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What Is Embroidery? A Hobby I Pick Up In 2020

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Hello there, have you ever wondered how people add those pretty cute stitches on their T-shirts, canvas bags and shoes?

You would probably think that they’ve had a huge machine stored at home to help them do the job – embroider some cool miniature on their favorite pieces of stuff.

Here’s the secret revealing to you, embroidering on fabric doesn’t require anything big.

And you can do it too – with bare hands and get prep up with the ideas 🙂

Disclaimer: Note that this post may include affiliate links, which means when you purchase something from the link provided, I may receive a commission, at no additional cost to you.


In this guide, I’m going to cover what you’ll need to know about embroidery to make it easy for you to start up with your first project. So let’s begin with what you’re still unsure with:

What Is Embroidery?

What are the main material and supplies I’ll need to start embroidery?

Embroidery has how many types of stitches?

Do I need to learn basic embroidery techniques before I start my own project?

Is it exhausting to do hand embroidery? (Time Management)

Embroidery is a crafting skill using hand-sewing techniques to decorate fabric with needles and threads.

In general, we can refer to the art of embroidery as a technique used for textiles decoration tracing back to ancient times. However, it is also widely applied in today’s fashion industry collaborations by using machine embroidery to create clothing with attractive patterns.

These wearable arts have also become popular when it’s created by designers who take embroidery to the next level – a form of living artwork.

**Click to see how I embroider tiny dinosaurs in 4 days!**

Differences between Embroidery, Cross Stitches and Needlepoint

Embroidery uses a needle and colorful threads to decorate a fabric by creating your own design in a hoop.

  • Work well on natural fabric, canvas or any items of clothing that are not loosely woven / stiff
  • Freehand embroidery is unique and creative

Cross Stitch uses an x-shaped embroidery stitch to form a tiled pattern of a picture on canvas, making the art with a uniform appearance

  • Evenweave fabric is used to produce a symmetrical image with fabric threads are evenly spaced
  • Creates a geometric look that can be a good fit for designing logos & mottos
  • The finer the fabric, the longer time it requires to complete the art piece

Unlike cross stitch using a single stitch technique, Needlepoint uses a wide variety range of stitches to form antique art pieces, including square-by-square patterns.

  • Evenweave fabric is used
  • Combinations of stitches are applied to add texture to the final piece
  • Plastic canvas is good for beginners to practice stitching
  • Other types of canvas including mono, penelope, and interlock

Note that both Cross Stitches and Needlepoint are counted-thread embroidery in which the fabric threads are counted before inserting the needle into the fabric.

Main Material and Supplies For Embroidery

Okay let’s see what you’ll need for your embroidery ultimate kit.

Yes, you’re right 🙂 and there’s nothing wrong about the infographic up there if you are planning to start embroidering the next day you wake up.

or even after watching an embroidery tutorial on Youtube…

Whatever reason that has brought you here, this would be the basics stuffs needed to stitch something REAL & AUTHENTIC.

First thing first, get any used fabric or clothing from your wardrobe that has a plain look – to make sure you can DIY a clear picture for your embroidery startup.

Dark theme fabric would rely on brighter threads with neon colors to make your embroidery stand out.

Next, an embroidery hoop will be your best mate to accompany, it tightens and hold your fabric and makes it simple for anyone who just started the craft – here’s how you choose a better quality embroidery hoop.

A pencil will be used to trace and create your design while scissors are vital to cut the threads.

Needle and embroidery floss are essentials, but do remember there’s a trick in choosing the right needle when you embroider.

An embroidery needle should be thin with a sharp point that’ll be easy to work with the fabric you used. Choosing the wrong needle can be frustrated and it will make you feel hopeless when it ruptures your fabric.

Oh no… but it’s okay now you can have a better start by learning from the mistakes/lessons I’ve made in embroidery.

Types of Embroidery Stitches

These top 6 embroidery stitches are here to help whenever you got a headache tackling a hand embroidery project.

Some other common stitches to use in embroidery are:

  • Chain Stitch – DIY chain necklace
  • Lazy Daisy – DIY daisy flower
  • Blanket Stitch – DIY blanket
  • Herringbone Stitch – DIY leaves ( a net look )
  • Feather Stitch – DIY a bird’s feather/ fish scale
  • French Knot – DIY a flower bud

Having these in mind can let you embroider with skills that you never think you can achieve, so if you really got some time to sit down and embroider, feel free to practice these stitches to perfect your embroidery projects.

Here’s the embroidery tutorial we need badly from DIY Stitching to begin with hand embroidery step-by-step. Enjoy!

