What is embroidery ?

    Embroidery is the method used for decorating fabrics with a needle and a thread.  Embroidery styles and techniques vary greatly but in this tutorial DMC will be featuring free style or “surface embroidery”.  This decorative stitching technique, with its varied stitches, is worked independent from the fabrics weave allowing you to embroider any design, realistic or abstract onto any fabric you choose.  Surface Embroidery offers you the greatest versatility to create beautiful designs using DMC’s colourful threads and specialty fibres.

    Learn how to embroider with DMC to create beautiful unique designs to embellish anything from apparel to home décor.  Embroidery’s worldwide application exemplifies our appreciation for detail and our desire for individuality. You’re favourite white t-shirt is plain, but add an embroidered design and it becomes an expression of your personal style. Recycle last season’s handbags and turn them into trendy fashionable items that you’ll be proud to show off. You can express yourself with a hand embroidered creation and DMC can show you how!
    SELECTING THE DESIGN, COLOURS, THREADS & STITCHES
     
    Designs can be found anywhere; get inspired by fashion magazines and the prints that are trendy right now. Craft and needlework stores have books, magazines and kits as well as stitched models for viewing. Design sites and blogs are available online and many have copy free patterns that can be downloaded at no cost.  Check out contemporary embroidery books that are on the market right now, there are a lot out there and contain great patterns that are quick to stitch up.

    Once you’ve selected a design for your project, the next step is to choose the colours.  The easiest way to explore the possibilities is to make several photocopies of the design and colour them in.  Once you’re settled on the colour palette, consider the threads and the stitches you want to use.  Think about how you want the design to look; smooth, textured, filled in with a pattern or outlined and open.  Review the embroidery stitches located in the Stitch Guide section, the types of threads you want to use and try to visualize the possibilities.  Don’t hesitate to try out a stitch or two; you can always remove them and start over again.

     
    CHOOSING THE RIGHT FABRIC
     
    There are many different types of fabrics and each has its own particular characteristic. When selecting a fabric you need to consider the embroidery techniques you’ll be using and the type of threads you’ll be stitching with. There are three basic kinds of fabric used for embroidery.

    Woven Fabrics have a smooth tightly woven surface and are commonly used in clothing and home goods. These items are perfect for embroidery projects, because there is no finishing required!

    Even-weave Fabrics are distinguished by their distinct evenly spaced threads and are traditionally used for counted thread techniques like cross stitch, lettering and pattern embroideries.

    Fabricated Fabrics are firm and non-fraying. Made by matting fibres together to form felt and suede materials, it’s a popular fabric valued for its soft feel and embroidery ease.

    All three fabric types are manufactured in natural and synthetic fibres, various weights and available in a rainbow of colours. Cotton, linen, felt, whatever you chose there’s a fabric match for your project.  Once you’ve selected a fabric, try embroidering several stitches so you can determine if you’ve chosen the right threads. A threaded needle should easily go into the fabric and the embroideries lie flat without puckering the surface. If the design and threads are hard to see, you may want to increase the number of thread strands or choose a thicker thread. If the thread overwhelms the fabric or distorts the design it may be too thick and a lighter one may be preferable.

    Tip: When choosing threads and fabrics make sure they are of similar weight. Delicate threads for light fabrics and thicker ones for heavier fabrics.

     
    SELECTING YOUR THREAD
     
    Surface embroidery will entice you to stitch with a variety of threads and fibres.  Choosing the thread that best suits your project is part of the creative process and often depends on the fabric you will be stitching on and the depth and texture you’re looking for in your embroidery.  Whatever you choose, DMC has a thread for you.  The DMC range of threads and specialty fibres has the perfect one for your project- colourful twisted Pearl Cottons, overdyes, Light Effects threads, glow in the darks, shimmering Satin thread and more.  All DMC threads are made from the highest quality materials and are 100% colour fast and fade resistant.

    DMC Mouline Stranded Cotton Thread is one of the most versatile threads for embroidery. It is comprised of 6 easily separated strands, allowing you to adjust the thickness of your stitching by using a different number of strands. Charts and instructions commonly refer to a strand as a ply (i.e. 6 ply embroidery thread). Mouline Stranded Cotton Thread is a soft thread made from long staple Egyptian cotton and mercerised to give it a beautiful lustrous sheen. DMC Mouline Stranded Cotton Thread is available in over 450 solid colours.

    DMC Pearl Cotton is easy to work with and appropriate for using on a wide variety of fabrics and all types of embroidery. DMC Pearl Cotton is a finely twisted non-divisible thread that has a supple silky feel that gives your embroidery a shiny raised texture and lustrous finish. DMC Pearl Cotton is available in four sizes 3, 5, 8 and 12. Size 3 is the thickest and size 12 is the finest. Pearl Cotton Skeins come in size 3 and 5 in over 250 colours, and Pearl Cotton Balls come in sizes 5, 8, and 12. Pearl Cotton size 5 is the most popular and commonly used size for embroidery.

