I get a lot of questions about the equipment I use. So I thought I’d answer some for you!
When people ask me what the one crucial thing is for beginners, I will always say HOOP! When I started embroidery, I didn’t know about embroidery hoops. I struggled on just holding the fabric and trying to keep the material as taught as possible, the results obviously weren’t that great.
I only came across hoops as a result of an Amazon purchase, it was recommended so I decided to try them out. They are absolutely essential for any embroiderer, beginner or otherwise. Hoops such as these are dirt cheap but come in 4 sizes, perfect for beginners making smaller designs all the way to large pieces on clothing.
WHAT TYPE OF THREAD?
You can find embroidery thread for as cheap as £2 or less for 50 skeins (skeins are just strands of many threads) such as these. Threads like this are great for beginners that don’t want to splash too much cash to start off with, however, these sort of threads aren’t quality stranded cotton and as a result tend to knot extremely easy. When using embroidery skeins you need to separate them into smaller strands, but if you are using cheap skeins this can be quite difficult as the individual threads will wrap onto each other and cause major knots – this will pretty much ruin the whole skein.
If you want to start a serious project or if you just want to get the best results, I would highly recommend using DMC stranded cotton or Anchor threads as these skeins almost never knot which leads to an all round smoother experience.
One of the key parts of starting your project is marking the design onto your fabric. If I’m embroidering a simple design (such as a bunch of daisies) I use a heat erasable pen like this , all you need to do to get rid of the marks is run an iron over the design or even use a hair dryer. The only downside with these pens is that they don’t work very well on darker coloured fabric, for fabric like this chalk can help mark out rough designs but I wouldn’t recommend drawing massive designs with
chalk as it marks the fabric and will only disappear if you wash the material.
If you are wanting to embroider a more detailed design, using a water soluble stabiliser is a god send. You can draw or even print any designs you want onto the stabiliser, pin it to the material and just embroider over the lines. To get rid of the stabiliser, just run it under water and gently rub it until all the sticky stuff has washed away.
To be honest, as long as you have a thin needle you’ll be fine! The smaller the needle, the more detail you’ll be able to make. I wouldn’t recommend using a very thick needle as this will make wide holes in the fabric which will causes the thread to be pulled through and everything will just disintegrate.
For smaller pieces (like the badger) I use small squares of linen in different colours like these. For larger designs, I use 100% heavy cotton. I also embroider on tshirts and for this I use cotton tshirts from Fruit of the Loom like these. The only thing I’d say about embroidering tshirts is that you want to steer clear of form fitting or stretchy tshirts as these will warp when put into a hoop and will consequently pucker when stitched on.
Thanks for reading and good-luck with all your embroidery endeavours! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to drop me a message here!