Embroidery is a very meditative hobby. The sewing supplies needed for embroidery such as embroidery thread, needles and special embroidery patterns are fairly cheap (the embroidery hoop can be the most expensive, unless you want to try goldwork) and if you like you can create charmingly naive miniatures with only backstitch or running stitch.
Its popularity has endured since it's one of the best calming hobbies, and is an easy way of making things beautiful, simply through the use of some stitch, some fabric, and your hand. Projects like this with your sewing kit do take time, especially for beginners, but even if you are a beginner, step by step learning stitching techniques and how to correctly thread a needle. And even for beginners, just a little time trying to learn to embroider, with a machine or hoop and floss threads, you can start creating beautiful art and pattern making.
But if you want to progress in the craft, learn new stitches or simply find inspiration for embroidery patterns, here are some of the ways to can take learning how to sew to a whole new level. Looking to find sewing classes near me? Why not consider online sewing classes too.
Learn Hand Embroidery With These Books For Beginner
The Embroidery technique is a visual craft, so make sure any books you buy have lots of illustrations in the tutorial parts. Make sure the colours in the pictures are contrasting in your embroidery design - I have come across at least one book with good explanations and nice projects, but where the stitches were photographed with blue thread on a blue background. Some good books to get your started are:
- Ganderton, Lucinda, Embroidery Stitches Step by Step, Doris Kindesley, 2015, ISBN 024120139X. This is more of an encyclopedia than Karen Hemingway’s Encylcopedia of Stitches. The stitches are presented with little fanfare but very clearly. It includes a number of interesting stitches and an overview according to stitch type so you can find what you are looking for at glance.
- Hemingway, Karen, The Encyclopedia of Stitches, New Holland Publishers, 2005, ISBN 1845372034. Despite its name, this book gives not only a variety of stitches from many different embroidery techniques (including crewel and shadow embroidery), it also offers little projects for you to practice on.
- Johns, Susie, Embroidery for the Absolute Beginner, Search Press Ltd., 2016, ISBN 1782212655 Along with the essential embroidery supplies and a few tips for starting out that you will find in the previous books, this one goes one step further and tells you how to transfer patterns, finish your embroidery projects and care for them.
If you are interested in learning more about specific embroidery techniques such as the herringbone stitch the Royal School of Needlework has several Essential Stitch Guides (for Goldwork, Stumpwork, Canvas Work, Blackwork, Silk Shading, Whitework and Crewelwork) as well as “A-Z of…” titles. Discover how you can improve your sewing skills by following embroidery patterns.
If you feel like you will be able to have an easy time creating a beautiful design or two, you might want to look online for ways to use different techniques with your sewing kit. You will find that there are plenty of amazing fabrics available online too, or old clothes that you can purchase to practice learning and creating your craft on. Beyond this, you can find a course for beginners or more advanced classes too, where you can create together in a community of likeminded embroidery lovers, all together sharing patterns ideas.
You could search for sewing courses here.
Books on learning to embroider often have a few beginner projects to get you started. But once you are finished with those, you might want to try out:
- Cargill, Katrin, Traditional Needle Arts: Cross-Stitch. More than 30 Classic Projects, Mitchell Beazly, 1994, ISBN 1857323327. For those who like the more tradition-style embroidery.
- Pearson, Anna, Traditional Needle Arts: Needlepoint. More than 30 Classic Projects, Mitchell Beazly, 1997, ISBN 185732790X From the same series - traditional-style needlepoint projects such as pillows.
- Ray, Aimée, Doodle Stitching: Fresh and Fun Embroidery for Beginners, Sterling, 2007, ISBN 1600590616. Doodle stitching is a fun, naive stitching style that combines different techniques for cute, often fairly quick projects.
- Ray, Aimée, Doodle Stitching: Embroidery and Beyond, Lark 2013, ISBN 1454703636
- Vogelsinger, Nichole, Boho Embroidery: Modern Projects from Traditional Stitches, Lucky Spool Media, 2017, ISBN 194065520X Fresh, modern-style embroidery projects.
