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When the lockdown was first announced in March 2020, many people engaged in a variety of artistic and craft hobbies – from pottery at home to candle-making to marbling coasters. But I felt like almost everyone was trying their hand at one thing in particular: embroidery.
You’ve probably seen embroidery hoops before on your Instagram page – the #embroidery tag now has 18.4 million posts – with intricate designs that look expertly done. But embroidery is actually quite a hobby for beginners, which is why so many people have embraced it in the past year or so. It’s also a calming activity that can be done almost anywhere, in the park, in front of the TV, or, of course, at a desk.
Jenni Davis, the founder of embroidery kit brand Hope and Hart, has been sharing her designs with Instagram, including flower bouquets, slogans and even baby scans, since 2018.
Her designs prove just how much you can do with embroidery and that even simple designs to start with make for some beautiful creations to display in your home. Here, Jenni shares a beginner-friendly embroidery design with The Curiosity Academy, along with her top tips for improving your embroidery skills.
What you will need for Jenni’s flower embroidery design:
- embroidery hoop 10cm
- Sewing needle
- Skein of embroidery in green, dark green, yellow, orange, shade DMC 90
- Hot-erase pen (you can get these from sites like Amazon and Paperchase)
- Sheet of felt to fit your hoop size (optional)
- Cotton spool
9. Secure your wire in place.
Secure your thread in place with a knot and sew a single running stitch around the fabric using the thread from your cotton spool.
To sew a running stitch all you need to do is weave the needle up and down the fabric, it will look like a dotted line. Once you’ve sewn all the way around, pull the thread you just sewn together so that it gathers the fabric at the back of the hoop. Do not pull too hard or you may break the thread. Secure with a knot.
10. Turn your hoop over with felt.
By relying on your feelings from the start of the project. Bring your threaded needle with the cotton through the back over the fabric you just gathered. Place felt backing on the back of the hoop. You are now ready to start sewing the felt on the back of the fabric using the blanket stitch.
With the needle and thread you just pulled through the fabric, imagine a diagonal line on your fabric and lower the needle to the end of the point (this will be the length and width of your stitch).
Bring the needle back in a line with your last stitch and level with your first stitch. Wind the thread under the needle and pull it through, trapping the thread under the stitch. Repeat all around the hoop and tie off.
Don’t forget to remove your pattern by running a hot hair dryer over the top of your embroidery.
You should now have a full embroidery hoop lined with felt!
You can display it in your home or give it to a friend.
Jenni’s top tips for getting good at embroidery:
Take your time
This is a careful craft so taking your time is essential, going slowly will ensure you get all of your stitches in the right place making them all even.
Keep your dental floss short
When starting out, use a shorter length of wire, about 30 cm. This will prevent the thread from getting too tangled and knotted as you work on your stitches. When you become more confident, you can lengthen your dental floss. If you are still having trouble coating your beeswax thread, it will help prevent knots from forming.
Invest in quality if you can
Invest in good quality embroidery thread – DMC and Anchor are perfect. They are less prone to knotting so you get a better finish on your project and much less frustration.
Choose a crewel embroidery needle
Ideally, use a Crewel embroidery needle with a larger eye (the hole in the needle) so that you can pass your thread easily. I like to use Crewel John James size 4 needles, they are perfect for all six strands of dental floss or one depending on your project
Don’t pull too hard
To make your roses look perfect, don’t pull the dental floss too hard.
Instead, use the blunt needle to help secure it as you pull the thread with your fingers.
Stick to lightweight fabrics
If you are using a hot erase pen, it is best to work on light weight fabrics. This will prevent a ghost line from appearing from where your model was originally drawn.
Jenni Davis, Founder of Hope & Hart
Jenni founded Hope & Hart in 2018 after studying textile design (specializing in mixed textiles) at De Montfort University in Leicester.