    DMC Color Variations are a collection of “overdyed” threads that are beautifully designed to create subtle variations in colour without having to change threads. Each skein has a blend of soft multi-colours that flow seamlessly into one another along the length of the thread.  Color Variations are available in a distinct blend of colours in both 6-strand Mouline Stranded Cotton Thread and Pearl Cotton Size 5.

    DMC Light Effects are created to add light and reflective qualities to your design. These 6-strand glistening threads are the perfect specialty thread for highlights and decorative sparkles. Available in a diverse assortment of colours to compliment any embroidery, Light Effects come in these distinct colour groups:  Precious Metals, Jewels, Antiques, Pearlescents, Fluorescents and Glow-in-the-Dark.

    DMC Satin Thread is a silky 6-strand thread that adds exceptional beauty and sheen to embroidery. These lustrous threads glide easily through fabrics and come in a vibrant range of colours created to inspire. Use Satin Thread to embroider entire designs or to accent areas where you want a notable glossy shine.

     
    SELECTING THE RIGHT NEEDLE
     
    Needles come in various sizes, lengths, shaft thickness, eye shapes and are either pointed or blunt tipped. Needles are sized by number and the bigger the number, the smaller or finer the needle. In general, select a needle that opens up a large enough hole in the fabric to allow the thread easily pass through. Refer to the DMC Needle Guide to see which needles are best for the thread being used.

    For most of your embroidery projects you will be using DMC Embroidery Needles or DMC Chenille Needles. DMC Embroidery Needles have a long eye for easy threading, and a very sharp point which will pierce close-woven fabrics.  DMC Chenille Needles are also sharp pointed and long-eyed, but run only in the upper size range like the DMC Tapestry Needles so they are ideal to use with thicker threads.

    Click here to see how to thread your needles


    EMBROIDERY KIT
     
    You are going to need some basic items to get started. DMC manufactures premium quality supplies at a great value, for any type of needlework project. The following products are recommended:

    - DMC Thread
    - DMC Embroidery or Chenille Needle
    - A piece of fabric or the item that you are embroidering onto
    - Water Soluble Pen or Chalk Pencil
    - Tracing Paper
    - DMC Colour Card
    - A pair of DMC Premium Steel Italian Embroidery Scissors
    - An Embroidery Hoop
    - DMC Needle Threader

    Other helpful tools to have on hand:

    - Good Lighting (LINK to DMC Product Pages)
    - Thimble
    - Tweezers
    - Ruler or Tape Measure
    - DMC Stitchbow System & products
    - DMC Armchair Organizer

     
    EMBROIDERY PRODUCTS
     
    Transfer pens contain a non-permanent, blue ink that allows you to easily transfer designs onto fabric. ATransfer Pen works well on light and medium coloured fabrics. The blue ink is completely water-soluble so that once the embroidery has been completed the markings can be removed with a lightly dampened cloth. Transfer pencils are chalk-based and allow designs to be easily transferred onto dark coloured fabrics. The white pencil markings are removed by using a damp cloth, just like the transfer pen, or can easily be removed by gently rubbing the fabric clean. Wax-free Tracing Paper can also be used to transfer a design onto fabric

    TIP: White chalk pencil lines can be accidentally removed when stitching.  Take care to avoid rubbing or placing your hand on the design areas until the embroidery is completed.

    Click here to see different ways to transfer your design.


    SCISSORS
     



    choose from any one of DMC’s premium steel Italian embroidery scissors for cutting your threads and fine detail work. It is also a good idea to pick up a pair of fabric scissors, found at your local craft store, to cut the pieces of fabric for your projects. Remember to only use your scissors for cutting fabric and threads! Cutting paper or cardboard will ruin them in a hurry.


    DMC COLOUR CARD
     




     The DMC Colour Card is a wonderful reference tool to have on hand when searching for a special colour.  It allows you to view the entire thread colour range and compare the subtle shades of each colour available in the DMC thread range  With the DMC colour card you can choose your own colour palettes to personalise any cross stitch design or find a substitute shade should your shop be out of a colour.


    EMBROIDERY HOOPS
     




    Embroidery Hoops help keep the fabric taut and your stitches even. Round hoops are the most common shape available and generally range in size from 3” to 12”.  They’re made from either plastic or wood and come in various styles and screw locking systems. Select a hoop that is slightly larger than the design area.  The fabric should extend about 2” beyond the edges of the hoop to allow you to position and secure the fabric properly.
    To thread your needle it is easiest to use the DMC Needle Threader. To use the DMC Needle Threader, slide the eye of the needle onto the hook, then loop the thread on the hook and pass the hook through the eye of the needle and pull the thread through.



