Simple Ways to Get Creative with Embroidery

Crafting is one of my favourite ways to spend time, and for anyone who is nervously considering trying a new hobby, I’m here to tell you that crafting doesn’t need to be time consuming and your results don’t need to be perfect. The joy is all in the process! I’ve spent a lot of 2020 learning new crafty skills, and embroidery is the latest hobby I’ve tried my hand at, thanks to a PR parcel which inspired the projects in this post. Embroidery is relaxing, stretches your creative muscles and is such a wholesome way of having fun!

Simple embroidery tips for beginners

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If you are considering trying embroidery, here are some great ideas for simple projects to get started:

1. Embellish Something

Beginner embroidery project
DIY embroidered face masks

The most ordinary or boring item can easily be embellished with some simple hand embroidery. In fact, I think reusable face masks are the perfect mini project – it’s so quick to add a little bit of personality to 2020’s most boring accessory! Step one is to practice a range of stitches on some scrap fabric. Pinterest is the perfect resource for learning the basics of a few simple stitches, and can even be a source of design ideas. Then I used some of these stitches to embellish two plain cotton masks. The designs were only small and I purposely chose to keep them simple on my first project, but embroidered things that might show a bit of who I am even when my face is covered. Firstly I stitched a very simple busy bee design (the bee is the symbol of Manchester) using satin stitch, running stitch and stem stitch. Then I used my second mask to show my love of Disney with some simple bright Mickey heads in satin stitch. These designs didn’t take long at all, but added a bit of personality to plain reusable masks, whilst teaching me some embroidery basics.

Embroidered bee face mask
Embroidered Disney face mask

2. Customise Your Wardrobe

Take embellishment to the next level with machine embroidery. You can use premade embroidery designs and graphics to customize tees and sweatshirts, and even things like face masks, cushions, makeup bags etc. Of course this requires an embroidery machine, but the level of detail you can add to your designs this way is great! I love basic tees with cute embroidered motifs and monograms, and they seem to be all the rage right now. What could be better than to create them for yourself, exactly as you want them?! I have also seen some great festive designs which gave me some ideas for Christmas projects such as a fun Santa sack or personalised stockings.

3. Embroidery Hoop Kits

Needlework art displayed in hoops is such a home décor trend at the moment, and it can be achieved by investing in an embroidery kit, like those in my recent post about contemporary craft kits. The benefits of a kit are that you’ll have all the materials you need in one box, and you won’t have to think up a design. You can simply find a design you love and develop your hand embroidery skills whilst creating a beautiful embroidery hoop.

4. Create Bespoke Artwork

As much as I love the efficiency of embroidery kits, it’s really nice to create something truly unique and personal. In my crafty package I was gifted some embroidery hoop supplies by Stitch With Skye, and I used these to create my own embroidery hoop art. I found that as I was researching design ideas on Pinterest I was drawn to text quotes and sprawling floral borders. As I was too nervous to draw something out freehand, I searched on Design Bundles for line drawings of florals and botanicals and downloaded some free fonts for my quote. With these I was able to design a black and white outline of what I wanted to create using Photoshop (Canva could also be used for this if you don’t have Photoshop) and then I simply traced the design from my tablet (which acted as a sort of light box) onto my pale coloured fabric. Then it was simply a case of using my repertoire of stitches to go over the outline in coloured threads – in fact, I only used 4 different stitch types for this hoop! It was such a simple way of creating a unique design and I’m pretty happy with my finished piece.

Design Bundles Line Art
Embroidery hoop sketching
Embroidery quote hoop

Embroidery Tips for Beginners

When trying something new it’s easy to get disheartened if things don’t turn out as expected or if you run into difficulty. But crafting should be enjoyable not stressful, so here’s my advice for starting out in embroidery:

Embroidery practice
  • Practice a few different stitches on scrap fabric before you start. It’s a good idea to iron out the most basic issues early on!
  • Choose a simple first project. I recommend a simple embellishment on something basic like a face mask or makeup bag. It’s quick to finish so feels rewarding very quickly, and if it goes wrong it’s no big deal.
  • Plan out your piece. I drew out a faint outline of my designs using pencil (white pencil on the black mask) and I even traced out my hoop design from a design I made on Photoshop. Drawing it out first means you are following a design you are already happy with and only have to worry about the stitches.
  • If it doesn’t turn out perfectly, learn from the experience rather than being disheartened. Remember, nobody has to see your work if you don’t like it! Crafting is fun, so try and enjoy yourself even if it doesn’t go to plan.
  • Get lots of inspiration from Pinterest and crafty sites, but add your own twist to make something personal. The best bit about crafting is making something unique!
DIY embroidered cotton face masks
Embroidered quote

I hope reading this has inspired you to maybe give embroidery a go!

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