When people think of embroidery, they tend to think of it as either a technique of the past, machine embroidery, or as something women are portrayed as doing in period movies or Jane Austen novels. Hand embroidery is a timeless form of art that appears to be more difficult than it is. While it may seem complicated and time-consuming, only one of those is true. Once you master a few basic stitches, embroidery is quite easy for any art lover to learn!
Embroidery can be a fun hobby or a way to discover art forms you might not have previously considered. It can equally help decorate your home interior too!
Basic stitches that every embroiderer should know are: the running stitch, french knots, backstitch, stem stitch, satin stitch, and split stitch. The running stitch is the most basic of stitches and is the basis for all sewing. While the backstitch has no discernible gaps, the running stitch looks like a dotted line made up of equally sized-stitches. French knots are made by wrapping the thread around the needle before pushing through the fabric; this stitch is great for floral designs or to mimic the effect of pointillism in thread form. The easiest of these six stitches is the backstitch which is useful for outlining your work or giving the appearance of a single line while actually being many small stitches; this stitch is also very helpful for works with lots of sharp edges and aids in making your art look more cohesive. The satin stitch can be used to fill in small or large shapes in your artwork by bringing your thread up through the fabric and back down. For this stitch, you want to begin in the middle of the shape being filled and then move outward.
While it might seem challenging to take up this artistic medium, it’s a lot more straightforward than it seems and there are plenty of online tutorials and guides to help you get started!
A great online resource to find hundreds of free embroidery designs (as well as crochet, knitting, and cross-stitch!) is the official DMC website. DMC makes some of the best threads for sewing projects because of how unlikely colour will bleed when washing your designs, as well as being reasonably priced. Every season, DMC will update their free pattern catalogue with seasonal and holiday-themed designs you can print from home. Designs range from floral to animal to buildings, and everything in between.
You can check out these three easy designs for beginners today!
The ‘Mountain Hands’ pattern is a great introduction to the use of the backstitch while being a simple and aesthetic design that looks great in your home interior.
The ‘Cursive Font’ pattern uses the backstitch to teach you how to practice lettering in embroidery and once you feel comfortable you can recreate your favourite quotes!
The ‘Red Floral Duo’ design will introduce you to the french knot and satin stitch and is a fun way to experiment with solid shapes instead of letters or basic outlines.
800+ free embroidery patterns from DMC