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What Are the Best Simple Embroidery Ideas?

Embroidery is the craft of creating decorative patterns with thread.
A hoop to hold fabric still is a useful tool for simple embroidery.
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  • Written By: Jessica Ellis
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  • Last Modified Date: 23 October 2014
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Embroidery is an ancient craft with a long history. From melancholy ladies in medieval towers to hard-working pioneers, embroidery is a hallmark of many societies and has been popular throughout much of history. Learning simple embroidery skills can set a craftsperson on the way to a highly decorated life, joining him or her to a craft and tradition that stretches back farther than any thread.

The first step to learning simple embroidery is to master basic stitches. Most simple embroidery is done by hand, so consider purchasing basic hand embroidery supplies such as an embroidery hoop, muslin or linen for practicing, thread, and embroidery needles. Stitches that should be mastered early on include the running stitch, back stitch, french knots, and split stitches. Look on the Internet or purchase a basic embroidery book to see examples of these stitches and begin practicing. Once these skills are mastered, its time to move on to simple embroidery patterns.

With a small vocabulary of stitches, it may be best to start out with a small embroidery project, such as embroidering a handkerchief. Look for patterns at embroidery websites, or design your own handkerchief pattern with basic designs, like simple leaves or flowers. During the Renaissance, hand-embroidered handkerchiefs were given to jousting knights by their ladies, recognizable by each woman's individual embroidery choices. Join this romantic tradition by making a beautiful handkerchief for a romantic partner or honorable friend.

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Making a custom cloth doll for a child can also be an excellent simple embroidery craft, but requires some sewing skills as well. Buy plain fabric and cut out a double piece of the doll's outline. Decide which piece will be the doll's front, then stitch on facial features and even hair. Clothes can be embroidered on the doll, or can be made out of fabric for a choice of outfits. Stuff the doll with cotton like a pillow after embroidery is complete, then sew together and present to a lucky child.

Monograms may be an excellent project for a beginning embroiderer, especially if the back stitch is mastered. A monogram consists of a person's initials, typically for first, middle, and last name. These can be detailed with curlicues and flourishes or can be simple block text. Try embroidering monograms on ties, handkerchiefs, or decorative towels for an elegant, personalized gift. Stores and professionals may charge a considerable amount to add monogramming to a product; do it at home instead for only the cost of supplies.

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Sara007
Post 7

Embroidery can be a great hobby to teach your kids, as it really does wonders for their hand-eye coordination. There are lots of simple patterns you can buy, some even of famous cartoon characters so you can really keep your kids' interest.

I managed to get a bunch of embroidery freebies for my kids when the craft sale near our house was going out of business. They were practically giving things away. I think the best things we got were lots of patterns for children and gorgeous embroidery floss.

Does anyone know of any other ways to get embroidery freebies? I would love to add to our supply collection but I don't want to pay a lot.

manykitties2
Post 6

There has a been a huge resurgence in the popularity of embroidery lately. I have noticed quite a few teens making their own designs and some are pretty creative. It's really not that unusual to see an Internet meme turned into a simple embroidery idea.

Nowadays you can easily find an embroidery library online where you can download embroidery fonts and different designs. I think this mixing of a very old skill with modern technology is pretty impressive and that embroidery downloads will be here to stay for a long while.

LisaLou
Post 5

I have done a few embroidery projects through the years, but my biggest problem is that I would start one project and never finish it.

Before I knew it I had about 5 projects going and none of them were completed. This is something I enjoy doing more in the winter time when there isn't as much to do outside.

This is a pretty easy craft to learn, but it does take practice and time to become good at it. The best sign of a really good embroidery piece is if the back of the design looks as neat as the front.

This is not the case with my projects. I would be embarrassed for a person who was skilled with embroidery to look at the back of my projects. They have too many loose strings and don't look as neat as they should.

Learning how to do simple hand embroidery is something that you remember and can do for the rest of your life. It has been several years since I have done any, but I know if I picked up a hoop and pattern, it would only take me a few minutes to remember how it is done.

They do make nice, personalized gifts for people. I have two framed pieces of embroidery that I received as gifts from friends, and I love displaying these in my home.

SarahSon
Post 4

When I first learned to do embroidery, I bought a small kit that contained everything I needed to get started.

This kit included a small hoop, fabric, a needle, enough embroidery thread to complete the project and the patterns for these simple embroidery designs.

These were small embroidered Christmas patterns that could be placed over a small jar or sewn into a Christmas stocking.

This was an easy and inexpensive way to get started. If it was something I found out that I didn't like to do, I wasn't out a lot of money.

One of my roommates did a lot of embroidery, so I also had someone who gave me good instruction along the way.

I didn't mind learning how to do it, but quickly found out that I liked small projects that I could complete quickly. I didn't have the patience for complicated, lengthy projects and never stuck with it for very long.

runner101
Post 3

An embroidered doll seems like it may be the most difficult choice of "easy" embroidery options. Especially since you not only have to embroider, but also sew too! It seems like it can get especially difficult the more life-like someone makes the doll. I guess it you stuck to something really basic, it could be somewhat simple. This would be a fun gift to give to a child. Especially if you gave them extra doll clothes to go with their doll. I remember how much I used to love my dolls when I was younger!

The cool thing about embroidering is that if you do the stitches right, they will probably last a long time, if not a lifetime. You could probably give someone a gift as a baby and it would easily be intact when they pass, even if they pass at like the age of 100. Embroidered gifts are beautiful and can be keep a lifetime!

Sinbad
Post 2

Embroidering monograms seems to be a trend for all seasons, and all kinds of reasons now. I see a lot of people with monogrammed bags these days. Also, a lot of people have an embroidered monogrammed coffee thermos, or something of that nature, that they seem to tote almost anywhere with them.

Monogrammed towels seemed to have always been popular, but they seem to be especially popular now. The article even mentioned a monogrammed tie! It seems like embroidered and non-embroidered monograms are popping everywhere! I was just thinking how tacky monogramming can be, but it also could be a helpful tool in remembering someone's name. For instance, you totally can not think of someone's name, and then you glance at the cup they are holding and it has a C on it. Which means usually, their first or last name starts with that letter. Sometimes when you have that first letter your brain can configure the rest. So this would be a way for less embarrassing encounters.

amysamp
Post 1

Embroidery seems like a neat hobby to have. Especially with monogramming becoming so popular now! I have seen monogramming stores pop up almost everywhere in the past few years! They are making a lot of profit on things that some people can do in the comfort of their home. I like monogramming on some things, like cups, but on other things, I personally do not like it, like on t-shirts.

It seems like the cost of the materials to use for embroidery could remain pretty cheap, unless you are doing a huge project or something. It is good that some people with skills in embroidering and sewing are finally making decent money off of their work, especially if they also have business skills.

Embroidering looks fun and interesting, but it does not seem simple to me. I am sure it is like with most things though, practice makes perfect. Also I am sure the most skilled embroiderer had trouble and made mistakes in the beginning stages of their passion. The thing you have to do with everything, if you want to get better, is to keep trying, do not give up.

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