Embroidery is a form of decorative stitching used to add monograms, names and pictures to fabric, such as clothing, pillowcases and towels. You do not need to purchase an expensive embroidery machine or master a multitude of hand stitches to complete embroidery projects. If you learn to embroider a straight line stitch, such as the stem stitch, you can use it to embroider letters and to outline and fill picture designs.
Unscrew the metal fastener at the top of the embroidery hoop. Separate the smaller hoop from the larger hoop. Place the smaller hoop beneath the fabric and place the larger hoop on top of the fabric. Fit the smaller hoop back into the larger hoop. Tighten the metal fastener until the fabric is smooth and firm between the two loops.
Cut a 1-yard-long piece of embroidery floss.
Hold the embroidery floss near one end with your dominant hand. Hold one of the individual strands with your other hand. Pull that one strand up and away while holding the remaining strands firmly with your dominant hand, separating one strand from the six-stranded embroidery floss.
Thread the single strand of embroidery floss through the eye of the embroidery needle and pull it until there is an even amount of floss on both sides of the needle. Knot the two loose ends together.
Place the tip of the needle beneath the fabric and pull the needle straight up until the knot rests against the back of the fabric.
Place the pointer finger of your nondominant hand on the embroidery floss near the spot where the embroidery floss came through the fabric. Move your finger about 1 inch down, keeping the embroidery floss between your finger and the fabric. With your dominant hand, move your needle point to the right 1/4 inch and push the tip of the needle back through to the back of the fabric.
Keep your pointer finger holding the 1-inch segment of the floss in place, and pull the rest of the floss through to the back of the fabric. Push the tip of the needle back up to the front of the fabric between the two previous needle insertion points. Release the floss from your pointer finger and pull the needle all the way through.
Use your pointer finger to again pull down and hold about 1 inch of the floss. Insert the tip of the needle 1/4 inch to the right of the right end of the previously completed stitch. Continue to hold the 1-inch segment of floss with your pointer finger, and pull the rest of the floss through to the back of the fabric.
Push the tip of the needle up at the right end of the previously completed stitch. Release the floss from your pointer finger and pull the needle all the way through.
Continue creating stitches from left to right in the same manner as the previously completed stitch.
Push the needle through to the back of the fabric at the end of final stitch. Turn the fabric over so that you are looking at the back of the fabric. Pass the needle between the the floss and fabric at the last completed stitch. As you pull the needle through the stitch, pass it through the loop of floss created before pulling the knot tight. Repeat to secure the knot. Cut and discard the excess floss.
Unscrew the fastener of the embroidery hoop and remove the hoops from the fabric.
Use multiple strands of embroidery floss to create a thicker stitch line. If you are left-handed, work the stem stitch from right to left.