When you see a dimensional, almost lifelike embroidery project that pops off the hoop, you're looking at a specific — and pretty darn gorgeous — technique. Known as stumpwork, this form of embroidery rises off the fabric surface by building on stitches or creating three-dimensional components.
It's time to take your embroidery to a whole new dimension — literally. Stumpwork embroidery (also called raised embroidery) is any dimensional embroidery piece. It originated in mid-1600s England, and is most commonly used in nature scenes — for example, the leaves and petals on a flower, or the wings of pretty dragonflies.
Floss often gets the spotlight in hand embroidery, but the fabric that floss is stitched on is just as critical to the finished look of your project. The right background fabric (or “ground”) will support and showcase your gorgeous stitching. But if you use the wrong kind, you can stretch, pucker and even distort your design, ruining all that hard work.
While there are a slew of beginner embroidery projects you could tackle right this second, what about when you want to expand your horizons? These techniques go way beyond basic stitches and materials for a whole range of gorgeous textural effects. Your projects are about to hit a new high.
Do you hear that? It's the beach, mountains and, oh, everywhere in between calling. That's right — it's vacation season! And any great trip calls for some packable, practical, and oh-so-stylish embroidered accessories. Whether you prefer to stitch by hand or make it by machine, these plane-worthy projects are ready for takeoff.
Crewel embroidery: It sounds like a Gothic horror movie. But it's actually the name of a beautiful, ever-popular type of surface embroidery that's been around for centuries. Know what it is and ready to dive into crewel embroidery? Check out our class!
So you've outlined your embroidery pattern, maybe with a stem or split stitch. Pause for a second to admire your work. But just for a second, because here's your next task: filling in your design. There are a number of different fill stitches you can use, but these are the five every embroiderer will use time and time again.
Raise your hand if you wear T-shirts every single day, or wish you could. We hear you. T-shirts are so comfy, many of us just want to live in them. But let's face it: Plain old T-shirts can get a little boring. They need attitude and style. They need embroidery.
A beautiful embroidered or quilted piece is a work of art — and that's a proven fact (just ask Sotheby's). But before you can get started on your own masterpiece you need to choose your thread. Here are a few pointers.
Fact: the internet is chock full of embroidery patterns and designs that are just waiting for your needle and thread. But, uh, how exactly do you get them onto your fabric? With one of these simple methods, of course.
Embroidery just keeps getting cooler and cooler. First there was 3D embroidery serving up major Insta-envy, and now we're heart eyes for the latest trend: sheer embroidery. Not familiar? Let us show you all the ways you can use see-through fabrics — think tulle, organza and silk — to create stunning designs that look like they're floating on glass.
Embroidery is a nearly perfect hobby: It's relaxing, it's creative and there aren't too many rules. But some guidelines can help take your needlework to the next level. And one of the most basic is to avoid knotting your thread.
Everywhere we look, hoops are going green — literally! The #PlantLady trend has made it into the embroidery world, and we couldn’t be more excited about it. (Especially those of us who aren’t the best at remembering to water the real deal.)
If you've been loving the embroidery trend, now's the time to show off those stitches for the holidays! These ornaments from Jessica Long of Namaste Embroidery (and our Modern Hand Embroidery class!) use beginner-friendly stitches to create adorable sparkly samplers that look great on your tree or wreath.
The seventies are back and way better than ever with rainbow pocket jeans. We love these for kids, but if you want to make a pair for yourself, go for it. No judgment here: get to it and find your pot of gold!
You could embroider "home sweet home" on a hoop, but we'll leave that to our grandmas. On the other hand, stitching this whole neighborhood of adorable little dwellings is a project we'll gladly take on ourselves.
If you've got two tees and a pair of scissors, you're less than an hour away from this adorable shirt. This hand-stitched cutie is great for kids (especially 'cause they can totally help make it). But you might just want one for yourself, too.
Embroidery... it looks so cool, yet can seem so mystifying when it's time to gather your supplies. I, too, once stood at the fabric store wondering which needles and thread were appropriate for, um, everything. But don't fear! The basics you need are actually pretty straightforward.
A traditional Japanese needlework technique, sashiko was originally used for repairs and reinforcements. But today it's getting lots of love for its decorative purposes. The patterns are always graphic and repetitive, and they use only a basic running stitch (yes, beginners, you should try this!).