     
    Here are some other ways to thread your needle without the assistance of a threader:
     

    PINCH AND POKE
     



    Pinch and Poke – Cut a clean end of thread and pinch it between your thumb and forefinger, leaving only a little of the end exposed. Holding the needle in your other hand, “poke” the eye of the needle over the tip and the thread into the eye, then pull the thread through. Pinching the thread gives you more control to guide the thread into the eye. You may have to “saw” the eye of the needle back and forth slightly to get the thread to enter the eye.

     
    LOOP, PINCH AND PRESS

     

     
    Loop, Pinch and Press – Loop the end of thread over the eye of the needle and pinch the loop tightly between your thumb and forefinger. Remove the needle from the loop and press the eye of the needle down over the thread. Pull on the loop to get the thread through the eye of the needle.

    Embroidery Quick Start Guide

    Get the basics! Learn to embroider and create beautiful unique pieces – Warning! Your friends will be extremely proud of your creative crafty abilities!


    EMBROIDERY TOOL KIT
    -          DMC Threads        
    -          Design of your choice
    -          Fabric or item you are going to embroider onto
    -          DMC Chenille or Embroidery Needle
    -          DMC Embroidery Scissors
    -          Tracing Paper, Water Soluble Pen, Chalk Pencil
    -          Embroidery Hoop


    PREPARATION

    Separate your Thread – DMC Mouline Stranded Cotton Thread is composed of six strands that are twisted together and easy to separate. Many embroidery designs call for different strands of thread, so you will need to separate your thread. Refer to your design chart to see how many strands (or plies) of thread the design specifies.



     

    Find the end of the thread on your skein of DMC Thread. Slowly pull the end out from the skein until you have an 50cm (18”) length of thread and cut it off. To separate the thread into individual strands, pull one strand up and out slowly until it is completely separated from the remaining strands. Continue to pull out the number of strands you need to stitch with.  To rejoin the threads, hold them together at one end then gently pass your hand over the lengths to smooth and recombine them.


    Prepare Fabric - Place your fabric into an embroidery hoop. Click here for directions on how to use an embroidery hoop.

    Transferring a Design to your fabric - The technique to transfer a design onto fabric depends on the colour and thickness or weight of the fabric. You can use Embroidery Tracing Paper to make it easy to trace your design onto your fabric. Click here to see other methods of transferring an embroidery design to your fabric.

    To use Tracing Paper - Place your fabric on a hard smooth surface and tape it down to secure.  Position the tracing paper over the fabric with the coloured side down.  Place the design over the transfer paper and tape it into place.  Carefully trace the design with a stylus or an empty fine point ball tip pen.  To achieve the best results, take your time and use a long continuous line with even pressure rather than a sketching motion.  Use the dark coloured paper for light coloured fabrics and the light coloured paper for darker fabrics.

    Thread your needle – Follow this handy needle threading guide to thread your needle with the DMC Needle Threader. Click here for the DMC Needle Guide to refer to which needle you should use.





    START STITCHING:

    DMC Quick Embroidery Stitch Tips:
    - Perfectly Spaced Stitches – to achieve uniform stitch size when embroidering a line or band, use a ruler or tape measure to mark tiny evenly spaced dots along the stitching line with a water soluble marker. You will learn to gauge stitch distances with experience.
    - Stab “Up and Down” – when working with your fabric in a hoop it is preferable to stab the needle vertically up and down through the fabric to achieve well-formed and even stitches.
    - Keep your Tension Even- to create smooth uniform stitches, pull each stitch with the same amount of tension. If the stitch is too loose the stitch will appear limp and if the stitch is pulled too tightly the fabric will pucker and cause the design to become distorted.


    STARTING AND STOPPING

    Starting

    To create beautiful “bump-free” embroidery, DMC recommends you start your stitching using one of the methods described below.

    Waste Knot Method

    Use when stitching a line and no previous stitching is available to secure your thread. Knot the end of the thread and take your needle from the front to the back about 1” or so from your starting point (and on the line to be stitched).  Bring the needle up to the front at the starting point. Start stitching towards the knot, being sure to cross over the thread on the back with each stitch to secure it. When your stitching reaches the knot, pull it up and snip it close to the fabric.

     


    STOPPING

    To end a thread, run your threaded needle under the last few stitches on the back of the fabric, and clip off the excess thread.  After rethreading the needle to continue, simply run the needle under several stitches on the back to secure the thread and resume stitching.

