Hand embroidery is an ancient craft form that men and women have practised over many millennia. There is evidence that hand embroidery developed as a means to make and mend clothing. But it eventually was also used as a decorative craft that at its height projected status and wealth.
Today you can find hand embroidery everywhere: in fashion, homewares and art installations. AND hand embroidery as a craft currently sees a renaissance. It is such a beautiful craft, and I love teaching it. Here are four reasons why:
Hand embroidery is a brilliant exercise in mindfulness
Life can be busy, often too busy – hand embroidery is the perfect antidote to a hectic and even stressful lifestyle. The slow and repetitive nature of stitching makes hand embroidery an ideal craft to help you step back from the demands of daily life. It allows you to become present, relax and lose yourself for a while.
I often find that after stitching some time, my mind clears up, and I feel more energised. Ready for the challenge life throws at me.
Hand embroidery is a form of mediation for me. The repetitive steps become like a mantra which I find incredibly soothing and comforting. Plus, you see your design growing and expanding under your fingertips. Working with your hands is satisfaction in itself.
Hand embroidery unleashes your creativity
I find that we often dismiss our creativity or even suppress our creative desires too easy, and may even say we are not creative.
But creativity is in all of us. Just look at the make-believe play of children and their eagerness to explore paints and colours or build dens. Unfortunately, as we mature, our creativity is often replaced by getting jobs, starting and raising families. But, using your creativity is so important. Not just for your well-being but also to help you adapt to change and solve problems. Research has shown that being creative helps people think outside the box and find better solutions to problems and better adapt to adversity.
I am a lifelong learner, as learning new things inspires me to try out new things, improve my skills and connect with others. Learning hand embroidery is no different. Learning and improving to stitch widens your horizon.
Sense of achievement
I don’t know about you, but physical work or working with your hands provides me with a sense of achievement. Completing a piece of embroidery, whatever the size, feels good and provides a sense of pride. Creating a physical object is the perfect antidote to working in a corporate or institutional environment.
Does everything always go smoothly? No, of course not. Even though I have crafted for a large part of my life, I still make mistakes. And that is perfectly ok because only by making mistakes I can improve and up my hand embroidery or crafting skills.
I am a big believer in writing notes and keeping a diary of my drawing, stitching and crafting. I note down what went well, things I can improve on and things I might want to incorporate in future projects. My journaling can take the form of a quick doodle in my notebook or detailed written notes on my drawings. This process does not only provide me with a practical record, but it also shows me how far I have come looking back.
Being able to create personalised gifts
On a more practical level, hand embroider allows you to create truly personalised gifts for loved ones and friends that can become heirlooms and pass down to the family. Or you could even embellish your favourite top or trousers to make a fashion item truly yours.
Being able to hand embroider makes you much more independent in terms of choices for gifts and presents. Have you ever thought something would be a perfect present for a loved one, but it is not entirely the suitable pattern or size? Wouldn’t it be great if you could make that gift yourself?
Moreover, hand embroidery could save the day to mend or update a tired-looking piece of clothing that you love or want to breathe in some new life.
Getting started with hand embroidery has many benefits; whether this is more on a self-care level such as mindfulness and developing your creativity or something more tangible as creating gifts or personalising your wardrobe, there is something for everyone.
If you want to start on your hand embroidery journey but don’t quite know where to start, download the Hand Embroidery Roadmap, a step-by-guide to get you started with hand embroidery.
PS: If you want to try your hands on a small project, take a look at this little step-by-step tutorial to stitch dandelions that I have created.