Should You Be Learning Basic Embroidery Techniques?

From the stitches we learn from above, those who enjoy stitching with instructions must be feeling overjoyed after embroidering with the guide provided. Congrats!

It shall be true because you have gotten your result faster – with a list of beautiful patterns being embroidered in a plain fabric.

The embroidery practice done always helps us to attain the basics and master it. (practice makes perfect)

Don’t skip this if you feel LAZY to do embroidery patterns…

What if you’re a person who’s kinda lazy about the instructable stuff and only wants to create your own designs at the moment, must you learn the basics in order to make your masterpiece?

My answer to you is…. not necessary if you just want to make a unique custom piece by yourself 🙂

Go ahead and start with the project you’ve been thinking to make with embroidery. There’s nothing to lose and you’ll get a perfect gift for yourself or your beloved family. Check out this article I wrote to see why you should be learning embroidery skills when you’re free at home.

And let’s see what’s holding you back from embroidering freely, don’t feel hopeless yet – probably you’re just drawn to another type of learning style.

Approaching To Different Learning Styles

Personal Learning Style by Coley Free

So here’s an infographic showing – What style do you prefer learning embroidery?

Mice A is the one who can tackle tasks faster by understanding the reason/theory behind a topic, so it would first classify the info and master the basics before it plans out something BIG. ~ Logical (mathematical)

While Mice Z is the one who goes along with personal learning experience, so it learns best when it’s going through the process – working with their hands to create new solutions ~ Kinesthetic (physical)

Identify which learning situation you see yourself in, maybe it’s A or B.

I would say both are good learners, but they handle things differently.

Learning the fundamentals of embroidery stitches can be a good chance for you to sharpen your embroidery skills. (Really)

However, some people might think that starting with basics would be overwhelming – especially if they’ve already come up with ideas to embroider their own miniatures.

It would be difficult for them to proceed with each stitching tutorial as they just want to fulfill their commitment to one project in mind.

On the other hand, they’re always worrying about whether to learn or act first.

Here I am to tell you, there’s no best method in learning embroidery, but to remind you that getting on the handy work is the only way that can bring you the joy.

When you see your own project get done, you’ll know how much it means to you.

I’m personally the mouse Z who’s lazy to learn some stitches before I start up with my embroidery journey 🙂

I haven’t really learned any embroidery stitches, but then I think it turns out quite okay with my small little project – which I embroider some tiny dinosaurs.

FYI: this is my 2nd time embroidering! Woohoo~

To conclude, I just want to make sure that any of the embroidery enthusiasts who are questioning themselves for not having good embroidery skills, it’s okay…

You don’t have to do embroidery stitches practices before you start a project, going with your own hands-on experience can make the learning process better…

The learning process itself is not easy, even though you started with enthusiasm and giving your 300% effort, you need to find a way that suits you more to enhance your learning performance.

Focus and Consistency Is The Key

There are tons of embroidery stitches out there where you can learn to make your designs prettier and more realistic.

But you can also skip those lessons if you’re looking for a basic stitch project – to create your own design that doesn’t require so much work.

Getting Nuts To Hand Embroidering – Time Management

If you’re questioning this, maybe these are the factors that stop you to continue with your hobby – embroidery. So let’s see what are these reasons:

You might be facing problem with…

Time Constraint
From Loving embroidery --> Hating embroidery
Losing Focus and Patience

#1 Time Constraint

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

In this case, you don’t really have much time to enjoy embroidery although you are most willing to do it whenever you have free time. Unfortunately, you often can’t get an hour to settle down and do the needlework that’s self-soothing to you.

So what can you do? Starting to work from home to give yourself some time freedom?

I bet that’s not an option to you, even if you can make it happen, you still won’t be able to make a single art piece. This can be due to the lack of time management that makes you struggle to find time stitching.

Here’s the tip you might find helpful: embroidering is a step by step process, so any needlework you are doing, you are making progress.

Try to get 20 minutes – or even 15 minutes that can make a lot of progress/improvements for your embroidery project.

Every bit of time you have – make use of it. It can help you achieve things you do not know before.

#2 From Loving Embroidery to Hating Embroidery

This is a lesson you can learn from mine.

This can be hilarious, some might say I don’t know how embroidery really matters, but as I try to go deep with embroidery – by doing embroidery on a daily basis for a long time (during the country’s lockdown session). I found out, becoming a full-time embroiderer wasn’t easy.

I still feel delight every time I finish embroidering a tiny miniature.