     


    Refer to the DMC Embroidery Stitch Guide to learn how to stitch 27 different embroidery stitches.
    DMC’S GENERAL STITCHING TIPS:
     
    - Prevent the thread from twisting while you stitch by turning your needle a slight quarter to half turn with each stitch.
    - If your thread gets twisted while stitching, drop the threaded needle and let it hang freely until it “unwinds”.
    - Avoid running the thread across the back of the fabric to go to a new stitching area, instead start and stop in each section to assure that running threads don’t show through on the front side of the fabric.
    - Keep your hands clean and avoid handling food and drinks when you stitch.
    - Mark dots for uniform stitch size – to achieve uniform stitch size, use a ruler or tape measure to mark tiny evenly spaced dots along the stitching line. You will learn to gauge stitch distances with experience.
    - Stab “Up and Down” – when working with your fabric in a hoop it is preferable to stab the needle vertically up and down through the fabric when making each stitch.
    - Keep your Tension Even- to create smooth uniform stitches, pull each stitch with the same amount of tension. If the stitch is too loose the stitch will appear limp and if the stitch is pulled too tightly the fabric will pucker and cause the design to become distorted.
    - Learn How to Use Both Hands When Stitching – learning how to manipulate the needle takes practice and learning how to hold a hoop while stitching takes time. Sometimes both hands are necessary to complete a stitch and the hand holding the hoop must be used to assist in keeping a loop in place while the other hand stitches.
    - A floor or table stand allows you to keep both hands free for stitching.  If you find it difficult to use both hands while trying to hold a hoop, try using a stand.
     

    DMC EMBROIDERY STITCH GUIDE
     
    The stitches are grouped into four types, each offering different effects and uses for embroidery:

    Outline – Used for outlining the elements of your design.

    Border – Used to secure edges and to add textural dimension to your design.

    Detached – Used to create decorative details or in mass to fill in open areas of the design.

    Filling – Used to create shading or to solidly fill in a design area.

    Running Stitch

    Uses: outlining, straight and curved lines.
    - Work from right to left.
    - Bring thread up at 1 then down at 2, up at 3 and down at 4 and continue.
    - The spaces between the stitches can be the same length as the stitches or shorter for a different look.

    Tips:
    - Keep an even tension and avoid pulling thread or the stitches will pucker.
    - See Laced Running Stitch for a variation of this stitch.


     

    Back Stitch

    Uses: outlining, straight and curved lines.
    - Work from right to left.
    - Bring needle up at 1 and back down at 2.
    - Move left and bring needle up at 3, then back down at 1.  Continue stitching.

    Tips:
    - Make shorter stitches for curved lines and shapes.


     

    Split Stitch
    Uses: Outlining, straight and curved lines, filling a shape by working rows closely together.
    - Work from left to right.
    - Bring needle up at 1 and down at 2.
    - Bring needle back up at 3, splitting the centre of the previous stitch.
    - Take needle down at 4 and then back up at 2.
    - Continue stitching.

    Tips:
    - Make shorter stitches for curvy lines.
    - Use to outline a shape before stitching Satin Stitch to create a raised effect.



     

    Stem Stitch

    Uses: Outlining, straight and curved lines, stems for plants, filling if rows are stitched closely together. Creates a rope like appearance.
    - Work from left to right.
    - Bring needle up at 1 and down at 2.
    - Bring needle back up halfway between 1 and 2 at 3, just slightly above the first stitch.
    - Be sure to keep thread below the needle.
    - Continue stitching
    Tip:
    - Make smaller stitches for curved lines to maintain a rounded smooth look.
     

     

    Chain Stitch

    Uses: Outlining, straight and curved lines, filling if rows are stitched closely together.

    - Work from top to bottom.
    - Bring needle up at 1 and then reinsert needle in same hole, forming a loop.
    - Bring needle up at 2 and pull thread to tighten loop until desired shape is achieved.
    - Repeat multiple stitches to create a chain.
    - To end the row make a small stitch over the last loop to hold it in place to secure thread on back.

    Tip:
    - It is important to keep your thread tension even to create a consistent looking chain.


     

    Couching

    Uses: Outlining shapes, straight and curvy lines, spirals, bold dimensional accents, decorative borders.

    This stitch involves two threads: a thicker foundation thread, (also called the laid thread) and a thinner thread (called the couching thread).

    - Bring foundation thread onto the front and place along the design line.
    - Bring the couching thread up under the foundation thread and make a tiny stitch over the thread, going back into or very close to the entry hole.
    - Continue making evenly spaced stitches over the foundation thread to anchor the foundation thread in place.
    - To finish couching, bring the foundation thread onto the back and secure it.
    - Secure couching thread on back.

    Tip:
    - Use a matching coloured thread for the couching stitches to blend in or a contrasting colour for a bolder look.
    - Use DMC cotton Thread (1 strand) to couch down solid colour foundation threads and use one strand of DMC Light Effects Thread to couch down thicker metallic foundation threads.



     
    Blanket Stitch

    Uses: Straight and gently curved lines, borders and finishing edges.

    - Work from left to right.
    - Bring needle up at 1, down at 2 and up at 3, keeping the thread looped under the needle.
    - Pull thread through and shape stitch as desired.
    - Repeat multiple stitches until complete.

    Tips:
    - For an even line of stitching keep the height of the stitches even throughout.
    - To vary the look of the stitch, change the height of each stitch making one long and one short.



