16 Free Hand Embroidery Tutorials for Beginners

Create your own modern embroidery designs with these free tutorials to learn embroidery stitches, and easy tips for artistic techniques

Embroidery is a timeless textile craft with a long history, used by people all over the world to repair clothes or add decorative embellishments to textiles. In recent years, it's also become a popular handcraft among contemporary artists to create modern embroidery art featuring expressive designs.

Ready to join the movement? Whether you want to learn how to sew your first stitches and prepare a hoop, or you want create bold embroidered patches for canvas bags, delicate beaded embellishments, and experiment with mix-media techniques, follow these embroidery tutorials to learn all kinds of embroidery techniques with professionals to guide you.

Playful and modern embroidery designs by Juliana Mota.

But first, let's get to know about the history of embroidery

Embroidery has evolved among History. Influenced by cultural exchanges along the Silk Road and historical events like the Bayeux Tapestry, it transitioned from a public display to a personal craft with the advent of machines like the Jacquard loom. Today, it stands as a unique form of self-expression, bridging ancient techniques with modern aesthetics.

Top embroidery tips and tricks to get started

1. Learn three basic embroidery techniques for beginners

Starting out with a new hobby can involve a steep learning curve if you’re doing it alone, but with guidance from experts who have been there before, you can make that process much easier.

In this tutorial designed for budding embroidery artists, Kseniia Guseva (@faimyxstitch) shares a few basic embroidery tips to help you get started—from preparing a hoop to threading a needle.

2. Learn how to prepare your embroidery hoop step by step

An embroidery hoop is an essential tool for hand-embroidery, it helps to keep your fabric taut while you’re working so you can sew neat stitches.

Courtney McLeod (@dearest_q) is an embroidery and textile artist specializing in hand-embroidered hoop art. Combining her love of fashion with different fibers and techniques, she stitches colorful but minimalistic pieces from her Philadelphia-based studio, Dearest Q.

In this tutorial, Courtney shows you how to prepare your embroidery hoop, every step of the way.

3. Discover easy techniques to make your own cross-stitch patterns

If you want to craft contemporary cross-stitch pieces that reflect your style, learning how to create custom embroidery patterns is a great place to start.

Here to help you with your own designs, visual artist and embroiderer Ignacia Jullian (@ignaciajullianb) shares an easy technique to make cross-stitch patterns.

4. Learn top tips to transfer your embroidery design from paper to fabric

Depending on your preference, there are various techniques you can use to transfer an embroidery pattern to fabric, including stenciling and using specialist materials like water-soluble transfer paper.

In this tutorial on how to transfer embroidery designs from paper to fabric, designer and embroiderer Koral Antolín (@koralantolin) teaches you how to transfer your illustration using carbon copy paper for fabric.

Free tutorials to learn new embroidery stitches, styles, and techniques

5. Practice basic embroidery stitches for beginners

When you’re first starting out in the world of embroidery, learning only a few different stitches can help add different effects to your designs. An experimental embroidery artist, Mariah Escossia (@bordadospraiaia) mixes creative techniques (embroidery, watercolor, stonecraft, etc) to her create unique art.

Here to help you get to grips with the basics, in this tutorial, Mariah teaches three embroidery stitches for beginners: the backstitch, split stitch, and stem stitch.

6. Learn four stitches for hand-embroidered lettering

If you want to use your skills to create hand-embroidered alphabet designs, words, or slogans, you’ll need to learn how to stitch letters.

In this tutorial, embroiderer and designer Juliana Mota (@juliana_mota) shows you how to sew a backstitch, brick stitch, straight stitch, and full stitch to write the word “Hi!”.

7. Make DIY floral embellishments to personalize clothes and accessories

Embroidering floral embellishments is a great way to personalize your clothes and accessories. You can add them to just about anything—suits, dresses, bags—or give them away as a one-of-a-kind handmade gift.

