What are the types of embroidery?

If you’re interested in starting your first embroidery crafting project, it’s worth taking the time to do a little research first. If you learn a bit about the different types of embroidery, you can make sure you have the right equipment for the job you’re planning to embark on. Starting a project with the wrong materials can only make it harder, and if you’re unlucky, it could put you off embroidery before you’ve even properly started.

Today, MakeBox+Co is looking at the three major types of embroidery and asking the important questions, so you can make the informed choice when you start on your next project.

Types of Embroidery

There are three major kinds of embroidery. They use similar materials, but they have very different outcomes, and you’ll need to know the difference so you can pick the right technique for the results you want.

Embroidery techniques are defined by how the threads and extra material you’re sewing onto the foundation fabric interact with that foundation. This, in turn, defines the supplies you’ll need for a successful project. If you’re using MakeBox, you’ll always have the right equipment and materials for the project at hand. Our boxes give you everything you need from the start to the finish of a new crafting project.

Free Embroidery

Also called surface embroidery, this is an easy technique to begin with. Free embroidery doesn’t have any special relationship with the weave of the foundation fabric: while you might be following a design or plan, you are free to sew onto any fabric available.

Other types of embroidery are more regimented. Surface embroidery is a good choice if you’re not interested in following a set pattern, or want to decorate old clothes, furniture, bags, or other accessories: you can simply sew onto the surface you want to enhance!

You might find an embroidery hoop useful for free embroidery, but there’s every chance the item you’re working on won’t fit in one – a handbag, for example, can’t be secured in a hoop.

Counted Thread Embroidery

This is a more regimented, technical kind of embroidery, which might make it the best option for someone who’s just starting. You’ll need a well-chosen foundation fabric with an even weave – embroidery canvas is purpose made for the task, but there are cotton and linen fabric woven specifically for the purpose.

You’ll also need an embroidery hoop to hold the fabric taught, so you can count the threads and a pattern. An embroidery pattern is the set of instructions telling where to sew to create the project – the recipe. If you’re just starting out, you’ll want to choose a simple pattern, so you can see the results quickly, but from there you can graduate to bigger and more ambitious projects!

Canvas Work

Also referred to as needlepoint, this is very similar to counted thread embroidery, but in this case, you’re not decorating your base fabric, you’re completely overlaying it. Patterns for needlepoint or canvas work will have you completely covering the foundation mesh to create an original design on top.

This means canvas work is least suitable for freshening up existing items – it’s intended for creating new, original pieces or works of art.

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