To begin with, it is always nice that we start with the history of things. When did embroidery begin cannot be really told though we can only assume that it has been around ever since man began to cloth himself. Every culture had developed the art of needlework, from egyptians, to the moors, to the indians, to the chinese. There had also been exchange of the art of embroidery between cultures and countries over the ages and each one took them to mix it with their tastes and brought forth an enhanced version.

If we were to start learning the different embroideries of the world, it would take us more than a lifetime. This is what I realised through my short research so far in the world of embroidery. The art with thread and needle has been an ongoing and evolving process since man began to cloth himself. Many hand embroidery styles and knowledge must have been lost through the ages, but some of them have still remained to pull on to stay alive in a world dictated by machines.

To learn embroidery, it is essential that we start with the knowledge of the simplest of stitches. Every embroidery or embroidery style comprises of one or more combinations of different stitches. For instance, the ethnic Kasuti work of India and the Black work of Europe consists of the Holbein stitch, which is an enhanced version of the simple running stitch. So, the ‘Basic Stitches’ section will consist of all the basic and simple stitches categorised into different family of stitches. The ‘Embroidery’ section will consist of different embroideries that uses the stitches that has already been displayed in the ‘Basic Stitches’ section. This way, you should be able to learn how different stitches can be used in practical embroidery work.

I will post a stitch every 3-4 days, and a new embroidery style every 1 – 2 months. The lessons will be illustrative. So, in cases where the words don’t help, just refer to the pictures to follow  the logics and methods of a stitch. You can click on each image of the basic stitch tutorial to see an enlarged and clearer version.:)

The basic stitches and embroideries will be shown on the side bar over the right hand side. In the ‘Basic stitches’ section, I  will start with the most basic stiches and move to more complex ones. So, for beginners, they can follow the order of stitches starting from the top. The ‘Embroidery’ section will have different embroidery styles, each with its own history and lessons to follow.

hand embroidery You would require the following things to begin the lessons:

1. Fabric- A piece of cotton fabric to practice your stitches. When you go through embroidery section, the type and kind of fabric will be specified.
2. A pair of scissors.
3. A set of needles – quilting needles, long needles, tapestry needles, straw needle. These needles have different lengths and thickness and can be used dependig on the type of fabric and thread being used. The tapestry needle is usually used to do embroidery without piercing the fabric.

4. Threads- For basic stitches, a few colorful cotton ‘anchor’ branded  threads or floss can be used. The embroidery section will specify if there is a requirement for any specific kind of thread.

5. A fabric holding ring-  to hold the fabric tight for better stitching. I don’t use a ring, though, for my embroideries. So, I presonally feel it is not a must, but maybe a convenience to some of you.

hand embroidery sample : couching method