Hand Embroidered Denim Shirt My Actual BrandLazy Daisy Easy Embroidery My Actual BrandEmbroidery Closeup Beginner Stitches My Actual Brand

I recently fell in love with hand embroidery. It started over Thanksgiving break with a little hoop and a hand drawn mandala (inspired by a class my friend took at a local gallery + DIY shop called Make Room). One night when I was over at her house I saw her working on this beautiful stitched design and it just looked so fun and soothing- I knew I had some floss, needles, and a hoop or two laying around so I decided to start experimenting.

I stitched away at my own mandala design while waiting for flights, sitting on the plane, and relaxing in New Mexico with family over the holiday. I love how mobile this craft is – you can throw your floss, needles, small scissors, and hoop in a ziploc bag/in your purse and bring it anywhere. There’s something so relaxing about focusing on small little stitches and seeing your design come to life!

I was recently given a plain denim shirt and decided it would be the perfect piece to spruce up with some hand embroidery. I hopped on Pinterest for some inspiration and decided to freehand a floral design on the shoulder of the shirt. It was the perfect project to work on while watching Netflix – I even brought it on a weekend trip to a yurt we rented with some friends!

Simple Embroidery Tutorial My Actual Brand

In order to help inspire you to start experimenting with embroidery I put together a quick little tutorial of some basic stitches. It is amazing what you can accomplish with just a few stitches at your disposal. I’m by no means an expert so I definitely suggest checking out your local library for more in-depth information on embroidery but hopefully this is enough to get you started!

You’ll Need:

  • Embroidery Floss
  • Embroidery Hoop (smaller sizes work great for beginners)
  • Embroidery Needles (bigger eyes make these needles easier to thread with thick floss)
  • Scissors
  • Something to embroider! (start with fabric scraps or jump right into a shirt!)

I usually score most of my craft supplies at thrift stores – hoops are pretty easy to come by secondhand but floss and needles can be harder to find. Keep your eyes peeled while you’re out thrifting and you’ll be shocked at the deals you can score!

Embroidery Tutorial Easy My Actual BrandEmbroidery Hoop Beginner Tutorial My Actual Brand

Back Stitch

The back stitch is the most simple embroidery technique. It’s great for creating bold lines.

Start by threading your needle and tying a double knot at the end of the embroidery floss.

From the back of your fabric, push your needle through to the front and pull until the knot meets the back of your fabric (A), then choose a spot 1/4″ to the left of your thread (B) and pierce down through the fabric (don’t pull through yet!). Carry your needle 1/4″ under the fabric (on the back) and pierce back through the fabric (C).Β  Now you can pull your thread all the way through.

Back Stitch Step 1 Basic Embroidery Stitches My Actual Brand

You’ve just created one straight (cute) little line! Now poke your needle in right next to the left end of the little dash you just created (A). Carry your needle behind the fabric and pierce it back out 1/4″ from where your thread is coming out (B). Pull through + repeat for a running back stitch!

Back Stitch Step 2 My Actual Brand Simple Embroidery copy

Back Stitch Finished My Actual Brand Simple Embroidery For Beginners

Stem Stitch

I used the stem stitch for the vines/stems of the flowers on my embroidered shirt. I love how this stitch looks like a little twisted rope.

Start by threading your needle and tying a double knot at the end of the embroidery floss.

From the back of your fabric, push your needle through to the front and pull until the knot meets the back of your fabric (A).

Choose a spot to the right (B) and pierce down into the fabric. From the back, pierce your needle up through the fabric at the halfway mark (C) of the stitch you just created and pull your thread through.

 

Stemp Stitch Step 1 Beginners Embroidery My Actual Brand copy

Select a spot to the right of the dash you made (A) and pierce through the front of the fabric. Repeat the previous step by piercing through the back of the fabric at the center of the dash you made.

Stemp Stitch Step 2 Easy Embroidery Stitches copy

Repeat this method over and over, creating little dashes that begin in the center of the previous dash over and over again for a rope like stitch.Stem Stitch Final Beginner Embroidery Tutorial

Satin Stitch

The satin stitch is the easiest way to fill in big spaces of embroidery. I used this stitch for the flower petals and leaves on my hand embroidered shirt.

Start by threading your needle and tying a double knot at the end of the embroidery floss.

From the back of your fabric, push your needle through to the front and pull until the knot meets the back of your fabric (A).

Because this is usually a stitch used to fill in spaces, most of the time you will be following a shape – you can satin stitch as big or as small of an area as you’d like. I chose a spot about 1/2″ from point A and pierced down into the fabric (B) then carried the needle behind the fabric and poked it back out at point C.

Satin Stitch Step 1 Easy Embroidery Tutorial copy

Next, move just about the dash/line you just made and pierce your needle down into the fabric (A), carry the needle behind and back out through the fabric again (B). You will continue in this way until the space you are working on is filled in… think of the satin stitch as a bunch of lines/dashes stacked tightly together to fill a space.

Satin Stitch Step 2 My Actual Brand DIY tutorial copy

Satin Stitch Step 3 Embroidery For Beginners

Split Stitch

The split stitch is a favorite of mine. I like breaking through the little dashes and the finished stitch sort of looks like a little braid. I outlined my roses in the split stitch.

Start by threading your needle and tying a double knot at the end of the embroidery floss.

From the back of your fabric, push your needle through to the front and pull until the knot meets the back of your fabric (A).

Poke your needle through the fabric from the front at point B and pull through to make a little dash.

Split Stitch Step 1 Beginner Embroidery copy

You’re now going to split this stitch by piercing the needle (from the back) right through the center of the stitch (A) and pulling the thread through.

Split Stitch Step 2 How to do Split Stitch Embroidery copy

Now pierce back down into the material and repeat over and over again for an adorable little split stitch!

Split Stitch Step 3 Embroidery Basics My Actual BrandSplit Stitch Final My Actual Brand DIY tutorials

French Knot

This is a tricky little stitch but it is so much fun. I did my best w/ pictures + descriptions but this might be a stitch best left for video (you really need both hands to show how it works!) and practice! I used the french knot in the center of my little daisies.

Start by threading your needle and tying a double knot at the end of the embroidery floss.

From the back of your fabric, push your needle through to the front and pull until the knot meets the back of your fabric (A).

For the french knot you want to keep your thread in front of your needle. You are going to be wrapping the thread around the needle a few times and you want the thread to be in front πŸ™‚

French Knot Step 1 Embroidery Tutorial copy

Now take your thread and wrap it around the needle, near the tip of the needle (not the side that is threaded). I usually wrap two or three times. You want to keep a decent amount of tension,Β  holding your needle with one hand and wrapping the thread with the other.

French Knot Step 2 My Actual Brand copy

French Knot Step 3 Easy Embroidery

After you have your needle wrapped, choose a spot near where you first pierced through the fabric and poke your needle back down right next to that (A).

French Knot Step 4 My ACtual Brand copy.jpg

Slowly pull your needle through. I will usually keep a light hold on the little bundle of thread that I created by wrapping as I pull so that it doesn’t unravel. The next few photos show what it looks like as you pull your thread through.

French Knot Step 5 Embroidery TutorialFrench Knot Step Six Embroidery How ToFrench Knot Final Embroidery Tutorial Easy Beginners

You did it! I definitely suggest lots of practice with these stitches. There are a million videos, books, and blogs dedicated to embroidery but I had fun putting together this little tutorial for you!

My biggest advice would be to avoid perfection! Part of what makes hand embroidery so beautiful is that it is often imperfect. Have fun with it and enjoy the process.

Embroidery Books My Actual Brand

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