Hand Embroidery: Tips & Tricks for a Fun and Relaxing Workflow | Floor Giebels | Skillshare

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Hand Embroidery: Tips & Tricks for a Fun and Relaxing Workflow

teacher avatar Floor Giebels, Embroidery Artist

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Class Project


    • 3.



    • 4.

      Needle and Thread


    • 5.

      Taking Care of Yourself


    • 6.

      Start and End Your Stitch


    • 7.

      Finishing Your Embroidery Work


    • 8.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

When I started with hand embroidery I had so many questions and struggled to find answers. Over the years I found answers to my questions and I really want to share them with you in my new class.

Fabric: My threads always shined through the fabric and I wanted to have a more clean look; in this lesson, you will see my tip for creating that look.

Needle and Thread: Getting one thread through your needle is hard enough, but what if you want to have more threads in your thin needle?

Taking Care of Yourself: Taking care of your eyes and hands is very important. Let me show you the best way.

Start and End your stitch: I personally don't like to make knots in my threads. I love just to keep on going and just cut my thread.

Finishing Your Embroidery Work: There are many different ways of doing this, but I will show you a way without using glue and not showing your messy back with threads.

Meet Your Teacher

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Floor Giebels

Embroidery Artist

Top Teacher

Hi, my name is Floor and I'm a Dutch embroidery artist living in The Netherlands.

Originally from a design background, I found my artistic freedom and expression through the more traditional art of embroidery. Entirely self-taught, I started my journey in 2016 and am continually learning new skills and applying them to my work. I also like to explore the boundaries of traditional hand embroidery by creating some pieces as mixed media, to contrast and compliment the thread itself. 

