details . It is made by making stitches in a straight line, going back each time.
  • Stem Stitch: Perfect for curved lines and floral details, this stitch is used to imitate the look of stems and branches . His technique involves stabbing the needle a few millimeters from its previous exit point, leaving the thread under the needle to form an arc.

To practice these stitches, start with simple patterns . Trace a design or text onto the fabric using an erasable pen or transfer a pre-drawn design. Practice maintaining consistent tension on the thread and making stitches of equal size .

A good exercise is to embroider simple geometric shapes like squares or circles using different stitches. This will help you develop consistency in your embroidery, an important skill for more complex projects. Patience and practice are the keys to achieving precision and fluency in your stitches.

First projects for beginners

Starting with simple projects is a great way for beginners to get started with embroidery while still achieving rewarding results . Here are some easy project ideas to get you started:

  • Embroidery on Tote Bag: Personalizing a tote bag is a project that is both practical and elegant. Start by choosing a simple design, like a flower or an inspiring message. Use an erasable pencil to draw the design directly on the bag. Then use basic stitches like back stitch to trace the outlines. You can add color and texture with cross stitch or stem stitch.
  • Monogramming on Linens: Adding a monogram to towels or sheets is a classic project. Choose a letter in a font style you like and transfer it to the fabric. Use stem stitches for lines and cross stitch to fill in large areas.

    As you gain confidence, don't hesitate to explore more ambitious projects. You could move on to more complex designs, incorporate different types of stitches, or work with more delicate fabrics.

    Each completed project will strengthen your skills and expand your creative repertoire. Embroidery is an art where patience and practice pay off , gradually taking you from simple projects to sophisticated, personal works of art.

    Courses and resources to learn embroidery

    For those new to embroidery, finding the right learning resources can make all the difference. Here are some suggestions to get you started and hone your skills:

    Online courses and video tutorials

    Embroidery, although artisanal, has found a special place in the digital age. Many online courses are available , offering a step-by-step approach to learning different embroidery styles and techniques. These classes, often accompanied by video tutorials, allow you to clearly visualize each stitch and movement, which is ideal for beginners . Platforms like YouTube are full of free tutorials that cover everything from basics to advanced techniques.

    Embroidery books and kits

    Embroidery books are great resources for beginners. They offer step-by-step instructions, patterns to follow, and practical tips for starting and finishing a project successfully. For a complete learning experience, embroidery kits are highly recommended . JOY! offers a collection of embroidery kits and even sewing boxes designed for beginners . These kits include everything you need to get started: fabrics, threads, needles, and patterns. They are perfect for getting started with embroidery without worrying about buying different materials.

    Join an embroidery community

    Embroidery is more than a hobby; it is a passion shared by a global community. Joining a community can add an extra dimension to your embroidery experience. Here's why and how to get involved:

    Benefits of joining a community

    1. Support and advice: Embroiderers, whether amateurs or experts, are usually eager to share their knowledge and answer questions. Whether you're stuck on a particular point or looking for advice on choosing materials, community members are here to help.
    1. Inspiration and ideas: Sometimes seeing the work of others can ignite a spark of creativity. Forums and groups are treasure troves of inspiration, with members regularly sharing their finished projects, innovative patterns, and unique techniques.
    1. Sense of belonging: Joining a community can make you feel part of something bigger. This can be particularly motivating, especially when you're just starting out.

    Facebook Groups and Embroidery Forums

    Facebook groups are a great place to start. They provide an easy-to-access platform where you can join discussions, ask questions, and share your own work. Look for groups with specific interests , like embroidery for beginners, or particular styles like cross stitch or contemporary embroidery. In addition to Facebook groups, there are several online forums dedicated to embroidery where members share resources , tutorials, and material reviews.

    Embroidery FAQ

    Embroidery, with its nuances and varied techniques, can raise many questions, especially for beginners. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions to get you started:

    Q1: What is the best type of embroidery for a beginner?

    Answer : Cross stitch is often recommended for beginners because of its simplicity and ease of following patterns. However, the best type depends on your personal interests. Embroidery kits for beginners can also be a great place to start.

    Q2: What are common embroidery mistakes and how to avoid them?

    Answer : Common mistakes include poor choice of fabric or thread, uneven thread tension, and using the wrong needle. To avoid them, choose your equipment carefully according to the project and practice to maintain constant tension.

    Q3: How long does it take to complete an embroidery project?

    Answer : The time required varies greatly depending on the complexity of the design, the type of stitches used, and your embroidery speed. A small, simple project may take a few hours, while a more complex project may require several days or more.

    Q4: How do I transfer a design to fabric?

    Answer : You can use a heat transfer pen, carbon embroidery paper, or water transfer. For simple designs, drawing directly on the fabric with an erasable pencil may be sufficient.

    Q5: How do I care for my completed embroidery projects?

    Answer : Gently wash by hand or machine at low temperature, and avoid wringing the fabric. Dry flat and iron inside out to preserve the quality of the embroidery work.

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