March 31, 2010

Follow the White Bunny Embroidery Tutorial Two

Stuff you Need Before you Start your First Embroidery

Before you start on your new favorite craft you will need a couple of basic embroidery supplies: a hoop, some embroidery needles (or at least 1), fabric, floss and embroidery scissors are handy to have as well.

I would recommend you buy a hoop.  You can start with a rather inexpensive wooden or plastic hoop, and always decide to go for a classier one later.  A 5 or 6 inch hoop will work fine for most embroidery designs.

Secondly you will need fabric. Cotton and linen are both good choices to start with. I often use old sheets or quilters cotton for my embroideries. A lightly patterned fabric can be really fun to embroider on as well. Denim or t-shirt like fabrics (like onesies) can be quite difficult to embroider on so it’s probably better to wait until you are a little more experienced.

Then there is the needle.  You will need a needle that is quite sharp, not too large but with a big enough eye so you can thread it easily.  A needle that is too blunt or big will leave holes in your fabric. An eye that is too small for the number of strands you use will damage your floss. Usually you can buy embroidery needles in packs with various sizes, try and see what works best for you.  Check out this article if you want to know more about embroidery needles.

Of course you will need embroidery floss (DMC and Anchor are two well known quality floss brands and widely available) But which type of floss to choose?  In the craft store you will probably find different flosses: linen, metallic, rayon, or mouliné (which is the same as 6 stranded cotton) floss. I would recommend starting with mouliné as it’s one of the easier flosses to work with and it’s available in a wide variety of colors. The effect of metallic floss is without a doubt very desirable but it’s hard to work with so I would certainly not start with that on one of your first projects. Besides craft stores it can be worth wile to look for floss on Ebay for example or maybe you can pick up some in yard sales or in thrift stores.

Embroidery scissors are very pleasant to have on hand too. They also come in nice colors (pink!) and shapes (bird!).

Next time I’ll discuss the some of the most common types of pattern (iron on & pdf) and how to transfer them to your fabric. You can find quite a few patterns online and of course Magpie Patterns offers a great variety of modern and hip designs, many of them suitable for beginning embroiderers too.

Thanks so much Nicole! If you can't wait for the next installment, visit Nicole's blog for embroidery inspiration.


Phoebe said...

I'm just curious. What's your favorite needle? I hate that my eyes aren't big enough for more than 4 strands of thread.

Nicole Follow the White Bunny said...

I must admit that I have lots of embroidery needles in my needle book and in boxes and I'm not quite sure what the size of the needle is that I use most of the time. Like you my favourite needle has an eye that can not be threaded with more than 4 strands of thread. But I hardly ever use more than 4 strands so that's hardly a problem. For me it's also important that the needle is sharp! I have one of these John James Embroidery Pebbles and they hold a nice selection of needles: