One of the best things about embroidery is that it doesn’t take much to get started. With just some basic and inexpensive supplies, you can begin stitching a variety of projects. And depending on your level of craftiness, you might already have a needle and thread on hand!
The longer you embroider, the more you’ll realize that there are many supplies that, while not required for stitching, make the craft easier and more enjoyable. These aren’t fancy tools—and some even double as office supplies—but they help keep you organized and allow you to challenge yourself with increasingly complex designs.
Need some help with your embroidery shopping list? Scroll below for some of our favorite supplies, from a good pair of scissors to a handy needle minder.
Basic Hand Embroidery Supplies
If you’re going to stitch on fabric, you’ll want to invest in at least a couple of embroidery hoops of varying sizes. They range from just a couple of inches to over a foot in diameter. Most are made of wood or plastic; all of them require you tighten a screw at the top of the hoop to keep your fabric taut as you work.
You’ll need a needle to embroider, of course, but it’s worth knowing a bit about how the sizing works. Embroidery needles are numbered 1 to 12—the lower the number, the bigger the size (e.g. 1 would be larger than 12). Not all needles are the same. Look for needles meant for embroidery as opposed to one used for tapestry.
You can use any scissors to cut thread, but you’ll find it easier to cut the thread with a sharp pair in hand. This will ensure that your floss doesn’t fray. (It’s much harder to thread a needle with frayed floss!)
DMC is the industry standard for embroidery thread, aka floss. They have hundreds of different colors with each skein comprising six strands of thread.
Beyond the Basics Embroidery Supplies
Stick and Stitch Stabilizer Paper
Stick and stitch stabilizer is a pack of special paper that goes in your printer. Used for patterns, you can print a design onto its special fibers that you then peel and stick onto your fabric. When you’re done stitching, simply wash it away using warm water.
Water Soluble Pen
A water-soluble pen is another option for when you want to transfer a pattern onto the fabric. This special pen will stay on your fabric until, like the stick and stitch stabilizer, you remove it by running your project under the faucet or dabbing it with a damp cloth.
Everyone has their own way of organizing their floss, but one of the most popular methods is by winding a DMC skein on a floss bobbin. Just make sure you mark the color number onto the bobbin, too!
Floss Organizer Case
If you find that you’re embroidering a lot, it’s imperative you stay organized. Try arranging your thread by color and its DMC number; you’ll save a lot of time from searching for that one color you need to complete that pattern.
With so many thread bobbins, it can be hard to keep track of the thread colors you’re using for a particular project. Metal rings keep your floss bobbins neat and together while you work. And when you’re done, they can be easily stored back in your floss organizer case.
Worried about losing your needles? Keep your fears at bay by using a needle minder. It’s essentially an enamel pin with a super-strong magnet. When you’re done stitching or are changing thread, place your needle against it so that it stays in place.
You’ll likely use more than one needle in your embroidery, so store them all in a handy needle book. The fabric book features pages made of thin batting that keeps the needles (and other notions) secure until you pick up that project again.