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The Beginner’s Guide to Embroidery

Embroidery is a truly satisfying hobby and a wonderful way to personalise your garments and other sewing creations. An additional pattern sewn over a beloved item can give it a new lease of life – and it’s incredibly fun to do, as well!

If you’re looking to get into embroidery, you’ve come to the right place. This helpful guide will walk you through everything you need to know when starting with embroidery and how to use an embroidery machine.

Hand Embroidery vs Machine Embroidery: What’s the Difference?

The first distinction to make when starting with embroidery is the difference between doing it by machine and by hand. 

Hand embroidery is a much slower process that is, of course, entirely manual; you stitch the pattern into fabric yourself, creating a singular pattern in your unique style.

Machine embroidery, meanwhile, is much more automated, giving you a predictable but beautifully stitched pattern. Don’t let the fact that it’s automated fool you, though; it’s still great fun seeing your pattern come together.

What Materials Do I Need for Embroidery?

Having the right supplies is vital for ensuring your embroidered designs are the best they can be. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:


Embroidery machines have special needles made for them, so be sure to stock up on these. You can buy Singer embroidery needles and Bernina embroidery needles in the Sewing Direct online store.

Embroidery Thread & Bobbin Thread

Ensure you’re buying the best quality thread for your embroidery by choosing thread from reputable brands and made from the right material. 

Bobbin thread is also important for embroidery – choose a thread that’s lighter than your embroidery thread and consult the machine’s manual for the recommended type to use.


A stabiliser in embroidery terms is a material that holds your fabric in place to aid the accuracy of the stitching. They’re instrumental in ensuring the embroidered pattern is as true-to-form as possible.

How Do You Use an Embroidery Machine?

Embroidery machines work using pre-designed patterns that are fed into the machine via a computer program. The exact process often varies by machine but is much simpler to execute in practice once you’ve got the hang of it.

From here, the machine will stitch the pattern exactly as the design dictates, giving you the same pattern every time – assuming you follow the right setup procedure. The type of stitching that a machine does is also unique and typically impossible to replicate by hand.

Among other things, it’s a fantastic way to make professionally done Christmas gifts for your loved ones in a short space of time!

How to Choose the Right Embroidery Machine in the UK

When starting, you’ll have the fun task of choosing the right embroidery machine if you haven’t got one already. 

There are several factors to consider here, including the size of your embroidered patterns, the unique machine features, your embroidery expertise, and your budget. For more information, see our blog on Finding the Best Embroidery Machine for your needs.

Buy Your UK Embroidery Machine Today at Sewing Direct

Ready to kickstart your embroidery journey? Browse embroidery machines at Sewing Direct and find the perfect one for you.

We’re passionate sewers and embroiderers and take great pride in serving the UK’s sewing community. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or just want to talk embroidery – we’d love to hear from you!
Sewing Direct Beeston
133 High Road, Beeston, Nottingham, NG9 2LL
Email: -Info@sewingdirect.co.uk
Sewing Direct Mansfield aka Sally Twinkle
1-5 Handley Arcade, Mansfield, NG18 1NQ
Email: -shop@sallytwinkle.co.uk
Are both a trading name of Sewing Direct Midlands Limited
Registered in England & Wales, Company number: 14625487
Registered Office 133 High Road, Beeston, Nottingham NG9 2LL
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