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Ep. 70 - Embroidery Techniques: Blog Part 1 - Basic Tools

Finally, the visuals to accompany this episode on embroidery terms and techniques! This episode covers some general terms that can get you started on embroidery. The blog posts for this episode will have more than part. This is Part One: Basic Tools.
VFire as Link
Photo by Jeremy Hall

This method of adding details to your costume can be very time consuming, but therapeutic at the same time. During this time of social distancing and many hours spent at home... maybe this is the time to try something new and dig into the world of embroidery!

Basic Tools

Here are some basic tools to start with. Part Two of the blog posts will cover some of the basic stitches later this week.

Embroidery Needles: These come in all shapes and sizes. Ask your local craft store for which ones work best. I use sharp needles for thick fabric and dull needles for fabric that has decent texture/holes already in the weave. You can also buy a kit with a variety you can experiment with.

Floss: Not the kind you use on your teeth of course. Embroidery floss come in many colors and have about six threads per strand. Floss colors are each assigned a number, so keep note of that number just in case you run out. It makes it so easy to find more of the correct shade you need.

In the image above you can see how one thread thickness versus three looks like in a weave stitch. Do a test piece before starting your work to see how many threads you want to use for the desired look.

Scissors or Snips: Just for cutting the thread. Keeping a sharp pair is really nice because it makes threading the needle that much easier.

Pro Tip: Avoiding Tangled Threads

The shorter the thread, the less likely it will tangle! VFire uses thread length from her wrist to approximately shoulder as a maximum thread length. It also helps to cut the length you need and then split the threads to thickness you want.

Embroidery Hoops: These mostly come in the circle shape, but you can find squares and ovals out there, as well as a myriad of sizes. These are useful to hold your fabric in place and keep tension on it. The tension is key to keeping your stitches even and help prevent them from bunching up the fabric.

Hylian Tunic Embroidery
by VFire

Interfacing: If your fabric is very weak, stretchy, or just needs a little extra support, then interfacing is what you need. It goes on the wrong-side of the fabric and can help lengthen the life of your embroidery.

A Show, Music, or Podcast: Something you don't have to pay attention to too much and you can enjoy listening to while you spend hours on your epic work.

Other useful items are Rubber Thimbles, Leather Thimbles, regular Thimble... These can help free your fingers of extra work. Stretch your fingers and arms out every hour to help your fingers stay nimble. Pannon shuffles cards to help stretch out her fingers.

Fabric: It depends on what you are working on. Find what works best for your project. Experiment and you will find what your preferences are. For beginners, I suggest working with a fabric that has a grid texture on it like the image above. It is very useful in creating a pattern and keeping your lines where you want them to be.

Now you know the basis tools needed to get started! Later this week we will cover the basic stitches with How-To images and more. See you then!

Thanks for listening,
- The Stitch and Seam Team

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