A quick internet search for “embroidery by hand” may produce the impression that embroidery by hand is an impossible craft. But all it really takes to get started is a needle, some thread, and some patience. Beyond that, the sky’s the limit on what you can do – and it’s all so much easier than you might think!
In this post, we will walk you through how to make a few basic stitches to get started. After that, a whole world of embroidery by hand is yours for the taking!
Step by Step Guide:
1. The first thing you need to do when embroidering by hand is to thread your needle. There are two styles of threading the needle that you can use – the whip method and the twirling method. Which one you use will depend on whether your thread has a hard or soft twist (see tip #2 below).
2. To determine if your thread is twisted, hold the end of it up so that light shines through it. You want to look at the direction the threads are twisted, in and out. If they are all twisted around each other in the same direction, then your thread is a hard twist. If they are all twisted in different directions then it’s a soft twist.
3. To thread your needle you will need to turn it so that the eye endpoints away from you (the end with no eye on it). With your thumb, push the eye until you feel resistance – this is where you insert your thread into your needle.
4. Push the end of the thread through until only a small loop is left on the top – this loop will be used to pull your thread through when it’s time to start embroidering.
5. To “twirl” your needle is to use your forefinger and thumb of your free hand (it doesn’t matter which) on the end of your needle while you hold your thread with the other hand. With your thumb and forefinger, pull the end of your thread through the eye of your needle in a little “twirl” motion.
6. Pull the end of the thread through until you hear it cut through the fabric – this is where you will stop twirling and start embroidering. It’s okay if there is a small loop left on top – like in step 4, this will be used to make sure that your stitches are straight!
7. Now you’re ready to start making your stitches. The first step is the easiest – and most satisfying!
8. Simply pull the needle and thread out of the fabric and then back in *without moving your fabric at all*. It should look like a straight line across your fabric, or approximately a “V” shape. It doesn’t matter how long the stitch is as long as there isn’t any loose thread sticking out of it – this can be trimmed off later.
9. Next you want to double your stitch. To do this, hold your needle up with the thread still extended from it. Hold it at a 90-degree angle to your fabric and then bring it straight down into the fabric again. This will make the V-shaped stitch look like 2 Vs next to each other instead of 1 long one.
10. Finally you will want to finish the thread. This can be done a few ways, but the most common way is to take your needle back out of your fabric at a 90-degree angle from where you initially put it in. Your thread should now be doubled over itself and you can trim the end off with scissors if necessary.
That’s it! Now go forth and embroider!
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