Hand embroidery brings a personal touch to just about any project, whether you're adding a quick quilt label or stitching your favorite quote to hang on the wall. One of the best ways to make a big impact: choosing a font for all your pretty letters. You can play around in a word document to check out different varieties; once you've found one you like, transfer it to your fabric and start playing with these four stitches (we used full six-strand embroidery floss) to find a style you totally love.
I first tackled embroidery in middle school — I mean, who DIDN’T want an embellished denim shirt in the mid-70s? Unfortunately, I was teaching myself, using random supplies I found in my mom’s sewing stash. That little brown puppy design definitely didn't turn out as cute as I’d envisioned. Luckily, nothing could kill my budding textile obsession.
Embroidery hoops can be the key to joyful stitching — or make you totally miserable. So it's definitely worth the time to choose the right hoop for your project. There's no real substitute for old-fashioned trial-and-error, but having a little info up front can help.
Take a look at your closet: What have you already embroidered? It's likely that a T-shirt, jacket, and maybe even monogrammed pajamas are in there — and that's great. But here's an off-the-T-shirt way to showcase your stitching in style.
Instagram is the place for embroiderers to show off their creations, and we can't get enough. From stunning hoop art crafted in the satin stitch to oh-so-fancy beading, you'll find loads of inspiration for your own embroidery (or at the very least, a daily dose of eye candy) when you follow these artists.
As with most crafts, getting started on hand embroidery can seem daunting when you consider the huge array of available hoops, frames, needles, thread cutters ... whew, you get the picture. But don't be fooled! The list of actual hand embroidery essentials is refreshingly short. We recommend these tools to get started.
The French knot is one of those hand embroidery stitches that's either your best friend or your worst enemy. They're tricky, but (sigh) they're also really useful. Cluster them together for a dense, textured filling. Scatter them loosely for an airy lightness to your embroidery. Or make isolated stitches if your design needs a little punctuation. So don't let a bad experience shake you — we can help you nail this.
It's the reigning cool kid for crafters in the know — from satin-stitched hoops to fancy-pants jeans, hand embroidery is everywhere. We talked to artist and Instagram embroidery star Jessica Long of Namaste Hand Embroidery about how this humble craft has stitched its way into the limelight and captured all our hearts and hands.
Some people get excited about organizing their office supplies, their paint stash, or simply tidying their sock drawer. For those of us who groove on spools, let's talk about how to organize them and some clever ways to keep your stash stashed.
Do you ever feel like you can't possibly hang another frame in your house? The next time you want to display a special photo, think outside the box and inside the hoop! Transfer the image to fabric, hoop it up and add three-dimensional details with a little embroidery floss.
Hand embroidery is all about those stitches. But those stitches are all about that floss. Not sure what to use for your next project? Let's take a look at your choices. Really, it comes down to the big three: cotton, silk, and wool. Sure, there are other specialty fibers you can use, but these three will be your heavy hitters (and the easiest to find).
At a moment when embroidery is most definitely having a moment, Sarah K. Benning is at the top of her game. Her dense, incredibly detailed pieces, which layer threads the way a painter might layer oils, have made her one of today’s most popular and successful contemporary embroidery artists. We caught up with Sarah for a peek inside her extraordinary world of teeny, tiny stitches.
Every style blogger worth her selfie is posting summer snaps with a glass of rosé in one hand and straw beach bag in the other. And with good reason: the bags are roomy, durable, and pretty darn cute. (Plus, sand just shakes right out of them.) What's not so cute: how crazy-expensive they can be, sometimes upwards of $150, especially when they have embroidery or other embellishments. Say goodbye to your #summervibes budget.
Embroidery is everywhere, and its latest cool twist is breaking free of the hoop! We’re in love with the 3D stitchery that extends beyond the traditional flat circle with flowing threads or bumpy flourishes. Get in on the trend with these come-to-life ideas.
We’re sending a big thank-you to embellished jeans and cheeky throw pillows for making embroidery the latest crafty comeback. (Seriously, just look at the magic that's happening over on Insta.) Want in? These 10 stitches will get you started, and are a great foundation for taking your hoop to the next level.
Watercolor painting and embroidery. Both great art forms. But have you considered a mash-up? (Bear with us here!) Hey, it works for the most unlikely musician pairings, and it will work here. In fact, adding thread to a watercolor work will definitely add a robust new dimension to your work — a unique sculptural effect that will draw admirers.
I just love quick and easy projects that can be completed entirely in the embroidery hoop. There are so many ITH projects on the market today, some seem more complicated in the hoop and I think I can sew it faster than I can embroider it.