Saturday, 7 April 2012

Stitching Saturday - Get stitching for beginners

Image from

Instead of showing a stitching project I've either made or received I thought I'd use today to give a few pointers to useful guides and support for anyone interested in starting to learn embroidery.

Although I've been cross stitching since a young age I didn't try any other embroidery until a couple of years ago, and now I'm totally hooked, so I want to spread the love!

To get started you'll need:

  • An embroidery hoop
  • An embroidery needle
  • Some floss (I tend to use DMC stranded cotton)
  • Some material to embroider onto (the wonderful thing is that this can be pretty much any material - a leftover scrap, a pillowcase, a tea towel - so many possibilities)
  • Some embroidery scissors
And importantly - a pattern to embroider! This is where the awesome Sublime Stitching stepped in for me. Jenny Hart, creator of Sublime Stitching sells a truly amazing set of iron-on embroidery designs (pin-up girls, beefcakes, woodland animals, kitties - you name it!). You literally choose the design you want to stitch and then iron it onto your material - it leaves a really clear outline and is perfect for the beginner stitcher. 

Example of a pattern transfer set from Sublime Stitching

When I first started embroidering I stuck to three stitches - backstitch, running stitch and split stitch. You can see lots of different stitches and how to do them on the Embroiderer's Guild website here. Find a stitch you're comfortable with and practice. My first ever project was just a scrap of material with me practising all kinds of stitches in no particular pattern. Doing this totally took the pressure off learning. I progressed onto Sublime Stitching patterns, and then started drawing my own designs. 

To anyone thinking about learning to stitch - I'd honestly say just go for it! Of all the crafts I've tried it has brought me the most happiness.

Helpful embroidery links:

Craftster - a totally supportive and lovely crafty community. It's a great place for inspiration, and if you have any problems with your stitching you will probably find the answer is already there - and if not, you can ask! 

Wild Olive - a blog by Mollie - an incredibly skilled stitcher who has lots of free patterns, and stitching tips - I've learnt a lot from her. Mollie's 'embroidery basics' guide can be found here - it tells you everything you need to know to get started

Sublime Stitching - as I said above - gorgeous, easy to follow sewing patterns, great starter kits and just all-round stitching awesomeness

Sew and So - for stitchers in the UK, one of the best sites I've found for reasonable embroidery hoops, thread and material is Sew and So - although there are lots of great shops around

Hope this overview has get stitching, and have fun!


  1. I've been thinking about learning to embroider for a while, but no idea how to start. Thanks for this- already looking forward to producing my first beefcakes!!

    1. That's great! Go for it...and I know, who can resist the beefcakes! :)