Instructables
This instructable will teach you the very basics of embroidery. Learning to embroider is not as tough as you might think!

Plus, embroidery is a nice relaxing thing to do after a long day. :D

Below are some of my embroideries - I sell them on etsy in my shop, making jiggy.

Step 1: Tools or hardware, if you prefer.

Picture of Tools or hardware, if you prefer.
To start embroidering, you'll need the following items:
  • embroidery hoop - this is a ring consisting of two parts. You put the fabric in between the hoops - this helps keep it taut, making the embroidering easier.
  • small, sharp scissors. You can find these under many names.
  • your fabric of choice! In most cases, this shouldn't be loosely woven or too stretchy. Simple quilting cotton will work fine.
  • embroidery floss. This is cheap and comes in TONS of colors.
  • embroidery needles. These have bigger eyes than normal needles to accommodate the size of the floss.

Step 2: Using the embroidery hoop.

Picture of Using the embroidery hoop.
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Embroidery hoops come in many flavors, though the basic circular wood and plastic ones are the most common. You can find them at most craft stores. :)

Cut a square of fabric slightly larger than your hoop.

To start, loosen the nut at the top of the hoop. You'll then separate the hoops. Put the one that has the nut and bolt to the side, you don't have to worry about it just yet.

The other part of the hoop will have a lip, so place it lip side up, and drape the fabric you're using over it.

After you have the fabric over the bottom hoop, push the top hoop down over the bottom one. The lip of the bottom hoop will rest on the top hoop. This will sandwich the fabric between them. Now you'll want to tighten the nut a bit and begin pulling the fabric taut. The fabric floating between the hoops should not give very much - this will make the embroidering much more complicated than it should be.

After the fabric is taut, keep tightening the nut until it feels secure to you.

 
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fkflores5 years ago
I've been meaning to show you the Japanese curtains I made for my boyfriend after reading your Instructable! I have never done anything artsy before and this was my first attempt at embroidery. It was a lot of hard work but I pulled it off... Thanks again!
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jessyratfink (author)  fkflores5 years ago
Those are amazing! You did a beautiful job. Did you like doing it? Because I think you should keep on with it if you did - you seem to have a knack for it! :D
PennyB124 days ago

Thank you for taking the time to create this great easy-to-understand instruction page. I've been wanting to start an embrodery project for a while now and now I feel like I can do it! I'm so excited to get started on a pillow cover. I'm heading over to Michael's right now to get my supplies. :o)

neetz2 years ago
i am making a purse and i want to embroid it but it is way too small to use an embroidery loop. can i do it without it?
JaelynRae neetz6 months ago

I know this is old but I thought answering might help someone later one...embroidery hoops come in MANY different sizes. The smallest I have personally are 2 inches in diameter (across the middle of the circle) and the biggest is 14 inches in diameter. I think the sizes are available in 2 inch increments, but I could be wrong and there are likely larger/smaller hoops than what I have. Hope that helps!

tlouisa6 months ago

Hi there! I am really new to this so I have really enjoyed reading your instructions but I am a little confused with this.. So, on the 4th picture (or the 1st one in the row of three) would you then put the needle back left and go through the fabric right next to the first stitch that is there? Then after this would you need to make a double long stitch on the back so it stretches out far enough for you to do the same thing again?

pretty one lolz
This was wonderful. Thank you for being so informative, and your photos were terrific. Thank you.
pjds781 year ago
Thank you for sharing this tutorial. I need to have reminders on stitches occasionally now that I get forgetful. It will be nice to have this handy , you did a beautiful job on showing the different stitches.
destiny19522 years ago
i just wanted to share a quilt that i just finished. the pegasus is hand embroidered with yarn. I wanted to do something with my art besides doing on paper. anyways, thanks for letting me share....
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GlenCoco2 years ago
Thank you, very well done! <3
kjoberk2 years ago
Cannot wait to do this! I'm planning on making my daughters monster lovies for Christmas and need to embroider the happy, happy monster smiles!! I'll be going to get some embroidery thread this week! Thank you so, so much!
Can not get the hang of this! Ahhh It looks as tho it is going to work then when I pull it through it unwraps and comes through as a stitch : (
Any advice?
jessyratfink (author)  frannylaurie3 years ago
It could be that your needle is coming out and going into the fabric very close together. Sometimes, when I try to bring the needle down really close to where I started, it can form a larger hole and I'll just end up pulling the knot right through! I've done it tons of times when I've been in a rush.