    Whip
    Stitch (Overcast stitch)

    Uses
    : is used for seaming fabrics, either right or wrong sides together. The stitches should be about 1/16" apart, and only as deep as necessary to create a firm seam.

    - Bring needle up at 1 and down at 2 making sure to pierce both pieces of fabric to bind together.
    - Bring needle back up at 3 and down 4, continue stitching the seam.

    Tip:
    - Leave a tail of thread when you start, and work several stitches over it to secure and hide the thread.
     

     


    Ladder Stitch

    Uses – Appliqué, bind two seams together.

    - Bring needle up at 1 and through the fabric a short distance to 2, keeping the thread hidden under the fabric (dashed lines).
    - Bring needle over to 3 and repeat.
    - Only the vertical stitches should show on the front of the fabric.  Stitches indicated by dashed lines will be hidden in the base fabric, or in the folds of the appliqué.
    - Continue stitching.


     

    Laced Running Stitch

    Uses: Borders, decorative outlining.

    - Stitch a line of Running Stitches.
    - Bring the lacing thread up at 1 and lace it under the next running stitch.
    - Continue lacing the thread up and down through the running stitches keeping the loops even.
    - To finish the lacing, bring the lacing thread onto the back under the centre of the last stitch.

    Tip:
    - Use a blunt tip Tapestry needle for the lacing thread. This will help prevent you from piercing the fabric or the Running Stitch threads.




    Coral Stitch

    Uses: Decorative borders, foliage, plant stems

    Working from right to left, hold the working thread to the left of the starting point (or the last stitch). Insert the needle into the fabric above the working thread and bring the tip of the needle out just under the thread.  Wrap the thread around the needle from left to right and pull the needle through the resulting loop.



     

    Cross Stitch

    Uses: Borders and filling if worked in adjacent rows.

    To stitch a line:

    - Stitching from left to right, bring needle up at 1, down at 2, then up at 3 and down at 4.
    - Continue stitching across to end of line.
    - Start back stitching from right to left, make crosses by bringing the needle up at 5 and down at 6. Continue until all crosses have been stitched.

    Tip:
    - Be sure to keep the top stitch on the cross the same direction throughout a project.


     

    Upright Cross Stitch

    Uses: Borders, fillings, decorative.

    - Work left to right.
    - Create a horizontal stitch by bringing needle up at 1 and down at 2.
    - Create a vertical stitch by bringing your needle up at 3 and down at 4.
    - To create the next upright cross stitch bring your needle up at 5 and down at 6.
    - Bring your needle back up at 7 and down at 8.
    - Continue stitching.



     

    Herringbone Stitch

    Uses: Border, edging, can be stitched over a ribbon or braid to hold it down.

    - Work from left to right.
    - Bring needle up at 1, and down at 2.
    - Bring needle up at 3 and down at 4 to create an elongated cross stitch.
    - Bring needle up at 5 and continue.

    Tip:
    - Mark two parallel lines with Water Soluble Pens to keep stitch height uniform.


     

    Chevron Stitch

    Uses: Border, edging, can be stitched over a ribbon or braid to hold it down.

    - Work from left to right.
    - Bring needle up at 1, down at 2.
    - Bring the tip of the needle back through the fabric halfway between 1 and 2 at point 3.
    - Bring the needle up to 4 and make a backstitch by bringing your needle up from 5 down at 6.
    - Bring the tip of your needle back through the fabric halfway between 5 and 6 at point 7.
    - Bring your needle down at 8 and repeat the stitching sequence.
    Tip:
    - Mark two parallel lines with Water Soluble Pens to keep stitch height uniform.
     

     

    Cloud Filling Stitch

    Uses: Filling in spaces

    - Lay a groundwork of small, evenly spaced vertical stitches, alternating the placement of the stitches as shown in the diagram.
    - Weave your thicker secondary thread through the network of stitches in rows.
    - When starting from the right, thread the needle under the first vertical stitch, then bring tour needle through the vertical stitch to the lower right.  Next, thread your needle under the next vertical stitch to the upper right. Continue stitching in a zig-zag motion to the end of the row.
    - Work the next row in the opposite direction.

    Tip:                               
    - Use an embroidery hoop to keep your tension even throughout, and don’t pull too tightly when weaving your secondary thread through your vertical stitches.

     

    Feather Stitch

    Uses: Decorative border edges, seam embellishment, foliage and stems.

    - Work vertically, from top to bottom.
    - Bring needle up at 1 and back down to right at 2, leaving a loop on the front.
    - Bring the needle back up at 3 and pull thread to shape loop as desired.
    - Insert the needle to the right of 4 at 5, leaving a loop of thread on the front.
    - Bring needle up at 6 and pull thread to shape loop.
    - Take next stitch to the left and continue stitching.
    - To finish, take a small stitch over the last loop.

