A Simple List of Hand Embroidery Supplies for Newbies!
Oooh! Are you excited about taking your first step into hand embroidery? I’m excited for you because if you’re like me and love creating beautiful things with your hands you’re going to become obsessed!
You don’t need much to get started, and because hand embroidery supplies are fairly small & lightweight you can take them wherever you go so you can stitch whenever you want! They also make wonderful little gifts!
I’ve prepared for you a simple supplies list, and most of what you’ll need can be found on Amazon, Michaels, or online specialty shops like DMC, and any simple tips I can give you are included here.
Let’s get started! Here’s your hand embroidery supplies list:
- Embroidery hoops
- Embroidery needles
- Embroidery floss
- Embroidery pattern
- Transfer material (depending on how you decide to transfer your image)
- Good source of light & optional magnifying glass
- Container for your supplies
- Delicious cup of coffee or tea & your favorite music or podcast (totally optional, but I mean… why not? 🙂)
Embroidery hoops come in a variety of sizes and are usually circular, oval, or rectangular in shape. The most common is circular.
I started off with a 5″ hoop and would recommend starting there. A 5 or 6 inch hoop is pretty comfortable to hold. Anything larger may be a bit clunky to handle which can tire out your hands if you aren’t used to it.
To learn how to attach your fabric to your embroidery hoop check out my tutorial.
Among your collection of hand embroidery supplies you will definitely need some embroidery needles. Just like the hoops, embroidery needles (aka crewel) also come in a variety of sizes. There are also several types of needles (such as tapestry, chenille, & quilting) and which you use really depends on the fabric & thread you’re using. But for now, we’re going to focus simply on embroidery needles.
What you’ll want to know as you choose your needle is that they are assigned a number to indicate size. The higher the number the smaller the eye & thinner the needle. The lower the number the larger the eye & thicker the needle. I started off with DMC needles, size 7 but found the eye was just a wee too small for my liking so now I mainly use a size 6 which is my preference.
I recommend purchasing a few different sizes so you can try them out for yourself. Also keep in mind that many of these needles are nickel plated steel so if you’re allergic to nickel DMC also offers gold plated needles.
Next on the list of hand embroidery supplies is embroidery floss. You can find lots of embroidery floss in bulk on Amazon which will provide you with a variety of colors to play with at a pretty inexpensive price. They’re great for when you’re first starting out and learning.
It’s what I started with and still sometimes use but I’ve also upgraded to a higher quality floss from DMC. They have a nicer sheen, vibrant colors, and are easy to handle. If done right you rarely get any tangles. They’re a bit more expensive but still affordable and worth it.
I tend to pick my DMC floss from Michaels since they always have coupons. You don’t save much but it will add up when you see all the gorgeous colors and realize you have to have them all!
Stop by my post on embroidery thread basics to learn more!
Obviously, you’ll need an embroidery pattern and I’ve created some freebies like this one which you can access through my Creative Resource Library when you join my newletter. Just download and print.
You can also find more patterns online on Pinterest, Etsy, and also in my new Etsy shop.
Another hand embroidery supply you’ll need is fabric. You can use almost any fabric as long as it isn’t stretchy or too thick, and you can even use paper! I have a little blurb about how to choose your fabric so give that a peek!
As a beginner try natural linen fabric which is one of my favorite materials to work with. You can find fabric geared towards needlework but whatever you choose doesn’t have to be specifically for that.
You’ll also need a sharp pair of scissors. I started off with a pair of regular scissors which are good for starting off, but you’ll soon want to grab a pair of embroidery scissors which will reach into tight spaces a whole lot easier!
I happened to have a pair of cuticle scissors which I bought years ago, never used, and forgot about. I hadn’t purchased embroidery scissors just yet so I remembered them, pulled them out, and they turned out to be perfect for the job!
So if you can use cuticle scissors to do the same job as embroidery scissors which are sharper, in my opinion.
Moving down the list of hand embroidery supplies is transfer material. When it comes to transferring patterns onto fabric there are several ways to go about it. Take a peek at my post about how to transfer your pattern so you can decide which method is right for you. This will help you decide what material you will want to grab.
If you just want to keep things simple all you’ll need is your printed pattern, a light source such as a window or light box, tape, and a thin pen. Just tape your printed pattern to the back of your fabric, hold it up to your light source, and trace.
Printable transfer paper is another option. Just print your image onto the transfer paper and stick it onto your fabric. You might have to clean your needle once in awhile as this can make your needle a little sticky so keep that in mind. When you’re finished stitching you just wash it away!
These are just 2 methods which I go into a bit more detail in my transfer instructions.
Good Source of Light &/or a Magnifying Glass
While a good source of light is a must, you don’t necessarily need a magnifying glass… but it really helps, especially if you have astigmatism like I do.
Here is the one I have and use a lot! The OttLite magnifying glass has an adjustable strap is worn around your neck and the legs stand on your chest. It’s pretty comfortable and if I need to get up I don’t need to remove it. I can just let it hang.
Eventually, you’re going to want a way to keep things organized. You’ll have handfuls of embroidery floss, needles, and scissors which will need a home.
A shoe box can work temporarily but if your supply inventory outgrows it you’ll want to invest in some floss bobbins and a container and a sewing basket. It will be much easier to find the color thread you need if they’re organized.
A Tasty Drink
Last on the list of hand embroidery supplies is optional but really nice. I just love a delicious cup of coffee or tea to enjoy while I work.
Once you have your essential hand embroidery supplies on hand hop on over to my other posts to help you get started.
I hope this list is helpful and simple enough to keep you from feeling overwhelmed. I learned all of the basics to get started on my own and it really didn’t take long to gather up my supplies so I think it will be low stress for you too, especially now that you have a list to check off.
I can’t wait for you to fall in love with hand embroidery just like I did!
❤️ Thanks for following along!