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What is Embroidery?

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  • What is Embroidery?

Embroidery is a craft of applying decorative designs onto fabrics or other materials with a needle and a thread. These designs are composed of various patterns created by different kinds of stitches. Traditional hand stitching was the only option until the middle of the 19th century when the first hand machine was invented. Along with the technological evolution, computerized machines and embroidery digitizing made the process easier and faster for industrialization purposes.

It can be used in fashion garments, home décor, and artwork including hats, dresses, denim, table cloths, bedsheets, and much more. It may also incorporate embellishments like beads, pearls, sequins, and quills for an attractive look. Apart from that, the reliability and efficiency ofembroidery digitizing softwareand computerized machines have created good marketing opportunities for businesses through custom embroidery. It is mostly used for custom artworks, logo designs, andlettering on all sorts of clothing and fabrics.

A Brief History of Embroidery

Embroidery has existed in various forms, in every culture across the globefor ages. Among other decorative art forms, it continues to be a timeless choice for crafters and artisans. In 1964, archeologists excavated fossilized remains of a hunter clad in embroidered garments in Russia which dated back to 30,000 BCE.

In ancient times, the production of garments was so expensive that they were rarely disposed ofand were mended instead. Over time, this practice evolved into a form of decorative arts.Since then, different cultures have shaped this art into what it is now.

How to Embroider?

As a beginner, you need to start with the knowledge of the tools required for embroidery. Using these tools, you can learn to perform some simple stitches. You need needles, threads, scissors, marker, frame, and fabric for basic patterns.

Frames (hoops) – Hoops are made up of 2 rings that sit inside each other and a screw to keep the fabric taut. It ensures that stitching does not pucker.

Markers – You will need a water-soluble marker or tailor’s chalk/pencilto transfer your design onto the fabric.

Threads (floss) – Some threads have single-strand and others have multiple strands, so they come in varied thicknesses. You can choose it according to the look you want.

Before you start stitching, there are some steps you should follow for the best results.

Prewash –Wash, dry, and iron the fabric just like you plan to treat it in the future. Without prewashing, fabrics like cotton and linens may shrink in different amounts.

Stabilize – Stabilizing/interfacing gives the fabric an extra body to support heavy needlework. It keeps the fabric from stretching out of the shape.

After the preparations, you can start with an appropriate design. There are different ways to start and end the embroidery. You can use the loop, waste knot, double backstitch, or normal knot to start it. You can close your design by weaving the last threads or with some back stitches.


There are several types of stitches you can use to create your designs. If you have never stitched before, you can start by practicing basic stitches like cross-stitch, chain stitch, back stitch, fern stitch, etc.

However, computerized embroidery is completely different, for which you need to use various digitizing software programs and machines to execute them.

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