hand embroidery supplies

Are you looking for the perfect tools to keep your needles tidy and your floss organized? Read on for an overview of essential hand embroidery supplies you should have in your kit and recommendations of our favorite products.

New to embroidery? Check out our embroidery tips for beginners to help you create stunning projects.

Best embroidery supplies for all levels

Whether you’re an experienced embroiderer or just getting started in the craft, having the right embroidery supplies is essential. They will help to eliminate the common embroidery stresses and issues, and help you to achieve better results in your projects.

1. Needle minder

Needles can be hard to keep track of while you’re working.

Finding a needle in a haystack is impossible, and locating a loose needle in your workspace is nearly as difficult. Not to mention, finding the needle by accident can be rather painful!

A needle minder is an embroidery accessory with a special slot to keep your needle secure between stitches.  Sometimes called a needle nanny, this handy item usually has a magnet to hold it onto your needle as you work.

Top pick: Wooden magnetic needle minder

We love this needle minder because it is not only a great way to keep your needle organized while working, but also super pretty too! The carved wooden design contains a powerful magnet to secure your needle, and it comes in a set of two so you’ll have one spare!

2. Erasable pen

An erasable pen is an essential item in any embroiderer’s toolkit. It allows you to mark your designs on your fabric so you can then accurately embroider over the top.

It is important to use a pen that is designed to be easily erased from fabric, rather than a normal pen or pencil. If you mark your design with a water erasable pen, you just need to hand or machine wash your project to remove the markings, while running an iron over heat erasable markings will make them disappear.

Best heat erasable: Madam heat erasable fabric marking pens

This set of four fabric marker pens have extra-fine 0.7mm tips for precise markings that will vanish with just a hot iron. With four different colors, you’ll be able to mark on any fabric and still be able to clearly see your design, or use different colors to show different parts of the pattern.

Best water erasable: Leonis water erasable marking pens

If you’d prefer to be able to wash out your pattern markings, try these Leonis water erasable pens. These markers can be easily removed with just water, and have fine points for accurately marking intricate designs.

3. Floss organizer

Once you start to build up a collection of embroidery floss, you’ll find that you need a way to keep it organized. This is invaluable in avoiding the frustration of tangled threads.

A floss organizer is a tool that keeps each skein of floss in its own place, allowing you to effortlessly pull out a strand at a time as you need it. They come in various shapes and sizes, but it is a good idea to look for one with at least 30 spaces for different floss, preferably more.

Top pick: iReaydo Floss Organizer

With 50 positions for different skeins of floss, you won’t run out of space even as your collection grows. We recommend this organizer, because it is made of sturdy plastic with compact foam notches to keep your floss neat without damaging it. There are also handy windows over each hook to record the color number, which you can also use to hold pre-threaded needles.

4. Floss bobbins

Another handy accessory for keeping your floss in order is the floss bobbin. You can work directly from skeins or use a floss organizer, but many embroiderers find it easier to transfer their floss onto a bobbin.

Keeping your floss on a bobbin means it won’t tangle, while being easy to unwind a length when needed. Bobbins can also be neatly organized into boxes for storage – keep reading for recommendations on the best storage boxes for embroidery floss!

Top pick: Bulk set of plastic floss bobbins

These floss bobbins are made of quality, durable plastic with slots in the top and a circle in the bottom for keeping thread tails tidy. This bulk pack comes with 300 bobbins. This may seem like a lot, but you’ll easily fill this with different colors and types of floss.

5. Embroidery stabilizer

An embroidery stabilizer is used to make sure the fabric stays steady while you work, and preserves the designs. It is essential for machine embroidery and recommended for certain types of hand embroidery, such as when using stretch or thin fabrics.

Adhesive stabilizer is the easiest to work with for hand embroidery. You simply stick the stabilizer to the back of the fabric and then embroider your design as normal, then trim away the excess when finished.

Top pick: Sulky stick and stitch stabilizer

We love this stabilizer as it comes with an easy-to-use adhesive: all you need to do is peel off the protective backing and then stick it to the back of your fabric. Better yet, once you’ve finished working, you simply rinse it away!

6. Embroidery floss storage organizer

Once you have your floss neatly wound on bobbins, you can file them in a storage container for ease of selection.

You can store floss bobbins in virtually any kind of box, but a wide and shallow one with plenty of small compartments is ideal to keep your floss well organized. A box with a closable lid is also handy, as this makes it easy for you to transport your floss and keep it clean and dust-free.

You can either:

  • Use an empty craft box like this Artbin plastic storage case, with six fixed compartments and 12 removable dividers – perfect for filling with your own floss bobbins.
  • Or opt for a kit like this one, which is a great starter kit for beginners and comes with 99 pre-wound floss bobbins in assorted color as well as a set of embroidery tools.

