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How to Embroider by Hand

Many sewing enthusiasts want to learn how to embroider by hand. This is as a result of the beautiful end that the process provides. Hand embroidery is a long and tedious process whose reward lies in its results. It allows you to transform a piece of sewing into a stunning and beautiful gift. It is a highly sought-after skill by many and here is how you can go about it.

How to Embroider by Hand?

To successfully embroider by hand, you need to know all about the stitches that you can make by hand. Assemble your tools and items that you will need, outline the shape you want to embroider on a piece of fabric, and start sewing. Take your time as you carry out this process. It will be slightly overwhelming when you bring out your intended patterns perfectly.

Read on for a detailed step by step on how to embroider by hand.

Steps to Embroider by Hand

1. Get all the embroidery supplies that you need

If you are just starting in sewing, you may not have all of them in your house and may need to go to the craft store. Always make sure that you are well prepared to start an embroidery project. You will need an embroidery hoop, embroidery thread, embroidery needles, and cutting materials which could be scissors or a razor. You will also require a pen to draw out the pattern on the fabric. Make sure that you have embroidery fabric for your project since it is much easier to use.

2. Hoop your embroidery fabric.

Hoops are available in different sizes and materials. They are available in wood and plastic. It is best to start with smaller size hoops if you are new to hand embroidery. It allows you to practice with smaller pieces of fabric. Unscrew and place your piece of fabric on top of the lower part of the hoop. Bring the top part of the hoop to rest on the fabric piece you are working on, then tighten the hoop screw.

3. Thread your needle.

Make sure that you have the appropriate embroidery needles and thread. Embroidery needles are much easier to work with when you embroider. Embroidery thread is known as embroidery floss. It is a six-strand thread used to embellish sewing projects. Depending on your skill, your embroidery fabric, and what you want to achieve, you can use any number of strands. The embroidery needle has a large eye for easier threading with floss.

4. Trace a pattern on your fabric.

You can embroider any images you like if you have the required expertise. Different embroidery images are appropriate for different expertise levels. Take your pen and trace your preferred pattern onto your embroidery fabric. If you cannot come up with embroidery designs on your own, you can buy or Google free embroidery patterns.

5. Start stitching.

When you have traced your design onto the fabric, you are now ready to start stitching. Embroidery by hand uses the best hand stitch that you can make and depends on your design and fabric type. You need to know how to make a few basic hand stitches such as the backstitch, running stitch. Use the one you are comfortable in. After some time of consistent stitching, you will get to see your pattern turn from a drawing to an embroidered design.

What Do You Need to Hand Embroidery?

To start your hand embroidery project, you need to have the requisite tools if you are a beginner or an expert. Having the appropriate tools makes your embroidery easy to complete. These tools are affordable and available easily.

Here is a list of the tools required.

Embroidery fabric

This is the most important tool you need to hand embroider. When you have all the other tools and do not have fabric, you can’t embroider. Hand embroidery experts advise that you choose cotton fabrics for the best results. Make sure that the cotton fabric you pick doesn’t stretch too much and is not loose.

Embroidery thread

You must have the appropriate thread for your embroidery projects. Embroidery thread is known as floss. It is available in hundreds of colors, make sure you know the colors you need before setting out to look for it. Embroidery floss is cheap. You can buy as much as you like for your future projects.

Embroidery needles

You have your fabric and your floss. All you need now is your needles to start your hand embroidery project. Make sure that you get the right embroidery needles. Regular sewing needles do not work well for embroidery projects. Embroidery needles are available in different types and sizes based on the embroidery projects that you want to carry out. The easiest way to identify embroidery needles is to read the label. Furthermore, they have bigger eyes for easier threading of thicker embroidery floss. They also have blunt tips compared to ordinary sewing needles.

Pencil or water-soluble marker

You use these to trace your pattern onto your fabric. Between the two, it is better to use a water-soluble pen as it doesn’t leave marks, unlike the pencil.

Embroidery hoop

The embroidery hoop is a ring with a top and lower part held together with a screw. It is important in embroidery projects to help keep the fabric taut and stable making it easier to work on. To use the hoop, open it up and lay your fabric on the lower part. Bring the top part of the hoop onto the fabric and tighten the screw. This holds the fabric in place, ready for the pattern to be transferred and embroidery stitching to start. It is available in plastic and wood.


When it comes to embroidery, sharp scissors are a must-have tool. You might need several types of embroidery scissors for your project. The most important are scissors to cut the fabric and the embroidery threads.

How Long Does It Take to Embroider by Hand?

Time is a factor to consider in any project that you carry out. Hand embroidering, for instance, is a time-consuming project although it also depends on other factors. Taking your time to do hand embroidery means that in the end, you will have results to be proud of. Many sewing experts advise that hand embroidery is not supposed to be fast.

Here are some factors that determine how long your hand embroidery project will take.

  • Size of the project.

If you are working with a 5-inch hoop, you will take a much shorter time than a person working on a 10-inch hoop. Also, if you are hand embroidering on a shirt, you will take longer than when embroidering on a coat square. The larger the project, the longer the time it will take for you to complete your embroidery.

  • The complexity of the pattern.

This will also affect how long it takes for you to complete hand embroidering. If you are working on a simple beginner pattern, you are likely to take less time to complete embroidering it. On the other hand, if you are working on a complex embroidery design by hand, you may need an extended time allocation.

  • Expertise.

This is another factor to consider when allocating time to an embroidery project. If you are a beginner in embroidery, you do not expect to complete it within the same time as an expert. This is especially if you are working on a similar project. The skill level and experience of the expert allows them to work faster and finish in less time than a novice embroider.

When you consider all these factors, it now becomes much easier to tell how much time a hand embroidering project may take. Hand embroidery is a complex process of art that requires concentration and time for beautiful results.


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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