What to embroider onto

Choosing a material to form the foundations of your embroidery is a less straightforward task than you might think. Lots of attention is given to what you’re going to be stitching with – the colour, weight and look of your embroidery floss and extras, like sequins and beads. It’s just as important to make careful choices about what your stitching onto or into, as this can affect the look, durability and function of your finished product.

Free embroidery

Also known as surface embroidery, with this discipline, choosing a base fabric is relatively straightforward. You can practice free embroidery on any fabric surface that can hold a stitch – so you don’t need to buy specialist fabrics to sew into.

Many people use free embroidery to decorate existing items, upcycling clothes and shoes, accessories, even furniture, with their unique designs. As well as being purely decorative, free embroidery is very useful to disguise repairs and discolouration, making it a useful tool for reviving old garments. In this case, you don’t need to choose a base fabric: your base fabric is the item you want to refresh!

Needlepoint and counted thread embroidery

These styles are closely linked, and both require more specific choices about your fabric. They both involve following detailed embroidery patterns that entail – as the name suggests – counting the threads between stitches. To do this effectively, and ensure the designs you stitch are as regular as they are on the paper pattern, you need a specially woven fabric with a very regular warp and weft, creating a grid of threads. If you choose an embroidery box from MakeBox+Co, you can be confident you’ll receive everything you need for success, from tools and instructions, right down to the base fabric.

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