Hand Embroidery Made Super Easy

I have found one common denominator with most crafty people; we like to keep our hands busy at all times! I love to work on hand embroidery projects while I watch TV or riding in the car. It makes me feel more productive and keeps me from snacking. Not to toot my own horn, but I am a pretty good hand embroiderer. My stitches are fairly even; I always tie off before moving to another section and a can do a great stem stitch (I will teach you my secret, it is a quick tip that you will love).

Although I liked hand embroidery, I didn’t love it for 2 reasons: The tracing and separating the strands of floss. Tracing the design onto the fabric for me meant cleaning a window in my house, taping the design and then the fabric with painter’s tape to that window and then tracing with a pencil. This usually also meant that I didn’t get to do any actual stitching that day because I have 2 adorable little girls who only allow me about 45 minutes of uninterrupted sewing time. When I would get back to the project a few days later, I then would have to separate floss or as I like to call it, knot, tangle and curse at the floss; then untangle, curse and untie the floss so I could have 2 strands to thread through my needle. This process left me approximately 1 nerve and 15 minutes to stitch.

Then one day, my friend Ellen Osten rather nonchalantly says to me, “You know you can print your pattern onto Printable Sticky Fabri-Solvy™, put that on the front of your fabric and stitch right through it. Oh, and Sulky 12 wt. Cotton Petites™ is equal to 2 strands of embroidery floss – but you don’t have to untangle it! It comes on a 50-yard snap-end spool.”

That is when I went from liking hand embroidery to loving it and as a bonus, my stitching is even better than before! Here are the basics of hand embroidery with Printable Fabri-Solvy and 12 wt cotton Petites:


  1. Choose your pattern! Let’s use the free “Sew on Wednesday” pattern from Sulky Embroidery Club.
  2. Print onto the Fabri-Solvy (I know, it is almost disgusting how easy this is!). HINT: Use the draft setting when printing so there is less ink when you are washing the Fabri-Solvy away. Sticky Fabri-Solvy for handwork
  3. Peel of the release sheet and put the Sticky Fabri-Solvy onto the front of your fabric where you want your design to be. Another bonus feature is you can move your design if you don’t like your initial placement and you don’t need an embroidery hoop! The Sticky Fabri-Solvy holds the fabric stable so no more marks or distorted fabric! Peel and Stick No hoop needed
  4. Pick your Sulky Petites to sew the pattern. I am using Sulky Blendables # 4007 Red Brick.  4007I like the random color change of Blendables. It gives me the look of changing colors without have to tie knots. I made this for my mom for Mother’s Day and her kitchen is red and blue so I thought this would work well. I will eventually make one for myself too and for that, I will stitch it out in # 4016 Peacock Plume. 4016
  5. Now Stitch! I used a regular stem stitch, French knots and cross stitch. I learned a trick for stem stitch that I want to share with you. I was always told to go across the line at an angle for the perfect stem stitch, but then a teacher told me to always stay on the line instead and always keep my needle on top of the fabric. Poke down and then up in one stitch for a perfect stem! Once I used this method for my stem stitch, it was perfect every time. Watch a video tutorial of this method hereStitch!
  6. BONUS HINT: Just when you thought Sticky Fabri-Solvy couldn’t get any better, I have one more benefit to share with you. It helps you stitch better! Because it has a slight grid pattern (probably because of how it is made), I use that grid to space my stitches more evenly.gridIt helps me to stay even all the time, and thus get a better end result. In case I haven’t convinced you quite yet, look at these two pictures. One is using an embroidery hoop and floss and the other is using Sticky Fabri-Solvy and Sulky Cotton Petites. Which one do you think looks better?ornaments

Whether it’s Wednesday or not, get stitching! Send me pictures of your work so we can have a virtual show and tell.

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  • Mary Corbet

    Thanks for the mention! I’m so glad you like my videos!

    I love Fabri-Solvy, too, by the way. It’s great for hand embroidering flour sack towels – I use it for that all the time. I love the fact that you can print the design on the Solvy, so there’s no time wasted on transfer and there’s no fretting over an inaccurate design transfer. And I love that it stiffens the flour sack towel enough that you don’t even need a hoop. It’s great stuff!

  • wendigratz

    Thanks so much for linking to my French knots video! And you know I’m a big fan of using products that let us skip all the boring/tedious steps of our crafts and get right to the fun stuff. 🙂

  • Linda Tucker

    Love, Love. Love the Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy!! but can not find it in quilt shops or fabric store 🙁 and Love the petite’s cotton thread! can not find that a well! I bought both these items at a Quilt show. these are the best for hand embroidery!!

    • Kelly Nagel

      I am so glad you found these products and love them. I love them too. You can always purchase these at Sulky.com but please ask your local Quilt Store to carry them as well! The more people that ask, the more likely they are to start carrying them.

    • Kelly Nagel

      Becky, I have never had a problem with my needle getting gummed up with Stick n Stitch but I know that the stabilizer can seem more gummy depending on the humidity and climate of where you live. If it is a problem, I recommend using a little Sewer’s Aid to the needle itself, especially the eye of the needle. That should help everything glide through nicely.

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