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How To Do Hand Embroidery

Wondering if you should get into hand embroidery? Lean in, grab a needle, some thread, and we’ll show you how to decorate apparel (or accessories) with a few simple stitches.

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    Hand embroidery can be an outlet for stress and anxiety. If you’re a fellow fidgity friend, learning hand embroidery might be for you. The art of hand embroidery can even help give you a sense of accomplishment (and one that you can show off to your friends and followers). 

    So not only will
    hand embroidery help you release anxiety, it can also provide a finished project.

    What was it Mr. Miyagi said? “
    Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Wax on, wax off.” At Press Hall, our needlework-lovers say “Breathe in through nose, out the mouth. Needle in, needle out.” Acquiring skills like hand embroidery enable us to zone out and tap into something good for us. It connects you with something tribal and instinctive.”

    Plus, nothing beats the impressed look on everyone’s face when they hear you say “thanks, I made it”. Hard work that is well-worth admiring. Once you
    learn hand embroidery, you’ll be able to add the WOW-factor to any blank garment or accessory.

    Just make sure you don’t forget about us when your
    hand embroidery TikTok account goes viral.

    Products We Used

    Blank

    • Port Authority - Ultimate Hip Pack #BG910
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    • As always, we encourage you to use the same products we’ve already tested and approved, but if you’d like to go your own way, we salute you! Just make sure the blank you are using is a similar fabric.

    • Additional blanks we recommend you use for this project are also listed at the bottom of the tutorial.

    Supplies

    • Printable and water soluble stabilizer (we used Sulky’s Fabri-Solvy)

    • Embroidery hoop

    • Embroidery floss

    • Embroidery needle

    • Scissors

    • Clear ruler

    • Tailor's chalk

    • Erasable fabric marker (optional)


    The Prepping - For Hand Embroidery Projects

    Step 1: Gather your materials.

    Choose your embroidery floss color/s, a design, design placement, and blank fanny pack (or another type of blank).

    Step 2: Print or draw your design directly onto the stabilizer.

    We printed the Press Hall logo onto a sheet of the Sulky brand’s fabric-like water soluble stabilizer (theirs is called “Fabri-Solvy”). You can print using a regular printer and the Fabri-Solvy or just draw your design on the stabilizer. You can also use an erasable fabric marker to draw your design directly onto an item.

    Step 3: Mark the center of your design on the stabilizer.

    Using the tailor's chalk and clear ruler, mark the center of your design that you printed (or drew) onto the sheet of Fabri-Solvy stabilizer.

    Step 4: Trim the stabilizer to fit the hoop.

    With the design at the center, trim your stabilizer to be 1 inch larger than your hoop.

    Step 5: Remove the backing from the stabilizer and place it on the blank.

    Remove the paper backing from the sheet of Fabri-Solvy stabilizer. Stick the design onto your blank fanny pack. Smooth it out to ensure it lies flat with no bubbles. 

    Step 6: Hoop your blank and stabilizer together.

    Unscrew and separate the inner and outer hoops. Place the inner hoop on the inside or underneath the design placement area.

    Then, place the exterior hoop on top of the inner hoop sandwiching fabric and stabilizer between the two hoops. Pull and adjust the hooped fabric until it’s taught against the hoop.

    Tighten the screw to keep the fabric taught inside the hoop while embroidering.

    Step 7: Prepare your embroidery floss.

    Cut a piece of embroidery floss about the length of your arm. Thread one end through the eye of your needle and tie a knot in the other end. 

    Step 8: Get to stitchin’!

    Now it’s time to choose a type of stitch and start embroidering. There are tons of cool hand embroidery stitches and techniques to learn. Many of which, you can learn as a beginner. In the following section, we show you how to use a split stitch to fill an empty space (our logo in this case).

    The Making - Split Stitch

    Step 1: Start your first stitch.

    Now it’s time to embroider the design with a split stitch. Push the needle up through the back side of the hoop. Pull the stand lightly until the knot is taught against the backside of the fabric.

    Step 2: Complete your first stitch.

    Using the chalk line as a guide, create your first stitch by pushing the needle back through the fabric to the back side of the hoop. The stitch length should only be a few millimeters or the length of a grain of rice.

    Step 3: Create your first row of stitches.

    The needle will now be pushed back up from the back side of the hoop into the end of the first stitch while splitting the threads in half.

    The strand of embroidery floss contains 6 threads, split the stitch so there are 3 threads on either side of the needle as it’s pulled up through to the fabric. Pull the strand taught and repeat the stitch to complete the first row.

    Step 4: Start a second row, and continue filling the space.

    After the first row is complete, start a new row and continue to create and complete rows of stitches until the design has been completely filled.

    Be sure to start and complete your rows on the underside of the blank by tying square knots when you run out of floss.

    If you run out of floss before finishing your design.

    If additional thread is needed, tie a new strand to the end of the strand currently being used with a square knot.

    Embroidery Tip

    Creating a square knot.

    Split the embroidery floss in half. With three threads in one hand and three threads in the other hand, (hold like two shoe laces) overlap the left strand over the right strand and the right strand over the left strand and pull the strands outward to tighten and secure your knot. Trim the excess.

    Embroidery Tip

    Step 5: Add a border around the filled area.

    Finish it off with a border can added around the edge of the filled design. Using the same split stitch technique you just learned, follow the perimeter of the design to create a border.

    Be sure to complete the final stitch at the underside of the blank.

    Tie off your strand, do so by splitting the embroidery floss in half. With three threads in one hand and three threads in the other hand, create a square knot; overlap the left strand over the right strand and the right strand over the left strand and pull the strands outward to tighten and secure your knot. Trim the excess.

    Step 6: Remove hoop from the blank and dissolve the stabilizer.

    Remove the hoop from the blank fanny pack and take it over to a sink. Use warm water and a little friction to dissolve the stabilizer.

    Step 7: The final product!

    Let the blank dry and use a warm heat source to press the embroidered design and remove all wrinkles from the blank fanny pack.

    Now you know how to start any embroidery project and how to fill a space with a split stitch. There are many other hand embroidery stitches and techniques to learn! The french knot, satin stitch typography, floral patterns and much more! The options are limitless and entirely customizable by you.

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