Basic Embroidery Materials and Tips You Want to Know

I don’t do a tutorial with each post because my process is usually the same. However, if there are some beginners out there wanting to learn how to embroider, or even some experienced embroiderers who want to know how other people do it, this is my process. This particular project is going to be a decorative pillow. Like with any project, I start by gathering my materials.


Materials Needed:

-pattern (to print some from this site go here)

-fabric to embroider on, pre-washed and ironed (I chose muslin for this project, but for my quilt I picked some cotton fabric.) If you have any questions about which fabric to use…just let me know!

Warm & Natural Cotton Batting-Craft Size 34″X45″ (this I suppose is optional…but I use it ALL the time! I like that it adds a little depth to my stitches, I also LOVE that you cannot see the thread on the backside of the fabric when you use this. It is my little not-so-secret-secret for making hand embroidery fun…not frustrating.)

Fabric Scissors (this is my ALL time favorite pair of scissors EVER! I know they can be pricey, but I feel so happy every time I use them. Watch for deals or use a coupon and get you some of these!)

-Embroidery Thread in the colors you need (DMC is my favorite brand you can get them at JoAnn’s or Amazon)

Embroidery Scissors -optional but I love having a small set that fits in my purse

Embroidery Hoop (this is the one I got for my 12th birthday and I love it. I will be so sad if it ever breaks someday. I am not a fan of the plastic ones, they don’t hold the embroidery taut enough for me, but the wood ones work well

-something to transfer your pattern with (I do not recommend this wax paper transferring stuff I used. I am just using it because I bought it and I hate wasting money. I can do a post on transfer methods if anyone is interested, there are some other easier and better ways then buying a light box)


As I mentioned above, I pre-wash my fabric and iron it before using it for anything. Then I cut it to the size I need. I am not a perfectionist in this area. I just put my pattern on it to get a general idea of the size.


  • When I am doing big projects like a quilt, I cut out all my fabric at the same time so I don’t have to do it each time. It makes the project more fun for me to get that out of the way.
  • Make sure to cut your fabric bigger than your pattern, enough so it can hold in your embroidery hoop without any difficulty
  • I cut my Warm and Natural to the same size and all ahead of time too. If you try to make it smaller it shows through your fabric and doesn’t look as nice

Next I transfer my fabric. When using this wax paper stuff, I put it in between and face down on my fabric with the pattern placed on top of it, then trace


  • Do NOT trace with the warm and natural underneath. You won’t be able to press down hard enough to get the pattern on well
  • Make sure to do this on a hard surface.
  • You can use a stylus like in this picture but I am happier using a pen because I can see what I have done easier. A lot of times I pick a pink pen or something that is a different color than my pattern

Now the fun part! I pick my colors of thread and keep them in a separate pile and I start to embroider. The embroidery floss comes in six strands, but I RARELY use all six at once. Often I use three strands, but the smaller or more delicate the pattern is I am working on the less amount of threads I use.


Then I go to town embroidering while I watch Star Trek or my kids run through the sprinklers.

Here is the finished product. I love my little geek family!


I know there are lots of tutorials on the internet about this, but I am happy to do some as well if that is helpful to anyone. Just let me know. I LOVE THIS STUFF!


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