Updated: Jun 7
I’ve unofficially tried to embroider stuff before, but only basic things like words (and doing it based on logic, without any instructions, so I didn’t know cool stitches). I was delighted to find a complete starter kit on Hoffelt & Hooper Co. while browsing Etsy for random DIY ideas. Even more amazing was that I could customize text on the design! I thought it would be a great project that could be used for my upcoming wedding 🙂
The kit was delivered in a neat little box which had absolutely everything I needed to get started:
Contains a super helpful instruction booklet (with step-by-step photos for different stitches and useful practical tips), a guide on the various stitches and thread required for the entire design, an embroidery hoop, a full set of thread (hidden under the cotton fabric), the cotton fabric with my customized words printed on it, and there was even a needle stuck on the back of the namecard (which I nearly missed, but Sarah, the founder of the brand, was very patient with all my questions throughout the process!)
And so, I spent a large part of the holiday season embroidering – it turned out to be super therapeutic, and I managed to finish watching most of a drama serial while doing it! In fact, it got somewhat addictive, and I would always be tempted to continue with another flower / colour even though it was super late into the night already…
After some long nights and days, I was done! Usually the back of embroidery can get pretty messy (my excuse: it’s my first time so I didn’t know better), and the guide book gave some helpful instructions on how to back the embroidery! I didn’t have a glue gun, so ended up not being as precise as the instructions, and a bit of the glue seeped through the fabric, but I think it generally turned out ok!
Back of my final completed piece – all the messy threads hidden, and the fabric should also stay taut over time!
Ta-dah!!! Looks quite pretty, right? 😀
Here’s an image from their Etsy store of a sample piece – mine isn’t too far off, right?
Hopefully, I’ll be able to include it somewhere at my wedding as a piece of decoration. In the meantime, it looks like it’ll fit right in to our new place ❤
Details of the DIY exercise
Duration: Sarah mentioned that she takes her about 8-10 hours to stitch this pattern, and as a beginner, I should expect to spend a few more hours as I familiarize myself with the stitches. I think that was about right – I definitely spent more than 10 hours, but that was split across multiple days (spent a few hours over some nights, and had the luxury to dedicate longer time to do it over the Christmas break). I didn’t track the total time, but I am fairly confident it was less than 20 hours :p Price: The entire kit cost me ~SGD90 (excluding shipping), and I have a lot of thread leftover (except for white, which I used a lot for the words) that I can use for another project!
Level of fun: 3.5/5
I really liked how she mixed in quite a number of different stitched in the design! There was a good mix of the more traditional-looking stitches (back stitch, satin stitch), with other cooler ones (I really enjoyed doing the woven wheel stitch, and the french knots were pretty fun too!). It was a great way to get started on my first proper embroidery project.
Level of difficulty: 3.5/5
Doing embroidery itself isn’t that difficult – I think the challenge is doing it well. It was not always easy to get the stitches to appear the way I wanted (sometimes I realised I wasn’t covering the outline as well as I would have liked, or when there were curves / bends, I didn’t manage to tackle them that well). I definitely felt like I got better over time 😀
I also didn’t quite know how to start and end the stitches (do I need to tie a knot at the back?) – I admit I was a bit lazy so I didn’t do thorough research, and ended up cobbling something together which I’m not sure is right, but I still hope holds up with the help of the backing. (no I didn’t tie any knots at the back, except for the start of the french knot stitch. I ended up “hiding” my initial starting thread behind the rest of the stitches, and also weaving my end threads under a couple of earlier stitches. Fingers crossed!