Jodie Ruffle (@jodieruffle) is an embroidery and embellishment designer for the fashion industry, here she teaches you how to make floral 3D embellishments using beads and sequins—from the threading to creating unique patterns, and adding final touches.

8. Learn how to embroider a patch by hand

Hand-stitched patches are great for adding a personal touch to canvas totes and purses, or upcycling worn clothing like jeans and jackets. LA-based fiber artist Jen Smith (@jen_35) is known for her nature-inspired embroidery, making everything from brightly-colored earrings to clothing to patches.

In this tutorial, she will show you how to trace, embroider, and attach a handcrafted patch to a canvas pouch, from start to finish.

9. Learn how to create an appliqué from an embroidered design

Another useful trick to revive old wares or add your stamp to different accessories: learn how to create an appliqué in this tutorial by textile designer Ana María Restrepo (@anamaria_10).

This technique involves embroidering your own design (or finding an embroidered design you like), turning it into a patch, and then sewing it to your garment.

10. Learn how to embroider a simple flower in five steps

Loly Ghirardi, aka Señorita Lylo (@srtalylo) combines her two passions—graphic design and embroidery—by working with a hoop and needle to make unique designs. In this tutorial, which encapsulates what her craft is about, she teaches you how to embroider a flower in five steps.

First up, you’ll choose your design (Señorita Lylo also shares a downloadable version of her design if you want to practice with that), then you’ll transfer the design to fabric, choose your threads and stitches, and embroider your flower.

11. Discover quick tricks to embroider realistic hair

There’s an art to realistically embroidering hair—not only is it very thin, it has so many different colors, shades, shapes, and movements that can make it difficult to master.

In this tutorial, embroidered portrait artist Bugambilo (@bugambilo) shares some of her top tips and tricks for drawing hair with thread using both precise and freestyle embroidery techniques.

12. Practice mixed-media techniques: add embroidered details to your paintings

Get experimental with mixed-media techniques in this embroidery tutorial by visual artist Josefina Jiménez (@jojimenez). Here, she teaches you how to enhance your paintings by adding embroidered details.

Using an acrylic floral illustration as her example, Josefina teaches you how to make different types of stitches to achieve a variety of textures across different plants and flowers.

Add the finishing touches to your embroidery projects

13. Learn top tips to give your embroidery a polished finish

Now you’ve created your embroidered pieces, you’ll want to learn how to protect and preserve them!

In this tutorial, professional graphic designer and embroidery artist Señorita Lylo teaches you how to finish off your embroidery designs to help prolong their lifespan and give them a professional look.

14. Learn how to look after hand-embroidered clothing

Learn more tips for hand-embroidery aftercare in this tutorial by textile artist Kseniia Guseva. Teaching you how to look after hand-embroidered clothing, she shares a number of simple (but essential!) tips to make sure your pieces last—including advice for washing, drying, and ironing your garments.

15. Learn how to embroider a flower

Embroider a stunning flower effortlessly with Defne Güntürkün's expert tutorial! Dive into easy-to-follow steps on fabric preparation, stitch techniques, and adding depth with shadows and lights. Whether you're a beginner or looking to refine your skills, this tutorial is your gateway to creating beautiful floral embroidery in no time. Let's stitch your masterpiece today!

16. How to Embroider a PATCH by Hand

This tutorial teaches the essentials of hand-embroidering a patch, starting with placing fabric in a hoop and transferring a design. Jen Smith demonstrates key techniques like satin stitching and ensuring tight fabric for smoother stitching. The tutorial concludes with trimming, using heat and bond adhesive for attaching the patch, and adding final stitches for a neat finish. This is ideal for anyone looking to personalize items with unique, handcrafted embroidery.

Discover more resources and tools to make modern embroidery designs

- Learn new embroidery techniques with 15 online creative embroidery courses covering everything from clothing design to cross-stitch artwork.

- Make custom embroidery designs from photos, drawings, and more with these six free online embroidery pattern makers.

- Get inspired by 10 incredible embroidery designers for different styles, from radical creators to haut couture fashion houses.

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