    Tip:
    - Mark 4 parallel guidelines to create even width stitches (be sure to use a removable marker as the stitches wont fully cover the guidelines)


     

    Lazy Daisy Stitch (Detached Chain Stitch)

    Uses: Stitch in a circle to create flowers, single stitches can be leaves.

    Similar to the chain stitch, but the loops are “detached” instead of connecting.

    - Come up at 1 and back down in the same hole or right next to point 1, forming a loop on the front side.
    - Bring needle up at 2 and pull thread to shape loop into desired shape. Pulling tighter creates a straighter looking stitch, while a looser thread creates a more rounded loop.

    Tip:
    - Finish centre of flower with a cluster of French Knots.


     

    Fly Stitch

    Uses: Stitch in rows for edging or singly for accents, plants and foliage, decorative lines, interesting filling.

    - Bring needle up at 1 and down at 2, leaving a loop.
    - Come up at 3 and with the needle over the loop, pull the thread to shape a V.
    - Go down at 4 to anchor the V shape.

    Tip:
    - Lengthen the anchor stitch to form a Y.


     

    Seed Stitch

    Uses: Filling spaces, flower centres, background textures like leaves, snow and sand.

    Two small straight stitches side by side and randomly placed to fill an area.

    - Come up at 1 and down at 2.
    - Come up at 3 and down at 4.
    - Continue grouping stitches together randomly and at different angles to look like they are scattered like seeds.

    Tip:
    - Stitch in even rows for a decorative border stitch.


     

    French Knot

    Uses: Decorative dots, filling flower centres, leaves, plants, eyes.

    - Bring needle up at 1.
    - Hold thread taut with other hand and wrap the thread twice around end of the needle.
    - Gently pull the thread so that the wrapped threads tighten and while holding it taut, insert the needle next to 1. Pull thread through onto the back until the knot is formed and lies securely on the surface.

    Tip:
    - To make a larger knot, wrap the thread around the needle a couple of extra times or use a thicker thread.


     

    Bullion Knot

    Uses: Decorative dots, leaves, plants

    The Bullion Knot is very similar to the French Knot, but you loop the thread around the needle more times, producing a worm of a knot that is inserted a slight distance from the needle’s original entry point.

    - Make a back stitch, the length of the bullion knot required.
    - Bring the needle out at 1, but do not bring it out all the way.
    - Twist the thread around the needle point, as many times as is necessary to equal the length of the back stitch.
    - Holding the left thumb on the coiled thread, turn the needle back to 1 and insert it in the same place. Pull the thread through until the bullion knot lies flat.



     

    Colonial Knot

    Uses: Use alone as decorative accents, or stitch close together to form lines and or fill in shapes.

    - Bring need up through fabric and wrap the thread up, over and behind the needle forming a figure 8 around the needle.
    - Insert the tip of the needle back through the fabric, close to where it first came up, but not in the same hole. Pull the thread carefully until a knot is formed, then push the needle to the back and pull the thread through.
    Tip:
    - Use instead of a French knot if you want a slightly larger and higher knot.


     

    Star Stitch

    Uses: Decorative accents, stars, flowers, in a row for a border, disperse randomly for loose filling or stitch close together for denser filling.

    - Starting at the top, bring the needle up at 1 and down to the centre at 2.
    - Bring the needle up at 3 and down to centre at 2.
    - Continue stitching in a clockwise direction until you have 8 evenly placed stitches to create a star.

    Tip:
    - To create an eyelet effect, tighten the tension on each stitch to create an opening in the centre. This technique works well on evenweave fabrics.


     

    Satin Stitch

    Uses: Solid filling for shapes, great for monograms

    - Bring needle up at 1, down at 2, then back up right next to 1 and down right next to 2.
    - Place stitches closely together to fill in area.
    - Be sure the thread lays flat and without any twisting to produce a smooth look.

    Tip:
    - To raise the stitching, Split Stitch just inside the outline of the shape before starting.
     

     


    Padded Satin Stitch

    Uses: Solid filling for shapes.

    - Stitch a cluster of seed stitches.
    - Stitch the satin stitch over to create a beautiful raised look.



     

    Long and Short Stitch

    Uses: Filling of larger shapes especially when colour shading is desired.

    - First work a row of alternating long and short Satin Stitches. Keep the upper edge of the design line even.
    - Next work a second row of long even length stitches into the short stitches of the first row, passing the needle through the tip of the stitch above.
    - Continue stitching rows until the shape is nearly filled and the last row of long stitches are worked along the bottom of the design line.
    - Stitch the last row with short stitches to fill in the open area along the bottom.

    Tip:
    - To achieve shading, change the thread colour as needed by row.

    TRANSFERRING DESIGNS

    The technique to transfer a design onto fabric depends on the colour and thickness or weight of the fabric. There are a number of different products to enable you to transfer your designs. Test your method first to avoid the disappointment of lines that won’t go away or worse yet – bleed when washed. Always read and follow the manufactures directions on the transfer product of your choice.

