"Creativity is Contagious; Pass It On" - Albert Einstein

An increasing number of people in the UK regularly sew to alter clothes or improve them.

Why not join them and learn how to embroider?

Embroidery can be used to improve a cushion, jacket, dress, t-shirt, or just as a creative activity to create something nice. Creatives will enjoy embroidery on account of just how useful it can be for making textiles and clothing look better.

Be it traditional embroidery, Japanese embroidery, or cross-stitch, you’ll need a few things before you can get started. Needles, thread, patterns, etc., even though there are a few things that you’ll need, you won’t need to spend a lot of money on them. Go for it!

What Do You Need to Start Embroidery?

Embroidery is the art of creating patterns on fabric with thread. This handy art form was popular among older generations but it’s recently seen a resurgence.

What supplies do you need to do embroidery?
When it comes to embroidery, thread is essential. (Source: webandi)

But where can you start if you’ve never touched a needle or thread? What material do you need to get started?

When it comes to embroidery, it’s not that important what you embroider on. Once you’ve got a needle and thread, you can embroider on almost any fabric that’s soft enough.

But which type of thread should you use? Are there special needles for embroidery? Where can you get embroidery supplies?

Embroidery Thread

Embroidery thread can be bought in packs; often packs of a single colour. You can choose how many threads to use to alter the thickness you want to achieve. You can also buy packs of different colours. You can choose the pattern you want to work from. DMC embroidery thread is particularly famous for its quality. However, feel free to ask for recommendations at your local arts and crafts shop or haberdashery.

The Needle

You must choose the right needle. This will depend on the type of embroidery you’re doing. If you’re using a thick thread, you’ll need a larger needle with an eye big enough to it your thread through. You should also pay attention to the embroidery needle’s point, ensuring that it’s not going to leave large holes in your fabric.

The Hoop

Have you ever tried to embroider onto a piece of fabric that isn’t taut?

It’s almost impossible. Whether you’re doing cross-stitch or embroidery, your fabric needs to be taut if you want to make your work easier. This is where the hoop comes into it. You can stretch your fabric over an embroidery hoop which will hold your fabric taut and flat.

Erasable Markers

How can you embroider from scratch?

Unless you have an innate talent for embroidery, you’ll probably want to use an erasable marker. You can get markers that you can erase with just a bit of water. You can draw the pattern onto your fabric following your pattern. If you’re not very good at drawing, you can always hold the pattern and fabric up to a window or light and trace over the pattern. You’ll be able to see your pattern through the fabric if it’s light or sheer enough.

You also don't need to buy all these things separately. You might want to buy an embroidery kit or a cross-stitch kit. Beginners' kits often come with embroidery patterns to help you get started.

Learn more about how to embroider.

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Choosing Your Fabric for Embroidery

Once you’ve got your embroidery equipment ready, you’ll need to choose the right fabric.

Which fabrics can you embroider on?
You need to choose your fabric according to what you're doing. (Source: monika1607)

Embroidery is often used to spruce up some clothes and make them more interesting. You can add a nice motif to a scarf or accessory, for example. That said, it’s not always that easy embroidering onto clothing. Even with a hoop, the materials used in clothing can be difficult to embroider onto.

If you’ve just started embroidery, we recommend that you start on something like linen. You can get fabric in all colours sorts of colours from an arts and crafts shop or haberdashery. Pay particular attention to the thickness of the fabric. Again, ask the staff for help with choosing the best fabric for your embroidery projects.

If you want to start with cross-stitch, there’s a special fabric you can get with holes already in the fabric so that your stitches are uniform.

Similarly, you can get an embroidery or cross-stitch pattern to work from. You can get these online to print off yourself, buy them from arts and craft shops or haberdasheries, or get a pattern that's already printed onto the embroidery, cross-stitch, or quilting fabric.

Useful Materials for Embroidery

Other accessories aren’t essential for embroidery but they can be useful since they can make things easier. I recommend that you get these sorts of things once you know that embroidery is for you rather than just as you’re starting. If you’re sure you want to continue with embroidery, these accessories will be a good investment.

You can invest in a large hoop for working on larger projects, for example. Make sure you don’t get one that’s too big and unwieldy to work with.

To make things easier, you can also get a stand for your hoop. Thus, you can free up both hands to focus on the embroidery. You might also want to invest in a magnifying glass and a lamp to make it easier to see your work.

You might also want to get something to keep your embroidery needles and thread tidy. If you don’t put your threads away properly, you’ll end up finding them all tangled up. Similarly, needles are very easy to lose. If you’re getting a lot of thread, a case or box for your threads could save your life.

Buying Used Embroidery Equipment

There are more and more places where you can buy second-hand stuff.

Where can you get used embroidery equipment?
Why not buy a used embroidery hoop? (Source: palichka)

Whether it’s online, car-boot sales, or even high-street shops, where exactly can you find embroidery equipment?

The first thing you need to do if you’re looking for second-hand or cheap embroidery equipment is to ask your family and friends if they have any that they want to get rid of. You’ll be surprised what some people have just lying around in their drawers. Ask if you can pay to take it off their hands, you won’t have to pay a lot.

You can get second-hand needles, hoops, stands, etc. Of course, a second-hand thread is less than useless and the same goes for fabric.

You can also head to car-boot sales. These events are a great place to find equipment you can still use for really cheap. You can even negotiate the prices with the sellers, just make sure that you check that everything is is still in working order.

Finally, check websites like Gumtree and Craigslist, for example. A lot of people will sell kits or packs; it’s unlikely they’ll sell a single needle on its own. In some cases, you’ll also get needles of different sizes, hoops, and unused thread together. Again, make sure you check that everything is in good condition before you buy it. If you can see the stuff before you buy it, even better.

Buying New Embroidery Equipment

If you don’t trust used equipment or can’t find what you’re looking for, you can always buy brand new embroidery equipment.

Where can you buy embroidery supplies?
Haberdasheries are great places to get both new and used embroidery supplies. (Source: Peggy_Marco)

You can find new embroidery kits online. There are plenty of arts and crafts websites where you can find thread, accessories, and cross-stitch equipment. You can also find sewing kits and canvas for embroidery.

The good thing about buying online is the prices. On the other hand, you can’t see the products in the flesh before you buy them. This might be problematic for things like scissors or thread or things where the size is important like a hoop, for example.

You can go to traditional arts and crafts shops and haberdasheries. The advantage of these places is that you can ask for advice from the staff who’ll know exactly what they’re talking about as they’ll also embroider regularly. You can get stuff for knitting, sewing, crochet, cross-stitch, etc. You can also find good sewing, embroidery, or cross-stitch kits of a higher quality than the average kit online. Make the most of your time in the haberdashery to find inspiration for your next projects. Ribbons, glitter, felt, etc., haberdasheries are a wonderland for the creatively-minded.

Finally, there are the big stores. While you mightn’t be able to find certain specialist items, most huge shops will have basic items like needles and thread. You may even find embroidery kits. These are often kept alongside items like sewing kits, spare zips, buttons, patchwork, knitting needles, etc.

Once you’ve got what you need, you can get started!

If you need help with needlework, embroidery designs, embroidery stitches, etc., consider getting help from a private tutor on Superprof before you start stitching an ornate tapestry. Perhaps you want to start with a simpler embroidery design before moving onto embellishments such as beading and complex needle art.

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Jess