However, things get worse even if I can take full control of my time to do whatever I want – and I chose to embroider for a couple of hours.

Spending most of your time to embroider ( 5-6 hrs ) can be tiring. You’ll start to feel frustrated when a mistake ‘pops’ out during embroidering.

The saddest part is when you couldn’t find a way to resolve it, and you just feel hopeless and didn’t want to continue with it anymore.

That’s why here’s an advice for you, planning to embroider about 25-30 minutes would be best to do your favorite artwork if you want to make sure your needlework has consistency and let your creativity flow well.

#3 Losing Focus and Patience

Photo by photo-nic.co.uk nicr on Unsplash

Making embroidery as a full-time job might seem impossible for beginners who are still exploring the field.

They already know practice takes time to make their embroidery perfect. However, neglecting your own body needs will not do good in the long run.

So if you’re feeling impatient whenever you embroider, get a glass of water to calm down. Only get back to work after a rest when you think you’re ready to do it.

By then, set up a timer (ard 20 mins) to embroidery fully at that time to make your work more efficient and less tiring.

The Embroidery Journey

How To Embroider Tiny Dinosaurs?

Looking for an idea to embroider something cool? The first thought in my mind is to embroider some cute dinosaurs.

Let’s dive into the progress of creating these little ones 🙂

#1 Create An Idea

Firstly, what I did is to get some artsy ideas from Pinterest by just searching the ideas that I need. (eg: dinosaur drawing)

It literally is the best app to find any drawing ideas you need.

**(Follow me on Pinterest to get more updates about my visual content)

#2 Preparing Material & Supplies

Weee, feeling lucky because last year I bought lots of embroidery floss with some nice color schemes. So it’s great for me to get started with more color choices for the dinos.

My Embroidery Kit

  • Fabric (clothing)
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Embroidery floss
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Bobby Pin

Yeap, I think these are all you need to get set 🙂

Now I’ve almost got all my supplies ready, and I’m just going to embroider all the way to make it happen.

#3 Call To Action

I used a pencil to trace all the drawings I needed straight on the paper (carefully) to make sure I didn’t make any mistakes. However if there’s something wrong with drawings, I’ll just get an eraser to rub lightly on the fabric.

The first day I used almost 3 hours alone to embroider the blue dinosaur, which is pretty slow(with no distractions) but I enjoyed seeing the product.


The second piece was not easy to embroider, there are some difficulties for me to embroider its eye and the pattern doesn’t really look nice.

The tips I got from embroidering this: Needlework must be consistent in one way – like coloring to make your work neatly.


Guess what, this piece was actually unexpected and has become my favorite after embroidering all of them. The process went smoothly as my needlework is clean and neat when compared to the others.

Tips if you want to embroider this green dino: Keep your needlework neat and the results can be tremendous even if you don’t know much about stitching techniques.


For the purple dinosaur, I was pretty excited to embroider it as it’s the only dinosaur with flying wings. But there’s a tricky part when embroidering this, the color chosen was too dark – the eyes of it were hardly seen.

I guess I just didn’t choose the right color, I was using a deep purple instead of a purple.

So a note for you when embroidering it: probably choosing another color like purple/lavender would be good if you are trying to DIY a dinosaur that looks mysterious.

PS: People told me that the dinosaur looks like a bat, for real ?! Let me know what do you think about it by leaving a comment.


I think I make it complicated for the aquamarine dinosaur, was trying let it be a unique one, and as you can see, lots of needlework look untidy. I nearly hit a fail when embroidering the eye for it.

What you should know before embroidering this: Just make sure the pathway of your needlework is consistent, don’t go left or right suddenly, it’ll make your work a disaster.


This would be the sixth dinosaur created using pink floss. It was shaped quite well due to those previous mistakes made. I was pretty happy with the results as the colors fit well.

A note for you to embroider this: Find out the color scheme of embroidery floss you would like to use on your project first.

eg: a set of pink colors I used for this dinosaur ( 4 colors are used for this)

**it was an accident, supposedly 3 should be enough – raspberry red, creamy white and hot pink.

The ability to focus on the details will do good in producing a fine embroidery work.

Okay, that’s it for now, just a little update for this project. (Hooray)

And now it’s your turn, share with me about your embroidery experience! I would like to hear from you 🙂

Drop down a message if you need any questions about this embroidery post, I’ll get back to you ASAP.


Infographics designed with Canva

Icon made by smalllikeart from www.flaticon.com

Icon made by Smashicons from www.flaticon.com

Icon made by Nhor Phai from www.flaticon.com

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