- Embroidery needle
- Thread or yarn
- Fabric or article on which you'll be working
- A way to transfer your design (e.g. iron-on transfers, vintage picture books, etc.)
- Optional: embroidery hoop (if you're working on a flat surface, it will frame the cloth for even stitching)
Choose Your Fabric and Thread
Thread and yarn for embroidery come in many colors and textures. The standard is cotton embroidery floss, a glossy thread made up of 6 strands that can be separated from one another to create finer weights. Silk and rayon threads also come in divisible strands. (Two strands are good for most woven fabrics; a single strand will do for lightweight vintage fabric.) Wool yarn comes in 3- or 4-ply weight and cannot be separated into strands, so it is best suited to heavy fabrics such as canvas or the thickest linen.
Be careful about bending the rules here: Bulky thread on fine fabric will pucker the material; light threads embroidered on heavy cloth can be difficult to see. Only when a thread is the proper weight for a particular material will it create the desired appearance: gently raised stitches with a satin finish on a smooth background.