How to embroider: 5 easy steps to get your needlework spot on

Learn the basics of how to embroider and while away the hours at home creating flowers, letters and cute patterns

embroidery hoop art kit
(Image credit: Hoffelt & Cooper Co)

Want to learn how to embroider? Over the last few weeks you're likely to have learnt how to knit, how to make bread, how to garden, how to do a burpee and possibly even how to homeschool your kid(s), so you might as well add how to embroider onto the list of lockdown lessons.

Embroidery is actually a really simple sewing skill and really relaxing to do of an evening sat in front of the TV. You can actually create some very cute patterns – embroider letters, flowers, you name it – that you can frame and hang around your house (yes embroidery is cool again).

You can order all the bits separately, but we would recommend ordering a kit that comes with everything you need plus a nice pattern to follow. We have linked some of our fave below plus some easy to follow steps to get your started.

For more craft ideas to get you through lockdown head over to our hub page. 

What do you need to embroider?

To embroider successfully, you will need the following:

Step one: put your fabric on an embroidery hoop 

Embroidery hoops come in lots of different sizes, so pick the best one to suit your project. We would recommend if you are a beginner to start small.

To start, cut a square of fabric that is larger than you hoop. Loosen the screw ot the top of the hoop so inner section of the hoop comes away. Lay your fabric over the inner hoop (the smaller one) then push the larger outer hoop down on top of your fabric. 

Step two: thread your needle 

Just be patient with this, do what you need to do, wet it if you find that way easiest. Just get that thread through the needle hole. Don't double thread it, just pull through a few inches and then tie a knot at the end of the longest section. 

Step three: learn how to do a running stitch 

This is the simplest stitch, you just pull your thread up and down through your fabric. You can make your stitches as close or as far apart as you like it just depends on where you pull the needle back up through your fabric. 

Step four: learn how to do a back stitch 

This is the best stitch for creating clear, solid lines with your thread. Start by poking the needle up through the fabric and then down again to create a single stitch. Then poke the needle back up through the fabric away from that first stitch just as if you were doing a running stitch. Then poke your needle down through the fabric at exactly the same point your first stitch ends, to create a new stitch the continues on from your first. Then just keep repeating. 

Step five: learn how to do a spilt stitch 

This stitch is a bit more decorative and therefore slightly more fiddly. Start by making a very small stitch. The bring your needle back up through the middle of that stitch and then take it back through the fabric in the direction you are going, again keeping the stitch small. Then just keep repeating. 

Read more:

Hebe Hatton

Hebe joined the Real Homes team in early 2018 as Staff Writer before moving to the Livingetc team in 2021 where she took on a role as Digital Editor. She loves boho and 70's style and is a big fan of Instagram as a source of interiors inspiration. When she isn't writing about interiors, she is renovating her own spaces – be it wallpapering a hallway, painting kitchen cupboards or converting a van.