Hand Embroidery Tips & Tricks For Beginners

Updated: Sep 24, 2020

This has been on my to-do list for ages, I am so excited to finally tick this off and get it published! All of you lovely souls who have bought my kits and gotten a bit lost of where to start - I hear you, this is for you! And for anyone else starting out with embroidery and looking at hoops and threads and needles like "whaaat?"

Watch my video below or read on for snippets, photos and facts. Or do both! Anything goes.

Oh yeah I'm on YouTube now so if you're so inclined, pop over and give me a lil subscribe 😘 The video below includes all of the tips and tricks covered in the post, if you're looking for something specific, keep scrolling as I've broken it down in to easier to digest segments.

I'm going to cover how to use an embroidery hoop, how much thread you should be using at one time, how to separate the strands (!), how to use a needle threader, the best way to knot the end of your thread, where to start on your pattern (quick answer - anywhere!) and how to tie off your stitches when you're ready. OK let's goooo!

Using Your Embroidery Hoop

Let's start by talking about embroidery hoops. You can totally stitch without one if you prefer, but I find it so much easier to use one. My favourite brand is Elbesee, who are UK based and make hoops from close-grain beech with smooth radius edges and wax polished. They are really great quality. You can get cheaper hoops but they're often warped or splintered and are not usually as good. I still use cheaper ones occasionally but I do try and get hold of Elbesee when I can!

How do you get your fabric in the hoop? You can watch the video above to show you, or read on if videos aren't your thing...

  1. Start by separating your hoop in to two parts. Then lay the inner ring (the hoop with no screw on) flat on the table.

  2. Pop your fabric on top of the inner ring, don't worry too much about it being centred and perfect, you can readjust it when you're finished - as long as you can get to all the bits you want to stitch it's all good.

  3. Push the outer ring of your hoop over top of that - you need to loosen the screw further to avoid wrestling with it.

  4. Tighten the screw back up, but before you're all the way tightened, give your fabric a tug around the edges and corners so it is really taut in the hoop. Aim for the tightness of a drum skin - no slack fabric here please, it makes your life harder! Once your fabric is taut and flat and lovely, tighten the screw up as much as you can.

Working with embroidery thread/floss

If you've got one of my embroidery kits it includes enough thread to finish your project, but if you've just bought a pattern and you're looking for what to buy I recommend DMC stranded cotton. This is what I use in my kits and it's the brand I always go back to. DMC stranded cotton is double mercurised which means it has a really nice sheen and glides through your fabric easily.

How much thread to use