- Smitke, Adrienne, Lunch-Hour Embroidery, 130 Playful Motifs from A-Z, Martingal and Company, 2017, ISBN 160468898X Quick embroidery projects for those who don’t have much time for crafts.
Finally, the Interior design schools website has a great glossary with interior design and architectural terms for those interested in learning more about design. Again, with the help of online resources, such as a simple email reply from a fellow amateur or more professional embroidery expert, you can find step by step methods to create that design with your fabric you've been dreaming of. You can add to your stitching repertoire with free online resources and of course the above mentioned books, and then reach out to other embroidery fans online.
Take sewing courses here.
Embroidery Tutorials Online
If books are too abstract and you need a closer look into the personality of the person teaching you, but don’t have the time or the inclination to take needlework courses, why not check out some embroidery blogs? See the blanket stitch in action, learn how to embellish your designs or the delicate needlework to create the satin stitch.
- The Spruce is a commercial blog but with an amazing amount of different crafts tutorials. Their embroidery blog is chock-full of fun little projects, different traditional and ethnic stitches, and tips and tricks. Definitely worth a look. Creating and learning threads and techniques together here brings together a wide range of embroidery lovers, so the experience here will bring you a new perspective.
- Needle ‘n Thread is a must-follow blog for embroidery enthusiasts. It covers basic stitches and advanced techniques - including things such as how to start and finish your embroidery - different styles of stitching and some of the blogger’s current projects. Seeing what other beginners or those who have a deft hand at stitching are creating can help you love your own craft.
- Nordic Needle has a nice collection of stitches and tutorials, and shows easy through more complicated ways to embroider onto various materials, with a machine or by hand.
- Anna Scott Embroidery is by a woman of mad talent. As she stitches her projects, she gives interesting tips such as how to blend shading when using stem stitch or how to turn a corner. Sometimes better than classes, and free and online, you can simply learn by watching repetition, so this is one of the best places to do so if you learn best in this way.
- Pumora has a series of truly basic tutorials to get started on embroidery, so beginners look no further.
- Sublime Stitching has a series of tutorials for all the basic embroidery stitches to get used to your hoop and floss thread or machine. Don't worry about having a complex design pattern just yet - simply add some easy techniques to your sewing repertoire.
Or Why Not Take a Sewing Class and Learn to Emboider?
Sewing courses in Australia
Embroidery is often done in the evenings, in the comfort of your own home.
But there is no reason embroidery can’t be a social hobby; and what better way to go out and meet like-minded embroidery enthusiasts than to participate in a beginner embroidery course.
You also have the added benefit of getting to use more types of equipment such as an embroidery machine and any other types of equipment you may be missing in your embroidery kit.
Sew This Pattern is wonderful for beginners, and has a range of courses for different budgets and dependent experience with sewing. A complete beginner workshop for those who have never seen a floss thread, hoop, or sewing machine is only $75 and runs on a Saturday for 3 hours.
If you're wanting to make beautiful and durable things, like learning to design and making your own jeans or pyjamas, they have weekend long fabric and stitching workshops. However, due to the higher skill set and teaching time required, this costs closer to $425.
Alternatively try the online resource WeTeachMe, which brings together a range of sewing courses, with hoop and floss thread or machine, across Melbourne and Australia.
They offer sewing and how to embroider classes from a range of art and craft studios, with various projects and time frames for each course.
Sydney Community College for those living in the Harbour City will get your hand, stitches, thread, and machine moving, making beautiful art and craft.
Their range of courses are very diverse, with beginners and needle masters alike well catered for. DYI projects and and household fabric design, as well as Japanese ornate pattern making, general pattern making, and finishing off terminally unfinished projects, all fall within their remit, and courses are only $499 for a 28 hour long course.
For more advanced courses in sewing by hand, hoop, and machine, Couture Arts Fashion Academy is indispensable, especially when learning how to create intricate threads and refine more complex skills like dress making, overlocking, and tailoring.
This can be quite an intense set of classes, using the whole kit and stitches on your sewing projects, but will pay off in the long run if you're wanting to stitch and embroider professionally. Since courses are a little longer, 27.5-38.5 hours, they're a bit more expensive, but worth it long term.