I have found that embroidery has led me to explore the textures present in the world around me - living on the coast, the beautiful beaches, scenery and animals constantly offer me inspiration for new projects. One of my favorite topics to explore in my pieces is the interplay b... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Embroidery can look intimidating, but with the right tips and tricks, you will have all the confidence to try out every project you want to make. [MUSIC] My name is Floor Giebels, and I'm an embroidery artists and Skillshare top teacher. In this class, I'm going to show you five tips and tricks to improve your workflow with hand embroidery. Over the years I've had many frustrations with my hand embroidery, and there were always these simple little tips and tricks that made me want to pick up my embroidery again. In this class, I want to share those tips and tricks with you. I'm going to show you how to start and enter stage without having to make knot, hiding you loose threads and working in a way that is comfortable. After this class, you will hopefully feel inspired to pick up your embroidery project with a whole new look and try out these tips and tricks. This class is for beginners, but also for experienced embroiders because you just never know when that aha moment is going to hit you. That moment that you're like, "Wait a minute, now it makes sense. Now, I feel excited about this again and I want to start and back-up my embroidery projects." So join me in my class and let's find out if you're going to get your aha moment. 2. Class Project: [MUSIC] For the class project, I want you to first try out all the tips that you think will have value for you and tell me why you find them useful. I would actually also like it if you would write down the tips that you don't find useful and why you don't find them useful. I think there's also always a lot of value in why you don't think this is useful. There can be that you want to work in a way that is really neat and you don't want to hide things like, I just want to know what has value for you, but also what doesn't have value for you. I want to get inside your mind. I want you to share something related to embroidery that did not work, and you want to have a useful tip for that. I will show you mine, and maybe if someone has a great tip for me on how to do this. I always wanted to use a resin with my embroidery because I just love that effect. It just does not want to work. The embroidery threads gets really dark whenever I use resin on it and it just does not want to stay there. Maybe someone has a great tip for me on how to use resin with my embroidery, and I can do an update on how the tips worked for me. I just want you to have that same experience to also share something that you tried that didn't work, and why it didn't work, and there might be someone who is super experienced in that field because you might be someone like me who loves to just combine stuff. I like to combine embroidery things, and then other person might have experience in that field. You never know when someone might have the answers. Maybe I have the answer or someone in the Skillshare community has the answers. To upload your class project, you need to use your desktop or laptop. It does not work in the app, unfortunately, and let's be honest, we all know, you on your iPad or phone, because hand embroidery is just the best on the couch. On your desktop, you will see a Project and Resources, and underneath that, you will see a button to upload your class project. Then you will also see the PDF that I made to fill and you can upload in the project section. Let's get over again what you need to upload. One, share the tips that have value for you and why they have value for you. Does it make your work quicker or does it make your work look better? Share what did not have value for you, and why did it not have value for you. Last, what's something you find difficult with embroidery, and you would love to have some tips for that. Maybe we can all help. In this class, I'm going to share with you my tips for hand embroidery, and these steps are really for everything in the process. This can be workflow, easiness, but also how your embroidery will look. Traditionally, you have so many rules for embroidery and we are going to break them all [LAUGHTER] with these steps. I'm going to cover tips for fabric, thread and needle, working in a way that has the least amount of strain on your hands and important, eyes. Ending your stitch and starting your stitch and finishing your embroidery work. Those are all the topics we are going to cover in this class. Let's start with our first lesson, and that is all about the fabric. [MUSIC] 3. Fabric : [MUSIC] In the Netherlands where I'm from, if I went to any sewing store or hobby store, they would sell embroidery stuff, and it would only be aimed at cross stage. The fabric would also only be for cross stage everywhere, all the time. Of many different fabrics, I found that cotton is just the best. I like to use batiste cotton, but any cotton without a stretch is fine. But one problem, always stay with me. That was that every time when I would embroider, you would see all the threads on the back. This sounds like such a simple thing, but I realized that if I use a two layers of fabric, you would not see any threads shining through. It's really simple but you just have to think about it. So if you are worried about your stitch assigning through your fabric and revealing your messy bag, then just use two pieces of fabric. I know it sounds so simple, but it's just one of those things that are just so simple, but make a huge difference. It's time to open your PDF from the downloads and fill in if this step was helpful for you. I would love to know why it's helpful and also why you don't find it helpful. Let me know what kind of fabric you like to use and why. Now you know a great way to make your backside look all tidy and neat. Let's go to our next lesson, where I will show you my tips and tricks for needles and tracks. [MUSIC] 4. Needle and Thread : [MUSIC] Let's go over tips for needle and thread. I want to start with the needle. If you are beginning with embroidery, you will probably have many struggles at getting that thread in the eye of the needle, getting thin thread or one thread of embroidery floss in your needle will probably be not that difficult, it will in the beginning, of course, every thread you put in there will be difficult but after some time that will really go easy. But what if you want to use a thin needle and use two strands of thread? Because ideally the thinner the needle, the less of a hole it will make in the fabric, ideally you want to have a really thin needle. But the thinner the needle, the tinier the eyelid, the more difficult to get your thread to. You can make this a little bit more easier for yourself by using one long strand and make a double. What is also great about this trick is when you want to put your embroidery work away, the needle is secure in a loop of the thread. I'm sure when you do embroidery, you must have had this moment you cannot find your needle and all of your blood just rushes to your head and you're like, "I couldn't step on it and so I hate it." You know that moment where we know for sure, we left our needle in that exact spot, we always put it and for some reason it's not there and it's a distress moment. Oh no, did it fall on the floor? This way, it will always be attached to my hoop and the hoop covers the needle, so it's safe for my dog. If you have a two-year-old, it will only be safe, very, very high up or in another room. If you have a piece with line work and you only need to use black. Then, I would advise to buy cotton thread on a spool like this one. You don't have that