    There are numerous methods for transferring designs.  The most common and easiest are listed below.

    Tracing

    Draw the embroidery design onto white paper using a black marker. Place the design under the fabric and using your preferred transfer tool (DMC Soluble Pen or Chalk Pencil), copy the design by tracing it directly onto the fabric.  To see the design more easily, tape the paper and fabric onto a sunny window or use a light box.  This method is appropriate for light coloured and light weight fabrics. If you are using a DMC Pen, the blue ink is completely water-soluble so that once the embroidery has been completed, the markings can be removed with a lightly dampened cloth. For darker coloured fabrics use DMC Transfer Pencils which are chalk-based. The white pencil markings are removed by using a damp cloth, just like the transfer pen, or can easily be removed by gently rubbing the fabric clean.   

    Tracing Paper/Dressmakers Carbon

    Place a piece of the Tracing Paper, also known as transfer paper, colour-side down on your fabric and place the pattern on top of the paper. Transfer the design to the fabric by tracing the pattern using a stylus or empty ball-point pen. Use the light paper for dark fabrics for and the dark paper for light-coloured fabrics.

    Create Your Own Computer Transfer

    Scan your own design or one that’s copy right free and print it onto specialty transfer printer paper following manufactures directions.  Transfer papers can be found in most office supply stores and at some needlework and quilt shops.

    Iron-on Designs

    Paper-backed Iron-on Transfer designs are available in a variety of colours and styles.  Be sure to follow the manufactures directions before using.

    Stencils

    Stencils are great for repeat patterns, mixing and matching for a unique style. Or you can use a few elements of a stencil design to create a distinctive individualised look. Tracing stencils works best on medium weight fabrics such as cotton, lightweight denim, silk, linen, rayon and various synthetic blends.

    1.  Select the stencil design you would like to embroider.

    2.  Position stencil on right side of fabric and secure in place (tape works well). Use the DMC Transfer Pen or Pencil to trace the design following the cut-out areas of the stencil.

    3.  If the fabric has any stretch to it, you may find it easier to make small dots with the DMC Transfer Pen or Pencil along the cut out lines, rather than drawing a solid line.

    4.  When using the Transfer Pen press lightly when tracing and keep moving along the cut-outs without pausing. Holding the marker in one spot for too long could create a thicker line than needed.

    5.  If a textured fabric is being used, more pressure may need to be applied when tracing the stencil.

    6.  If you need to make any corrections to your design placement, simply dab the traced lines with a damp cloth to remove markings.

    7.  Stitch over the traced lines with a line embroidery stitch of your choice or fill in the open areas with a filling stitch.

     TIP: For best results when using any of these transfer methods, your needlework fabric should be clean and free of any starch or protective coatings, as these coatings can interfere with the ink or chalk transferring to the fabric.

    Note: These transfer methods are removable and should not be confused with hot iron transfer ink pens, pencils or patterns. Heat transfer methods create a permanent image that must be completely covered by stitching to be invisible. When using a hot iron transfer pencil, also remember that a reverse image of the design will be created.  This means that your pattern needs to be traced in reverse before transferring the design to the fabric.


    PREPARE YOUR FABRIC OR STITCHING SURFACE

    - Fabrics that will be washed should be washed before you begin stitching. This will ensure the fabric will not shrink after investing your time stitching.
    - Iron out any creases before stitching to make it easier to stitch evenly and ensure that you won’t end up with wrinkles that you can’t get out afterwards.
    - Leave ample room around the design before cutting the fabric to allow for the finishing you’ve chosen.
    - Finish the edges of fabric to prevent them from unravelling by either zig-zagging or cutting with pinking shears.

    See below for a step-by-step on how to easily insert your fabric into an embroidery hoop.

    How to use an embroidery hoop:



    Loosen the screw or nut on the outer embroidery hoop and separate the inner and outer rings. The outer ring will hold the fabric over the inner ring once you have inserted the fabric.

     



    Place the inner ring on a flat surface. Place your fabric over it, then put the outer ring over the fabric and press until the bottom ring is snug inside the outer ring.  Tug the corners of the fabric slightly to make the fabric taunt – make sure this is as tight as possible so the fabric won’t slip out of the hoop.

     



    Tighten the nut or screw securely. Your fabric is now in place and ready to embroider.

    Tip: Never leave your work in the hoop for an extended period of time. This can cause creases in the fabric that are difficult to remove. It is best to take your work out of the hoop when you’re not working on it, as it only takes a moment to place it back in the hoop.


    PREPARE YOUR THREAD

    Refer to your design chart to see what type of thread is suggested. For embroidery thread the design will tell you how many strands or plies of thread the design calls for.