7. Needle holder

While a needle minder will keep your needle in place while you’re working, you also need a place to store your needles in the longer term. The two main characteristics of needles – that is, they are small and sharp – means that they require specific storage solutions.

There are a range of needle holders to keep your embroidery needles secure and allow you to easily select the right one when you need it.

Best storage tubes: Dritz needle storage tubes

These Dritz storage tubes will not only keep your needles organized, but they make it easy to access your needles when you need them, thanks to the internal magnet in each tube. 

This magnet holds the needles at the top of the tube so that you can quickly and easily pull out the needle you’re looking for. Another handy feature is the tubes’ hexagonal shape, meaning you can put them on your workspace without worrying about them rolling off.

Best pin cushion: Honbay hedgehog pin cushion

For a fun way to keep your pins and needles handy, you can’t go past this hedgehog pin cushion. Storing your pins and needles in a pin cushion means they’re always in easy reach and the cute hedgehog shape makes this one not only practical, but adorable to boot!

It is big enough to carry plenty of items, while being compact enough to easily fit on your workspace or in your sewing bag.

Best needle case: Lipstick cushion needle case

This lipstick pin cushion and needle case is another creative way to store your sewing accessories. It has a small pin cushion inside that pushes up just like a real lipstick, neatly storing your needles while making it easy to access them when you need to. 

Once done, simply pop on the lid and tuck into your sewing basket to keep your pins and needles safe and secure.

8. Assorted embroidery hoops

Although you can sew without an embroidery hoop, using a hoop to keep your fabric taut makes your work a lot easier and greatly improves your results.

Circular hoops are by far the most popular, though you will find it easier to use a square hoop for certain designs. We recommend plastic hoops, as these are durable, easy to work with and will not mark or stain your fabric.

Best circular hoop: Similane 6-piece embroidery hoop set

These durable plastic embroidery hoops are easy to work with: you can achieve the right tension thanks to the adjustable screw on each hoop. With six different sizes to choose from, from a sizable 10.2-inch hoop to a mini 3.4-inch hoop, you’ll be able to find the perfect one for any project.

Best square hoop: Caydo 5-piece embroidery hoop set

For projects more suited to a square hoop, these rectangular hoops are a great option. They are made of durable, abrasion-resistant ABS plastic, and come in a range of sizes to suit any project. The embroidery fabric is easily tightened with the hoop’s brass adjustment screws.

9. Embroidery fabric

You can embroider on almost any fabric, but some fabrics are more suitable for embroidery than others. Generally speaking, cotton, linen, wool, felt, and denim all serve well for embroidery.

Keep in mind, however, that different types of fabric need specific handling or may give different results. You’ll need stronger needles to work with thicker fabric, while thinner fabrics may pucker under heavy embroidery.

Therefore, if you are monogramming or embroidering filled-in shapes, you are best using a heavier cotton, linen, or denim fabric.

Top pick: Cotton embroidery fabric

This versatile cotton embroidery fabric will work well for a large variety of projects. The sturdy cotton linen is in a subtle beige that will not fade or fray. The cotton is also machine washable making it ideal for any kind of embroidery project, as well as virtually any sewing project!

10. Embroidery floss

Choosing the right embroidery floss can be a challenge, since the right embroidery floss can make or break a project.

What’s more, there are so many different types of embroidery floss that it can be confusing to know which to pick!

The most popular types of embroidery floss are:

  • Stranded embroidery floss, also known as stranded embroidery cotton. It is a versatile floss that can be used for most kinds of embroidery including cross-stitch.
  • Rayon floss has a high sheen and is available in a range of bright colours. It delivers strong results but can be tricky to work with.
  • Perle cotton, or pearl cotton, is typically heavier than a strand of embroidery floss, though it comes in a range of weights. It has a textured effect that suits cross stitch and hardanger embroidery.
  • Silk threads have a luxe shine and are ideal for fine embroidery.
  • Tapestry yarn, sometimes called Persian yarn, is designed for tapestry projects on canvas and is also suitable for needlepoint projects and crewelwork.
  • Metallic hand embroidery thread is typically used for highlighting other embroidery, though some kinds of metallic thread can be difficult to wash.

Top pick: Le Paon stranded embroidery floss

This stranded embroidery floss is suitable for embroiderers of all levels. Being 100% cotton, it is easy to work with and is versatile enough to be used in a range of projects. This 14-pack of six-strand skeins of floss is available in a range of different color spectrums.

Final thoughts

The right embroidery accessories greatly improve the quality of your work, not to mention making the process easier and loads more fun! From needle minders and floss organizers to fabric stabilizers, these are some of our favorite, essential embroidery supplies.

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