My Essential Embroidery Kit
Updated: Mar 5
One of my favourite things about embroidery is that you don't need masses of expensive supplies to get started - the basic kit only costs around £15-£20 to assemble and can be done even cheaper than that. This makes embroidery a really accessible craft! These are the tools that I couldn't stitch without with links to where I buy them from.
To embroider, your fabric needs to be held taught in a frame. Embroidery hoops provide this frame and look great for display too!
There's a huge selection of sizes, kinds and materials, but generally, I gravitate towards having a few 3", 4" and 6" hoops in both standard wood and flexible wood look plastic hoops.
For wood hoops, I prefer the Elbesee hoops (https://www.lovecrafts.com/en-gb/p/elbesee-6-inch-15-24-cm-wooden-embroidery-hoop), but I do also use the Hobbycraft hoops from time to time, but I find the quality of these aren't nearly as good (https://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/natural-wooden-embroidery-hoop-6-inches/638406-1000). For the Flexigrain hoops, my favourite is the Hobbycraft ones (https://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/flexible-woodgrain-embroidery-hoop-6-inches/642722-1000)
Now you have your hoops, you need something to put in them! I love sourcing fabric as there as so many ways to do it. You can use a huge array of fabric types as they as they're woven (Not stretchy) and strong enough to be stitched into.
Firstly, I always make sure to have plenty of basic calico fabric in my stash. This can be bought very cheap and is the perfect plain, uncoloured background fabric that lets your stitching stay in the limelight.
When it comes to patterned fabric, there's lots of ways you can find some beautiful pieces. The easiest way is to buy fat quarters. A fat quarter is a piece of fabric that's one-quarter of a yard, you can generally get around four+ hoops worth of fabric out of these depending on your hoop size. They can be bought in sets or individually from most haberdasheries or fabric retailers - I usually buy them from Hobbycraft as they have a multibuy discount. (https://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/sewing/fabrics-and-fat-quarters)
However, my favourite fabric is second use. As I sew a lot of garments, I'm always left with scraps. If you don't sew, another great way to source fabric is through old clothes - whenever I get rid of old clothes I always cut up any that I can use the fabric for. You can also buy garments from charity shops for this purpose.
When it comes to the thread for your embroidery, you need some embroidery thread. This is cotton thread that splits into 6 strands, so you can choose how thick you want your thread to be. There's lots of different brands you can buy, but personally I'm a complete brand whore for DMC. I find it knots less, never breaks on me and just stitches better than Anchor or other cheaper threads. Whilst buying DMC is more expensive than buying a multipack of unbranded thread, I think it's worthwhile because stitching with it is so much nicer and it still isn't really expensive. I purchase all my DMC thread through Lovecrafts as it's only 69p - you can't go wrong with that! (https://www.lovecrafts.com/en-gb/p/dmc-stranded-cotton)
To get started with your stitching, you just need some needles now! I have a range of embroidery needles from different brands, but really they're all the same. Just make sure you have a collection of embroidery needles in lots of different sizes and you're good to go! (https://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/hemline-size-5-to-10-embroidery-crewel-needles-16-pack/566986-1000?_br_psugg_q=embroidery+needles)
5: A Pen
Whether you're transferring a pattern onto your fabric or you like to freehand your design on, you need some kind of pen to do this. My prefered method is with a Frixion Pen. This is just a standard refillable pen made by Pilot, but the ink is designed to disappear when friction - i.e heat - is applied. You have to go in with a light hand as it can still leave marks on your fabric, but I draw all my designs on with one of these and then when I'm done I simply use my hairdryer or an iron and like magic, the pen marks are gone! (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pilot-Frixion-Erasable-Rollerball-refills/dp/B002YOEX12/ref=sr_1_37?crid=1C2O5RTTCRIKW&dchild=1&keywords=pilot+frixion+erasable+pens&qid=1588509761&sprefix=pilot+frixio%2Caps%2C165&sr=8-37)
5: Add Ons
Scissors are a tool that you don't have to buy specifically for embroidery, but I recommend investing a good little pair of snips that cut thread cleanly - this will make threading needles so much easier!
For me, needle minders are a game-changer! A needle minder is basically a little magnet that you can put on your embroidery to hold your needle when you're not using it. It's such a simple little tool but it's saved me from losing so many needles! I bought mine off Etsy, there is a huge range of shops that sell them.
And that's it! I hope you found this post helpful in building up your basic embroidery kit, let me know in the comments what supplies you can't live without!