Embroidery hints & tips

Embroidery covers a huge range of techniques, for both hand and machine sewing, and there’ll be a way of getting any effect you wish to achieve. This can seem quite daunting to the beginner – where to begin? – but with experience and practice you’ll find that a few simple textile art techniques can give stunning results.

These tips articles cover the techniques used in the creation of some of the work on show in the Galleries, with guidance on how to get started, what equipment and materials to use, and extra hints on how to get the best effects.

Current articles

  • Transferring your embroidery design onto fabric
    There are a wide range of techniques you can use to transfer your embroidery design to fabric; some are useful for a variety of different applications, while others are more suited to particular techniques.
  • Goldwork – basic couching techniques
    Metal thread embroidery has been used for centuries for rich and spectacular embroideries. It has the twin advantages of being very impressive visually, and relatively quick to do.
  • Goldwork – couching with colour and or nué
    While stunning effects can be obtained using basic goldwork couching techniques, you can take this further with the introduction of colour to your metal thread work.
  • Chiffon appliqué
    Chiffon appliqué gives a light, ethereal effect, allowing the background fabric to show through.
  • Padded appliqué
    Padded appliqué can give an interesting quilted effect to an embroidery when used on a larger scale, or is a good way of controlling small pieces of applied fabrics.
  • Shading with split stitch
    Split stitch is a surprisingly versatile stitch with a long history, used to create subtle shading effects.
  • Stretching and mounting a completed embroidery
    A finished embroidery needs to be stretched onto a board. If you wish to frame a completed picture or panel, for example, or are making a slip case for a book, the finished piece will need to be mounted correctly.
  • St Cuthbert’s Banner: Medieval embroidery – with a contemporary twist
    A processional banner to be presented to historic Durham Cathedral, in North East England. The Banner is entirely hand embroidered, and took over 800 hours to make.