fuss of splitting the skins. It lasts you so long. It's around €4 on Amazon. I have this one now for around four years. I don't know how this is with other countries, but in Holland, I know that when someone is diseased, unfortunately, a lot of times they take his stuff to the thrift shop, and a lot of times there are a lot embroidery stuff in it because it's older people and it's not something that people like, "That has a lot of value. I should sell this somewhere." No, they just give it to the thrift shops, so it's always a great place to buy your embroidery supplies. I love thrift shops, it goes with the whole flow of having embroidery and give it a second chance and just letting it live on. Let me know in the project section, if you have difficult with getting your thread in the needle. I would love to know where you get your supplies from. We covered the basics of the fabric, and a needle, and thread, and now we are going to cover, how to work in a way that is comfortable. [MUSIC] 5. Taking Care of Yourself: [MUSIC] You might think that this is not that important. You get a hoop and sit on a couch, and that's it. But if you work for a longer period of time or you want to speed up your workflow, it is a good idea to look at what you are using to make it easier for yourself. First off, you have these embroidery stands that you can attach to your table. These are great because you don't have to hold your hoop. It makes it so much easier to move your thread around. I love to sit at the end of my couch, so my back is supported and use a little side table for my embroidery stands. Now, if you want to maximize your workflow, you can try to use a bowed heads to have your tread go up and down. I personally can't do this. For some reason it just does not feel natural and I just don't like it. Before you think about ordering one of those embroidery stands, try asking around if someone has a table clamp and many crafts require a table clamp where you can clamp something in, for woodworking or for soldering. A lot of things required that. The embroidery stand is not something that is very necessary. It is more of a choice. I also use my embroidery hoop without a stand. It gives me more opportunities for some much needed dark cuddles with Annie. But something that is necessary and something I learned very quickly is to use good lights. I ended up having to wear glasses from using poor lighting with embroidery. Something that is very useful to put on your embroidery hoop or something that is close by is reading light that you can charge with an USB. I use it to put on my hoop or my stand and is so lightweight and very ideal to put a bag to take with you. When I have a project that is very small with lots of details, I like to use a magnifying lamp like this one. You just put it over your embroidery work and you make it a little bit more easier for yourself. I have to say that the one that you see here that I have also has a light. I just cannot find a cable anymore. I have to still locate that. You stick in there and then you can turn it on and then the magnifying lamp lights up and it's even more easier, but I cannot find it. Too many cables. It is ideal because it also is a light source, but don't lose your cable. Now with embroidery are making the same movements all the time. It can be nice to just have that relief from your hands. You have these products for carpal tunnel syndrome an embroider worse nightmare. But the help of these hand races or bends, make sure you not to get any of that or just to relieve it. Remember embroider stand is not necessary, but it's handy. Save your eyes and use a good lighting with a reading lamp. Magnified lab helps you with making smaller pieces and little details. If you experience some discomfort when doing embroidery, make sure to get something for your hands that relieves that carpal tunnel syndrome. Let me know in the project section, how you feel about using these tools to help you see better or to just help your workflow. Let's go to our next lesson where I will show you my tips on starting and ending your stitch. [MUSIC] 6. Start and End Your Stitch: [MUSIC] When I started with embroidery, I realized that I hate making knots in my thread. I hate it. When I have to start with my thread, I just love to keep on going and not stop to make a knot in the beginning of my thread. Over the years, I tried out several ways to make this process easier. I now start with my stitch just letting the ends hang there, and not make a knot. You will see that after a while, the other threads will just cover everything, and it is secure. Now, if I want to end my stitch, I do the same. I just cut it off, and the other stitches after that will cover it. But if I am really ending my project, so I'm not going to do anything anymore, I just leave my needle in the other threads. You can also do this with all of the threads if you feel more comfortable. But this is, you just have a nice, easy workflow. This way, you can really just keep going with your embroidery work and not stop with making a knot. This will make for such a great workflow in your work, and just easiness, and just niceness. Show in the project section how you like to start and end your stitch and why you like to start and end your stitch in a certain way. Because I am curious to know if you feel like that knot is really necessary, that you're really on it, otherwise, it will go out, or that it is something that is in your system, or how does that work for you? I would really love to know and find out what your opinion on that is. Let's go to our last lesson where I'm going to show you my tips on finishing your embroidery work. [MUSIC] 7. Finishing Your Embroidery Work: There are so many ways you can finish your embroidery work, but I want to show you my way for a nice, clean look on the back. Remember my tip I'm making the embroidery piece with two layers of fabric? This is a little follow-up, assuming you did that. What I'm going to do is get another piece of fabric. Don't use your nice embroidery fabric, but use something that is cheap and you don't use for something else. You're going to put that on the outer hoop and then put your own embroidery work over that fabric. Now you have the advantage of the two layers you used in the beginning, so nothing shines through, and you can even use a different color fabric for your backside. There are two ways of doing this. You can just glue it all down. But what I'm showing you here is that you can also go with a long piece of strand, a long thread, and just make a stitch going up, going down, going up, going down, all the way around, and then you have two of these threads that you can just pull, and then you also have in the backside. It's just an easier way. Maybe if you're not sure if you want to use that hoop or you don't want to glue it down. I can imagine that you are like, okay, I just have this piece. I want to have it nicely on the wall maybe for a second, and then I want to reuse the hoop. Who knows? Then this is also a really nice way to do that. But again, you can also glue it down. Any white glue will be good for this. Again, I would love to see in the project section, if you would like to try these steps and why [inaudible] and also why no. Do you like to see all the threads, or do you prefer to actually frame your piece? What do you do with your piece when it's done? It's time for our final lesson, and I just want to share my final thoughts. 8. Final Thoughts: I hope that using these tips will help you with your embroidery projects. Upload your class project, and I can't wait to see them. If you like this class or have a critique, then don't forget to leave a review. You can find me on Instagram, under fullmetalneedle, and I hope to see you again soon here on Skillshare. Bye-bye.