Hey there! I figured the first post on my blog should cover the first things you’ll need to get started on any embroidery project. I go over most of these products in my youtube video, “Getting Started with Embroidery.” If you prefer to learn in video format- check that out!
Your most basic materials will be:
- A needle
- Embroidery Floss
- Embroidery Hoop
Some optional materials that I find really helpful include:
- Sticky stabilizer
- Embroidery thread organizer
You’ll want to choose a sharp needle with a wide eye. This will ensure that it will poke easily through your fabric, but also be able to fit the strands of thread through the hole. I typically use “chenille” needles, or needles that are labeled as embroidery needles. You will want to avoid regular sewing needles, as the eye will be too small. You’ll also want to avoid tapestry needles, because the ends are too blunt for tightly woven fabric.
I am pretty loyal to the brand DMC when it comes to embroidery floss. Their thread has always worked best for me, and they offer a huge selection of colors. It’s also very affordable, at about 55 cents per skein. DMC labels all of their colors with a number, so it is easy to find an exact match if I run out of a color and need to replenish. Other brands also label with numbers, but I like to stick with one brand of floss because it keeps things consistent and easy. When buying embroidery thread, it’s easy to want to purchase the large packs on amazon or in a craft store, but be careful. Most of these large packs are made for friendship bracelets, and are therefore cheap and dull-looking. They get tangled and rip easily, and don’t have the same quality as brands that are for embroidery. It will also be impossible to color match when you do need more of the same color.
You’ll need an embroidery hoop for your project. Hoops keep the work stable and taut while you stitch, which will help avoid crinkling and warping in the final project. You can almost always tell when someone did not (or did not properly) use a hoop in a project because the fabric will look wavy and uneven around the stitching. You can buy hoops at the craft store or on Amazon.
Some great fabrics to start with are felt and cotton. You can purchase sheets of craft felt at the craft store for around 50 cents a sheet, making it the perfect practice material. As an alternative to purchasing yards of fabric at the craft store, you can purchase “fat quarters,” which are precut pieces of cloth that you can get a few embroidery projects out of. Look for 100% cotton.
After you’re a little more comfortable with embroidery, try out some linen for a project. It can be a little more expensive, so wait until you have practiced your stitches. Linen has such a nice, natural look to it and it is one of my favorite fabrics to stitch on.
Just like DMC is my brand for thread, Fiskars is my brand for scissors. When starting out, you can use any pair you have lying around. Once you get more serious, it is worth it to upgrade to a pair of fabric scissors. Once you have, keep those as your fabric scissors and DON’T use them on paper, cardboard, or anything else besides fabric and thread! That will dull them, and you’ll end up needing to sharpen them or buy another pair. A pair of small snips is helpful to have around for thread, because you can get close to the work without worrying about cutting something accidentally.
I’ve tried about every different kind of thimble imaginable, and these have by far worked best for me.
I use the green plastic on my pointer finger or ring finger, and the leather on my thumb.
Here are some stabilizers I like to use. These help even more to make the fabric sturdy and keep it from warping. The Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy can be printed onto and then dissolves in water, which is extremely helpful for complicated designs and lettering.
I organize my thread in a plastic case like this one. DMC makes plastic bobbin cards to fit, and you can write the color number on them or use stickers to organize.
Happy stitching! -Addi