If that's not what's happening, I'd make sure to wrap it at least two times, and hold the thread taut until the thread loop forms and starts to goes through the knot. Sometimes it can be tempting to let go too early. I've done that too and had it unravel. :)

This is a good video, too, if you think watching it being done might help:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ul8XT72oA68
Thanks so much, great tutorial!!!
jessyratfink (author)  luckystar19853 years ago
Yay! You're welcome. :)
jessyratfink (author) 5 years ago
I think I'm going to re-do all the pictures soon and add satin stitch. :D
jessyratfink (author)  jessyratfink3 years ago
Pictures dooooooooone!
Vair neat, this is an awesome Instructable :D
jessyratfink (author)  Kryptonite3 years ago
Thank you! I'm very happy with the updates. :)
Love them!
jensenr303 years ago
AWESOME!
bumpus6 years ago
I am still in the dark about this FSM/Flying Spaghetti Monster thing... Otherwise, awesome instructable!
Wow!
charchar23 years ago
Those are wonderful pictures! Very detailed and explanatory. :)
charchar24 years ago
I really want to know how to do the blanket stitch, but I don't understand your instructions. Do you think you could put on a video? If you do, let me know. other than that, this is a great instructable! I'm rating it 4 stars.
There are all sorts of how -to embroider videos on you tube
Thanks a lot! I think I understand it now! :)
This is so wonderful I love embroidery. I also love to do ribbon embroidery. If you know how to embroider with embroidery floss, using the ribbons are a sinch. the stitches just pop! lately i've been felting fleece, making baby slippers and putting a blanket stitch all around. some how I'm going to make an Instructable, because It's an easy and fun little project.
0jack5 years ago
Thank you so much for this awesome refresher. I haven't embroidered anything in about ... well, polyester was cool back then. And, I never could get french knots right. I found Pimp Stitch and am doing the little Lovebugs pattern with some floss I had left over from my cross-stitch phase. I just did 10 french knots in a row, no troubles, thanks to your i'ble. Below is a not-very-good photo of the half-way point taken with my Mac's camera.
Lovebug #1
Awesome, can't wait to try this out =)
lilgirl5 years ago
Thank you for the great pictures! I just started and could not get the hang of the french knot until your directions and pictures! Thanks!!
iBunnyPop5 years ago
it looks so easy but the only thing i cant do is the french knot! Oh well, try try again. Your tutorial help me learn alot! thanx!
cbsvaj145 years ago
Thanks for the instructions. I remember some of these techniques from Home Ecc in high school, and I'm excited to get back into it.
TychaBrahe5 years ago
Regarding separating strands, when I was young it annoyed me that as I separated the strands, the unseparated stuff would tend to twist. I would have to stop periodically to untwist it. I developed the habit of holding one end of the strand in my teeth and separating from the other end. The tension keeps the thread from twisting. Once the strand is fully separated, it will twist everything out when you release your teeth.
This was just what I needed! I added an instructable on how to make a sleep doll and found your tutorial on embroidery, so I linked it. Thanks for this great post!
Thanks for linking! That's a really cute doll - good idea too. :)
BeadSpinner6 years ago
I like that... just one more thing for me to try - not enough hours in a day!
SoapyHollow6 years ago
Fantastic explanation of French Knots. Great pictures, clear clean text. Yay You! Thanks for this. (PS, I vote for the FSM. Hee.)
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