What is embroidery

Embroidery has been around for a long time, with origins from China and the near east. It can be traced back to the year 30.000 b.c. with archeological finds revealing fossilized remains of heavily hand-stitched and decorated clothing. It is a cherished craft that always seems to find new and inventive expressions in the hands of artists and craftspeople worldwide. 

Modern embroidery

In recent times, embroidery has really skyrocketed as a hobby enjoyed by many people from almost every age group and all kinds of lifestyles. Though it is a traditional art form at heart, given its truly diverse nature, accessible supplies, and its endless possibilities regarding style, color, texture and placement, it has become a trendy craft in today’s day and age. 

Practicing hand embroidery is a great way to slow down, center oneself in the present moment and create something beautiful in a mindful way. With a bit of practice, you can literally go from simple stitches forming a flower on a 3-inch hoop to a full-blown detailed portrait that could very well be mistaken for an oil painting if you squint your eyes.

Why learn to embroider

Embroidery is relevant today primarily because people want to be less wasteful and more mindful of the things they own. What better way to save a piece of clothing you might have otherwise thrown away than to stitch on an applique embroidery and give it a new life? Applique embroidery essentially means you apply and sew another piece of fabric onto your fabric canvas. 

Endless possibilities

With a little bit of guidance, anyone can do it! Whether you want to follow ready-made embroidery patterns or completely free-hand your way onto the fabric, there are many different stitching techniques to explore in the field of embroidery. Some popular embroidery stitches are:

  •  running stitch
  • back stitch
  • split stitch
  • chain stitch
  • stem stitch
  • lazy daisy stitch
  • fly stitch
  • french knot
  • satin stitch 
  • long/short stitch. 

As you might realize, the possibilities are endless. But there is no reason to get overwhelmed! You can make some really great projects just using a single stitch, such as the long/short stitch, for example, as it is very effective and allows for freedom to create both simple and elaborate patterns.

Getting started with embroidery

When setting up a workstation with your embroidery supplies, here are some tips to get you started: 

Embroidery hoops– if it’s one thing you should spend a little bit more money on, it’s the hoops. With a better and sturdier hoop, your fabric won’t slip due to an uneven ring. Investing in a quality embroidery hoop will save you a lot of headaches along the way and give you a better end result. Here are two good options for your first embroidery hoop:

Fabric- When choosing fabric, sturdy cotton or linen in your preferred color is recommended. However, you can also work on denim or lace. Keep away from stretchy fabrics and make sure it’s evenly weaved. 

Embroidery hoop with blank canvas fabric

Thread and needle – Lastly, you will need embroidery thread with six strands, which you can separate if you like, along with a needle. Additionally, a water erasable marker pen can be great to trace your design onto the fabric. After that, you’re ready to begin! 

Common mishaps- The most common mistakes in embroidery are not stretching the fabric enough or stretching too hard. Make sure it’s secure in the hoop without the grain looking uneven and slanting. This should not be a problem if you’ve chosen a good-quality hoop. 


Just because embroidery is a traditional handicraft, it does not mean we absolutely have to stick to certain types of subjects, such as delicate flowers or cute animals. When choosing your style or motif, only your imagination sets the limits. That is why embroidery will likely always be relevant and catch the interest of practicing artists worldwide who constantly find new and exciting ways to hone the craft and reinvent the art form. 

The benefits of hand embroidery are many:

  • Providing you with a calm and rewarding task.
  • Learning valuable skills that have been passed down for many generations.
  • Contributing to a more sustainable lifestyle where we take care of our belongings.

But most of all, embroidery is a fun activity with many techniques to choose from. When creating with needle and thread, the possibilities are truly endless!

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