How to start hand embroidery. Answers to frequently asked questions for beginners.
Thanks to Covid-19, and social distancing, a lot of us have more time to stitch lately (or work on other projects we’ve been meaning to get to for a long time!) so I wanted to answer some Frequently Asked Questions here.
I’ll be sharing more in depth posts about transferring patterns, how to set up your hoop, the supplies you need to start embroidering and more over the next little while.
I receive lots of questions about embroidery, and I will attempt to answer the most common questions here.
What fabric do you use for embroidery?
Where do you buy embroidery hoops?
What needles should I use for hand embroidery?
This is really a matter of personal preference. Any needle will work, but different styles and brands may feel more comfortable to different people. Personally, I don’t like a needle that’s too thin. I find that with just a little bit of use I tend to bend those needles a bit (I don’t know my own stitching strength, I guess). The needles only bend a small amount so they are still usable, but they just feel weird to me and I don’t like it.
I also prefer a smaller eye and a sharp, but not too sharp tip. DMC brand needles are great, as are Clover brand. I’d recommend that you start with one of those two. If you find you don’t like how they feel, try another option. Luckily needles are pretty cheap so it won’t cost you more than a few dollars to experiment a little.
How to transfer hand embroidery patterns onto fabric:
- Print the pattern directly on the Fabri-Solvy (you could choose from my extensive list of PDF patterns here).
- Set up your hoop with fabric
- Peel the sticky backing off the Fabri-Solvy
- Place the pattern on your fabric and press down to secure it in place
- Stitch the pattern (through both the fabric and the Fabri-Solvy)
- When you’re done stitching, rinse the project in water and the Fabri-Solvy will dissolve, leaving your beautiful stitching in place.
- print out pattern and tape it onto the lightbox (I usually use washi tape)
- Lay fabric on top (be sure it is wrinkle-free and dry)
- Trace the pattern onto the fabric using the water soluble pen
- Place fabric in the hoop
- Start stitching!
- When the piece is finished, rinse off the pen with water by either spraying with a squirt bottle or run your embroidery quickly under water from a faucet, making sure all of the water soluble pen is removed. Set aside to dry.
- Finish in your desired method and then display!
I’ve never had embroidery thread bleed when I apply water. You may wish to do a test run first so you don’t ruin your embroidery project. I know DMC brand thread does not run.
Hand Embroidery Tips:
- cut a piece of muslin about the same size as the main fabric
- Layer them together, with muslin on the bottom
- sandwich them together into the hoop, making sure there are no wrinkles/bumps in the fabric underneath