February is National Embroidery Month and it’s a craft I’m personally very fond of. Hand stitching is always so relaxing (when it goes well!) and embroidery projects can be a little more creative than something like cross stitch or tapestry since you have a wide variety of stitches to use. It’s also very easy and affordable to pick up so here’s some cute embroidery patterns, kits, books and more that even beginners can enjoy.
Mollie at Wild Olive is one of the best people to follow if you’re starting out with embroidery or looking for something new to stitch. She has loads of free patterns, including her current Kawaii Crossing project with monthly designs for the shops, houses and now residents of her imaginary town. You’ll also find tips, book reviews and more on her blog, and paid patterns and books in her Etsy shop (US).
Sublime Stitching (US) is another great resource for both beginners and more advanced stitchers. You’ll find all the supplies and tools you need, tutorials to get you started, and tons of fun patterns and kits to create wall art, tea towels or clothing embellishments. I especially love the collaborations with indie artists like Naoshi and Gemma Correll.
Penguin & Fish (US) have lots of beginner-friendly embroidery patterns and kits including digital downloads, mostly featuring cute animals. Their kits are currently on clearance so it’s a great time to grab one.
If you feel ready to try more stitch types, these new ‘ritual’ embroidery kits at Ellbie Co. (UK) are all about mindfulness and filling the printed areas with colour and texture. The idea is that you do a little bit every day, and having a pattern to follow means you don’t have to worry about whether it will look like a random mess at the end!
The designs of Nelly Makes (UK) look very complicated and detailed at first, but if you look closer you’ll see they’re stitched on top of a printed image and only use a few simple stitches. It’s a clever idea and there’s lots of colourful space, nature and motivational themes to choose from.
You can use this technique on any piece of fabric and lots of artists on Spoonflower (US/EU) have created designs for embroidery that fit on an 8″/20cm square fabric swatch. It’s a really affordable way to pick up a new project and you can choose your own fabric base, thread colours and stitches.
Another type of embroidery I love is Sashiko, a traditional Japanese craft that uses a running stitch with a long needle on pre-printed fabric for a decorative line art style that’s very relaxing. This was originally used for mending and strengthening fabric but there are some lovely kits and patterns available including some modern colourful designs. Have a look at Japan Crafts (UK) pikobeagle2000 (JP), cocoaya (JP) Shibori Dragon (US) – and don’t worry if the instructions are in Japanese as it’s all done in one stitch and you can look up a tutorial online to start you off.
Adding details to felt is one of cutest ways to use embroidery and most felt sewing projects are small and not too intimidating. I love Nuvolina Handmade’s patterns and these snails look like a fun project that you can customise endlessly. There’s also lots of holiday designs for sweet ornaments and gifts.
Once you’re hooked on embroidery, I can recommend picking up some Japanese embroidery books as they’re all so cute and packed full of ideas. Even if you never end up stitching anything, you’ll love to look through them. Pomadours Craft Cafe (JP) have a huge selection that really does have something for everyone, including fans of animals, food and kawaii characters.
Have a look in our Needlecrafts category for more embroidery projects.
Marceline is the co-founder and editor of Super Cute Kawaii and author of The Super Cute Book of Kawaii. She also designs cute character goods as Asking For Trouble. Having visited Japan five times, Marceline is enormously inspired by all things Japanese and especially loves bunnies, space and any kind of food object with a happy face.