Hand Embroidery Tools and Accessories

From pillow cases and bookmarks to decorative wall pieces, embroidery is a versatile handicraft. With a handful of basic embroidery tools and a simple pattern, you can embroider a rich and colorful world. Different tools and accessories can help you learn a variety of different techniques, allowing you to improve your embroidery skills while creating fun and unique art.

What are the tools and equipment used in hand embroidery?

Before you get started with your hand embroidery session, you'll need to gather the necessary materials. Embroidery involves close handiwork, so make sure you embroider in a room that is properly lit. If you have trouble seeing your stitches or distinguishing colors, consider working with a magnifier. The following is a list of basic materials used for hand embroidery:

  • Hoops: Embroidery hoops come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and materials, including wood, plastic, and metal. Your hoop should be easy to grip and comfortable to use for close, detailed stitch work. The quality of your hoop and your ability to work with it comfortably can affect the quality of your project.
  • Scissors: Embroidery scissors have long, narrow blades and a pointy tip. They are good for working in close, tight areas and are designed to cut embroidery thread cleanly.
  • Embroidery floss: Embroidery floss is the loosely twisted six-strand thread frequently used for hand embroidery. Cotton floss is typically used for certain embroidery stitches, including the cross-stitch. Although cotton floss is the thread of choice for many embroidery buffs, silk, linen, and rayon thread are also common. Different thread types add visual and tactile quality.
  • Needles: There are several types of needle used for embroidery. Your choice of needle will depend on your particular embroidery project. What is typically called an embroidery needle or crewel needle has a large eye and a particularly pointy tip. Its shaft is slightly narrower than the eye.
  • Water-soluble pen: The purpose of this marker or pen is to transfer embroidery patterns onto your fabric. Because the ink is water-soluble, it can be washed off when your project is complete.
What type of fabric should you use to embroider?

Natural fabrics with a tight weave provide a stable surface for stitching. Material with a tight weave has both horizontal and vertical fibers, which makes it easy to send a needle through smoothly. Natural fabrics that are particularly easy to work with include 100% quilting cotton, linen, silk, and wool.

What basic embroidery stitches are there?

There are a number of stitches that are fundamental to basic embroidery. Basic stitches include the running stitch, back stitch, split stitch, stem stitch, chain stitch, and satin stitch. Some stitches, such as the French knot and lazy daisy, are typically used to add an attractive, decorative touch to embroidered pieces. Patterns often include a combination of stitches, which adds visual interest to completed pieces.