Embroidery, or the art of decorating fabrics using colorful stitches, can be traced back to ancient civilizations in China. Even in the year 30,000 B.C., people would use stitches to embellish their clothing with decorative pieces. Embroidery has only evolved since then — nowadays, you can find an infinite amount of embroidery patterns, all with their own unique stitching and materials.
Of course, with all the different options out there, it isn't always clear where to begin. Whether you're a novice looking to start your first embroidery project or an expert who wants some new embroidery designs, these online resources can help.
Embroidery Online By OESD
Embroidery Online by OESD has been a leader in the digital embroidery space for over 30 years. The company is known for its unique free machine embroidery designs, innovative accessories and variety of techniques and styles — these include vintage patterns, cross-stitch patterns and classic styles. From hand embroidery to embroidery machine projects, OESD has it all. Here are some of the different resources you can enjoy.
OESD offers an extensive embroidery library that releases its own patterns weekly. Designs are available for all embroidery machines and vary by theme, technique and brand. If you feel overwhelmed by the large variety of options, don't worry — you can easily filter your search and narrow it down to your desired embroidery design. Available themes include:
Wedding & anniversary
Food & drink
Along with the theme, you can choose the precise technique you want to use. OESD offers over 100 appliqué designs and nearly 300 classic embroidery patterns. All embroidery collections are assembled by first-class artists and digitized in-house. If you're looking for something a little more casual, you can check out OESD's collection of free patterns, which come with free downloads and are digitized in the U.S. Once you've chosen your desired design, you can download it immediately and begin stitching!
Whether you're using a machine or want to try out some embroidery stitches by hand, you need to have the right supplies at your disposal. OESD offers several different materials to help get you started on new projects. Its selection includes:
Stabilizers: There are models available for every machine embroidery, including washaway, tearaway and cutaway.
Embroidery thread: Different threads are available for different fabric types, including cotton, polyester, rayon and metallic.
Needles: OESD carries Organ brand needles, which include sharp, ballpoint and titanium models.
Accessories: This library of accessories, which is designed to make embroidery easier, includes press cloths, clamps, button clips and tape.
Embroidery kits: These project bundles come with everything you need for an embroidery project and can be found in a variety of themes, from Enchanted Santa to Haunted Mansion.
Before you start downloading embroidery files for your project, you need to know the basics of embroidery. If you're confused about how much fabric to use or how many colors you should try out, OESD has you covered. It offers several video tutorials on embroidering, including advice on techniques and designs. Learn how to create fonts, make needlework patterns, do a satin stitch and more by watching experts and viewing real examples.
Scissortail Stitches, which is the "little sister" company of Embroidery Online, offers thousands of embroidery designs with a modern twist. Some of the best-selling designs include animal patterns, sayings and phrases, and floral decorations. Each one is professionally digitized and available for immediate download. Here are some of the different embroidery designs you can get.
Freestanding lace is a delicate embroidery design that's commonly used for doilies, lace earrings and Christmas ornaments. It's made by stitching the fabric onto a stabilizer, which is then dissolved in water. To prevent the fabric from falling apart from the water, it's digitized into a grid and has a high stitch count.
This technique is used to create decorations, primarily for garments. It involves cutting out or creating patterns and shapes, which are then sewn onto a larger piece of fabric. Appliqué is used for several craft projects, including banners, wall hangings, clothing and even ceramics.
In the Hoop
In the hoop (ITH) embroidery designs require the use of an embroidery machine. All you have to do is place the materials over a large hoop and the embroidery machine will stitch them together! The design should come with more detailed instructions about where to place the fabric.
As the name suggests, a quilting design refers to the pattern seen on the top of a quilt. A standard quilt features three different layers of fabric, with the middle fabric usually made of insulating material. Incorporating embroidery patterns is a great way to make a quilt stand out.
Sweet Pea Machine Embroidery
If you're looking for a machine embroidery resource, you can't go wrong with Sweet Pea. The company offers comprehensive embroidery kits that can be used to create just about anything, from purses and quilts to toys and home decor. It also provides an assortment of supplies and video tutorials that help guide novices through embroidery projects. Here's a closer look at what Sweet Pea has to offer.
Free Machine Embroidery Designs
Sweet Pea's embroidery patterns come in a wide range of hoop sizes and themes. Embroidery files are ready for immediate download and are accessible in different formats. Some designs and applications available on the site include:
Flag phone cases
Animal diaper bags
Once you've selected the designs you want to experiment with, the next step is to pick out your supplies. If you're new to embroidery, you may not have the materials needed to start your project. Fortunately, Sweet Pea has a wide assortment of supplies in stock, including:
Quilt wire hangers
Sweet Pea is especially known for its incredible thread kits, or "incredi-theads." These high-quality threads are known for their vibrant colors, luminous luster and sleek sheen.
Tutorials and Classes
What makes Sweet Pea unique is its thriving community, which is beneficial to both novices and experts alike. The site hosts an expanse of video tutorials that range from basic, introductory videos on how to embroider a cushion to more complex videos that focus on a particular project.
More experienced embroiderers have the opportunity to join Sweet Pea's affiliate program and teach classes in exchange for cash. Sewing and craft store workers can host their own embroidering classes, share Sweet Pea designs and keep a portion of the profits for every design sold.
Start Sewing Today!
Perhaps you're new to embroidery and feel overwhelmed by all the different designs and techniques out there. Or maybe you've been embroidering for quite some time and have run out of ideas. Either way, these embroidery resources can help get those creative juices flowing. Whether you're a novice or an expert, you can benefit from the various designs, supplies and tutorials available. Just visit one of these resources and start sewing today!