Even before it became a pandemic past-time, the art of embroidery was already a captivating one.
You’ve likely “oohed and aahed” over the delicate beadwork on couture gowns, or marvelled at the silk threads that grace the finest designer bags. Most recently, the feminine tradition has even been applied to menswear — see Kim Jones’ colourful sneakers and bags for Dior.
Impressive in their intricacy, embroidery is one of those skills that is actually easier than it looks. Sure, it takes time and dedication to truly master the craft, but getting into needlework as a complete novice is not impossible. Anyone who has been to an embroidery workshop can attest to the fact.
With the wealth of embroidery tutorials you can find online, all you’ll really need is a needle, thread, a hoop and some cloth to work with. And these are duly provided in the many affordable embroidery kits that we’ve listed below, covering any form of embroidery that might pique your interest, from the Japanese Sashiko stitching to the fancy florals of ribbon embroidery.
If you want to get familiar with the basics, such as the back stitch, the fishbone stitch, and the French knot, this is the kit for you. It offers an embroidery cloth readily stamped with a floral design that you can follow, along with the needles, threads, and instruction manual that you’ll need. Also, the provided plastic embroidery hoop is 20cm in diameters, which is a handy size to work with when you’re just starting out.
Already have your embroidery basics covered? Then you’ll want options, which this kit offers. In it, you’ll find a colourful assortment of threads, a sturdy bamboo hoop, and a cloth to work on. What’s especially useful, though, is the storage case that contains all the other sewing accessories you’ll need, such as a thread cutter and a seam ripper. (Hint: for even more threads and hoops, you can upgrade to this kit instead.)
Punch needle embroidery is yet another way to paint with thread, this time with a thicker yarn and a special needle that pierces the fabric and leaves a loop on the other side. With this kit, you can choose from one of various colourful designs to create — just make sure to check out with a request for the needle.
Sashiko is a form of Japanese folk embroidery that mainly employs the running stitch to create a patterned background, such as those seen on the bags of local artisanal label, @Stilnook. To try your hand at it, you can get this thoughtfully curated set that includes three sashiko threads, a sampler cloth, as well as a few sashiko needles. Your tools can also be stashed in the zipped canvas pouch, so you can work on your stitching wherever you go.
Ribbon embroidery dates back to the 18th century, but it results are no less exquisite today. The technique typically calls for silk ribbons that will be used to stitch flowers that are true to life, mostly because of their sheeny texture. You’ll find them in this kit, which has seven different bouquet designs to choose from. (Note: The instructions provided are in Chinese, but you’ll be able to follow them all the same with the diagrams.)
Bead embroidery is the perfect thing to do when you’ve got excellent eyesight and a lot of time on your hands. Working with minuscule beads can be tricky, but this beginner’s kit will get you accustomed to it with enough practice. From this set, you’ll get a printed floral canvas that you can cross-stitch to life with an array of Czech glass beads.