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The best tips for hand embroidery include choosing quality supplies and selecting a design or project that is timeless and coordinates well with the location it will be displayed or used in when complete. Gaining a knowledge of hand embroidery basics will help even a beginner produce a high-quality finished project, while creating a practice piece allows the stitcher the opportunity to sample the skills needed for a project without damaging the finished item. Allowing plenty of time to complete the project and choosing one that is a good match for the crafter's existing skill level will help as well.
Choosing good-quality supplies will add to the look and durability of the finished project. Hand embroidery floss that is 100 percent cotton and designed not to bleed when washed is an excellent choice for most projects. Embroidery blanks should be well constructed and made from high-quality cotton or cotton-blend fabrics. Selecting good-quality supplies helps ensure that the project will stand up to regular use and laundering.
The design or project chosen for hand embroidery should be based on personal preference and on the end user's existing decor. Working on a piece of hand embroidery can be a time-consuming endeavor, so choosing one that is appealing will help the stitcher stay on task and complete the project. Considering the location where the finished project will be used is a good idea as well. Selecting sweet primitive designs for a country kitchen and romantic florals for a Victorian bedroom will help ensure that completed pieces will be displayed and used.
Stitching the design or a portion of the design on a scrap piece of fabric allows the crafter to become familiar with the hand embroidery techniques used without damaging the final project. Beginning stitchers should consider practicing hand embroidery techniques like satin stitching, edging, and French knots on scraps prior to starting their first project. Becoming familiar with the basics prior to working on an actual hand embroidery project will help ensure success.
Care should be taken to properly prepare the piece for embroidery. Stretching the fabric across a plastic or wood embroidery hoop will prevent puckering or folding in the finished piece. Using a stabilizer on knit or fragile fabrics will help hold the fabric steady and make it easier to embroider the design. Working in a comfortable chair in a well-lit area will help the crafter complete the project in comfort.
@Grivusangel -- I'd also add that the crafter needs to look for pieces he or she is comfortable stitching. I've run into embroidery crafts that I liked, but the stitches were a little intimidating.
Also look for quality. I got a hold of a nicely patterned tablecloth, but the fabric was just shoddy. That really irritated me. It wasn't cheap to buy, that's for sure!
Patience, patience, patience! That's the biggest tip. Have patience and don't try to rush the project.
Take your time and be willing to pick out poor stitching and re-do it. Only that kind of attention to detail will result in a nice piece of stitchery.
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