    Thread is a 6 stranded fibre.  You will usually not stitch with all 6 strands of thread so you will have to separate the thread before stitching.  To start, find the end of the thread on your skein of DMC Thread. Slowly pull the end out from the skein until you have an 50cm (18”) length of thread and cut it off. To separate the thread into individual strands, pull one strand up and out slowly until it is completely separated from the remaining strands. Continue to pull out the number of strands you need to stitch with.  To rejoin the threads, hold them together at one end then gently pass your hand over the lengths to smooth and recombine them.



    If you are using Pearl Cotton There are two common ways to open and cut a skein of Pearl Cotton, depending on the length of thread you prefer or need.

    For approximately 50cm (19”) lengths of thread: Push the two labels toward the centre.  Find the end with the two loops and cut through the bottom of each loop.  Move the labels back into place. Pick and pull out a single piece of thread from the top loop.

     


    For approximately 100cm (38”) lengths of thread: Remove both labels and untwist skein to form an oval. Cut through all the threads at one end of the oval. Pick and remove one thread for use as needed. To keep the threads tidy for future use, put the colour number label back onto the threads and slide it to the centre.  Fold the threads in half and set aside.



    TIP:  Pearl Cotton is commonly stitched using one full strand for embroideries and is not doubled up to make a thicker thread.  If you want a heavier thread for your embroidery choose a Pearl Cotton 3 or a size 5.  If you are working a delicate stitch or using a light weight fabric, use a Pearl Cotton 12 or a size 8 for your embroidery.

    THREAD YOUR NEEDLE

    To thread your needle it is easiest to use the DMC Needle Threader. To use the DMC Needle Threader, slide the eye of the needle onto the hook, then loop the thread on the hook and pass the hook through the eye of the needle and pull the thread through.



    Here are some other ways to thread your needle without the assistance of a threader:



    Loop, Pinch and Press          

    Loop, Pinch and Press – Loop the end of thread over the eye of the needle and pinch the loop tightly between your thumb and forefinger. Remove the needle from the loop and press the eye of the needle down over the thread. Pull on the loop to get the thread through the eye of the needle.



    Pinch and Poke

    Pinch and Poke – Cut a clean end of thread and pinch it between your thumb and forefinger, leaving only a little of the end exposed. Holding the needle in your other hand, “poke” the eye of the needle over the tip and the thread into the eye, then pull the thread through. Pinching the thread gives you more control to guide the thread into the eye. You may have to “saw” the eye of the needle back and forth slightly to get the thread to enter the eye.


    STARTING AND STOPPING

    Starting

    To create beautiful “bump-free” embroidery, DMC recommends starting your stitching with one the methods described below.

    In line Waste Knot Method

    This “beginners” starting technique is best used to start a new design or to start stitching in a new area of the design. Knot the end of your thread and take your needle from the front to the back about 1” or so from your starting point running the thread along the same line you plan to stitch. Bring the needle up to the front of the fabric at the starting point of your first cross stitch.  Start stitching towards the knot, being sure to cross over the thread on the back with each stitch to secure it. When your stitching reaches the knot, pull the knot up and clip it off close to the fabric and continue stitching.



    Away Knot Method

    Another easy way to start a new design or to start stitching in a new area of the design is the Away Knot.  Knot the end of the thread and take your needle from the front side onto the back several inches away from your starting point and start stitching. When you finish stitching with that thread, pull the knot up and clip it off. Turn your work over, re-thread the needle with the remaining thread and weave the thread through several stitches on the back to secure it.




    Stitching Over Method

    Pull your threaded needle up onto the front side of the fabric, leaving a 2.5cm (1”) end of thread on the back. Hold the end of thread against the back of the fabric in the direction you plan to stitch and work the first 4 to 5 stitches over it to secure it into place.  Be sure to check the back to confirm that your stitches are covering the thread and clip any loose ends before continuing to stitch.

    Once you have started a project, you can secure new threads by weaving the thread under several adjacent stitches on the back. Continue stitching.
     

    Stopping

    To end a thread, run your threaded needle under the last few stitches on the back of the fabric, and clip off the excess thread.  After rethreading the needle to continue, simply run the needle under several stitches on the back to secure the thread and resume stitching.



    Starting and Stopping on clothing, tableware & bed linens

    Knotting embroidery threads are not generally recommended because they cause unsightly bumps on the fabric.  The exception is when stitching on pre-finished items that will endure repeated wear and multiple washings. To assure that the stitches remain secure, a small knot at the starting and stopping points are recommended.


    What to do if you make a mistake:

    If you make a mistake when embroidering don’t worry!

    - If you make an error and notice it right away, correct the stitches by unthreading your needle and gently pulling out the stitches.
    - If you made a large error or the mistake is surrounded by other stitching, the stitches will have to be cutaway.  Working from the back, carefully clip the stitches with the tip of your embroidery scissors and remove threads with a pair of tweezers.