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How to Get Started With Embroidery

Even if you’ve never held a needle in your life.

You, too, can be as serene as this stock photo model.
Photo: Esra Karakose/Getty Images

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In an effort to calm ourselves down, get some new hobbies, and (nobody employed by Vox Media read this) avoid doing work, we’ve recently embarked on a Facebook Live series called Racked Crafternoons. I (Alanna) teach a crafting novice (Annemarie) all sorts of skills, like knitting and, this month, embroidery. I promise, once you get started it’s really not that hard — Annemarie finished an entire hoop in under an hour!

Crafternoons with Racked

We're learning how to embroider as part of our Crafternoons series.

Posted by Racked on Wednesday, August 16, 2017
  1. As with all things, first you have to get your materials. You’ll need a hoop (I buy all mine in semi-bulk from Dharma Trading Company, but you can get them at places like Michaels or Jo-Ann), fabric (I recommend a thick-ish cotton or thin-ish canvas in a cream color for beginners, but feel free to get creative with whatever tickles your fancy), embroidery floss (DMC is the gold standard and still really inexpensive), and needles (embroidery needles have a slightly longer hole than your standard sewing needles, so they’re easier to thread). Also, don’t forget scissors.
  2. If you’re someone who prefers to learn from a kit, check out one of these — they’re meant for beginners yet look fantastic when they’re done. They also make great gifts for the aspiring crafter in your life.
  3. Decide what you want to stitch, and sketch it out in pencil on the fabric first. This is the hardest part for some people! But you can always make another and another and another. For inspiration, check out a few of these Instagram accounts.
  4. Go slower, use shorter thread, and make smaller stitches than might feel natural at first...
  5. ...but truly do not worry if you mess up. You can always erase the pencil mark, or cut out the snarl, or start over from the beginning. And sooner than you know it you’ll have a sampler to hang on your wall or a newly adorned pair of jorts.

When you do, send us a picture at and, or let us know about your progress in the comments!