Over the years I’ve done lots of embroidery work! I thought I would put together this beginner embroidery guide so that you could enjoy creating your own things, too!

Embroidery is such a simple beautiful craft! It doesn’t take much to get started, you don’t need to dedicate a whole room in your house to housing the tools you need for it, and you can take it anywhere you go!

I love seeing people creating things our in public! In another life, I was a medical assistant for an OB/Gyn and there was a patient who would knit while she waited for her appointments. I loved that she wasn’t just sitting there on her phone and I’m sure her child was blessed with many many cute hand-knit items that will become keepsakes one day!

What Do You Need

The tools you’ll need for embroidery are very simple! All you’ll need are:

  • small scissors
  • needle
  • embroidery thread
  • plain fabric
  • embroidery hoop
  • pattern (or your own wild imagination!)
  • quick fade marker or pencil


The thread you use will depend on the project you’re creating. There are lots of different types and they come in all colours of the rainbow! Typically the pattern you’re following will tell you what colours to use.

Each colour has a number on the tag that tells you the colour number and dye lot. The tag also tells you how much thread is in the skein and the thickness.

The Needle

When doing hand embroidery you’ll want to use a blunt-tipped tapestry needle. This is because it has a good working length that won’t be too long or short, it has a nice big eye for threading the embroidery thread through, and it has a blunt tip which should prevent lots of finger pokes!

Tapestry needles are usually sold in packs of 5 or more, so you’ll have lots of spares just in case!

The Hoop

The pattern you’re using will tell you what sized hoop to use but most projects will use and 8″ hoop. I’ve used very small 4″ hoops and very large 18″ hoops before, it just depends on the effect you’re after.

Hoops can come in a variety of materials. I like to use plastic hoops for projects that won’t stay on the hoop once they’re completed, like if I were to embroider part of a dress for my daughter. If I’m going to leave the project in the hoop once its finished to display somewhere then I like to use a wooden hoop. Sometimes I’ve even painted a hoop ahead of time!


Refer to your pattern to see if there are specific recommendations about which fabric you should use first. But if there aren’t any guidelines then you’ll want to look for a plain white fabric of medium density.

You can also get creative and use fabrics that have some colour! I’ve been dreaming of embroidering wild songbirds onto upcycled denim for a while now because the effect would be so beautiful! But it just hasn’t been the right time to dive into this one just yet!

Make sure you pre-wash and iron your fabric first so that there won’t be any lines or wrinkles in your finished project.


For projects that will be left on the hoop as display pieces you’ll want to finish the back with some crafting felt to give it a smooth finished appearance.

You can find felt at any major craft store chain in a wide array of colours to match your project’s fabric.

Marking Tool

I like to use a quick fade marker to mark out my pattern onto the fabric. I like that I can mark out my pattern without having to worry about lines showing after the piece is finished.

I have also used a plain old pencil, too! The benefit here is that the lines don’t fade and you can work on a piece slowly without having to re-draw your pattern lines over again.

Embroidery can be an intimidating craft to learn! I hope this beginner embroidery guide has helped you learn how easy it can be to get started! Stay tuned for a basic stitch guide!

Do you like to embroider? Who taught you how?