Don't forget to look into your local craft stores and haberdasheries to see if they offer embroidery events in your area. Find sewing courses Melbourne or sewing classes Sydney or sewing classes Brisbane with Superprof.
Make embroidery your profession
In addition to embroidery schools and various textile and needlework centres, you can study embroidery as a university course:
- RMIT University in Melbourne is known for its fashion design courses, where you can spend extensive time learning about the the intricate details of what to add to your projects. If you're serious about using your embroidery and sewing skills, have a look at their available courses.
- TAFE NSW will provide beginner and the design deft hand alike with a vocational experience which will be one of the best ways to become a sewing and fashion professional who can create beautiful art.
- For those wanting to learn about embroidery in depth, through a 120 hour course in an idyllic setting, consider creating patterns and threads into art at ArtyBird Australia, in the lush surroundings of Gippsland.
- If you live in the Sunshine State, TAFE Queensland has a range of world class courses for beginners and fashionistas alike that will take you through a project step by step, using sewing and embroidery to create beautiful clothes.
- There are also courses that are highly academic and artistic, offered by some of the nation's universities, such as ANU in Canberra, which has an embroidery and hand-stitching subject offered as part of its textiles programme through their world renowned School of Art and Design.
Discover how you can learn to embroider with these resources...
Sewing courses online for learning embroidery
But as nice as it is to connect with the embroidering community, you might not live near anyplace that offers courses, or all the available classes clash with your scheduling. In that case, you might want to consider online emboirdery courses. Some will be at fixed times, but most operate on a module basis and let you work your modules at your own pace, turn in the work (by skype or e-mail attachment) and move on to the next.
- Class Bento has been widely noted for their fantastic online sewing and embroidery courses for all levels, boasting such diverse courses as personal lingerie design, tea towel/table cloth/sheet embellishment, and intricate cushion embroidery.
- The Embroiderer’s Guild has different modular online embroidery courses for you to choose from. If you choose to join the Guild, you can get a discount.
- Thread Therapy by Martha Lundt offers some free online courses if you sign up for her newsletter.
- Thistle Threads has courses in historical embroidery stitches.
- Open Learning offers some embroidery courses, including one on ribbon embroidery .
Learn With A Private Embroidery Tutor
But what is often missing in online embroidery courses in the one-on-one with the instructor, the ability to have someone look at your embroidered dress hem, pincushion or clutch bag and immediately recognise where you have gone wrong. So why not try and find a private tutor instead?
If you live near one of the institutes of higher learning that offer sewing courses, try putting up an ad on their corkboard indicating that you are looking for an embroidery teacher.
Students are often eager to pass on their knowledge, and since they are still learning themselves, they are very much aware of how to present and demonstrate the various embroidery techniques and stitches.
This kind of education can serve in a similar way to practicing your technique in a community setting too, yet with more one on one and direct guidance.
You'll be able to share the pleasure of stitch-work with expert instruction without feeling like you're in a classroom, and you can share tips depending on the level you're at when you start.
You might even end up collaborating together in the future on projects or teaching others.
You can also talk to people in your brick-and-mortar arts and crafts store to see if anyone embroiders and is willing to teach you; look at their flyers to see if someone is advertising embroidery courses near you.
Or why not try a skills exchange?
Maybe your Facebook embroidery group or your circle of friends includes someone who would be willing to teach you embroidery if you teach them German - or Arabic or French or cooking or singing
Learn all of our tips and tricks for learning embroidery
And of course here on Superprof you can find a private tutor who will give sewing courses online and off for a variety of sewing techniques, from hand to machine embroidery. You don’t need to pay to contact a professor, though there will be a small fee if you decide to take him or her.
After that, any money you pay goes directly to the teacher you choose. With modern technology, you can choose to look for an embroidery teacher near you or take online classes over Skype.
There are many ways to enter the wonderful world of coloured thread and meditative stitching, so pick a method and join in making beautiful crewelwork, cross-stitch or blackwork embroidery.
Find out what you need to completely outfit your embroidery kit