Frequently Asked Questions about hand embroidery

I am a beginner of hand embroidery – where and how do I start?

Welcome to the most joyful and relaxing activity in the world!

If you have never done embroidery before, we highly recommend to start with an online course.

Online courses goes in depth with detailed explanations of each step of your first embroidered artwork.

By taking just one course, you will immediately have all the skills and confidence to stitch any similar patterns in the future.

You can also have a look at this article of “How to do embroidery“, which is created for You who are a beginner of the embroidery medium.

You may also find this article about with a full embroidery stitch guide very useful!

Not sure of wether you are prepared to spend on a course or pattern yet?

No worries – we totally understand!

When you are new to a medium, it is always difficult to motivate spending before you know whether you will actually enjoy it.

Therefore we have created a free embroidery pattern for you to give it a try.

Along with the pattern you also get detailed instructions sent To you over the following days so that you get a confident start.

Here is a full process video of the free pattern so that you can get a better feeling for the experience:

How can this pattern be for free?


Because our greatest mission is to spread the power of thread and needle for you to feel great.

We are sure that you will fall in love with the process as soon as you give it an honest try.

And whenever you have questions, we are here for you to support you on the next step.

Creativity is best when it’s shared, so let’s get on the journey together!

What materials to use for architectural hand embroidery ?

To better assist you with material recommendations, we have put together an in depth material guide of the different materials that we use.

Furthermore, we have also included explanations for why we choose certain materials and tools over others .

This is so that you are able to make a more confident decision on what will work the best for you.

Read the full guide here

What fabric do you use?

We use cotton canvas for all of our hand embroideries.

A cotton canvas is a non-stretch and non-transparent cotton fabric.

Preferably with as little texture as possible to avoid distortion of your lines.

You can read more about different characteristics to look for in fabrics for embroidery here

Do you sell embroidery kits?

No unfortunately we are not able to keep a stock of materials.

Instead we have teamed up with Nicole at Cloud Craft UK, who have created special kits for our courses.

Here are direct links to the patterns: (coming soon)

How to transfer an embroidery pattern?

There are several methods to transfer an embroidery pattern. Some of the most common are:

  • Carbon paper
  • Water soluble pen
  • Iron-on pen
  • Frixion pen
  • Solvy paper
  • Magic paper

To give you a more comprehensive answer and explanation of the different methods, we have created a full article guide on “How to transfer an embroidery pattern to fabric“.

How to transfer an embroidery pattern with carbon paper?

As we both love to use the carbon paper transfer method, we often receive questions on how it works.

Below is a condensed and straight forward guide with 10 steps on how to transfer an embroidery pattern with carbon paper.

  1. First you need to have a carbon paper, preferably one that is adapted for fabrics. The reason is that the fabric carbon papers reduce the risk of smudging as you transfer.
  2. Place the carbon paper on top of your fabric. Be sure to place the carbon side downwards on your fabric.
  3. Place your embroidery pattern on top of the backside of the carbon paper.
  4. Use scotch to secure the placement of the pattern on top of the carbon and fabric. This is to avoid the design transfer to be distorted in case you have to take a break.
  5. With the pattern on top of the carbon paper and the fabric, you are ready to begin the transfer.
  6. It’s recommended to begin from the opposite side of the hand that you use to write. In other words, if you use your right hand, begin the transfer from the left and work your way towards the right.
  7. Use a sharp ink pen to transfer. A tip is to use a coloured ink pen as it allows you to see which lines you have traces and which ones you haven’t. This is especially helpful when you are a beginner of embroidery and not used to transferring embroidery patterns.
  8. Be steady on your hand as you draw the lines.
  9. Feel free to use a small ruler to achieve straighter lines.
  10. Avoid to lean your hand on the transfer as it can lead to smudges on your fabric.

To give you a better visual understanding of the transferring process, we have also filmed a full video tutorial.

Frequently Asked Questions about our Online Courses on Charles and Elin Academy

What are the differences between Architectural hand embroidery and Architectural Thread painting?

Architectural hand embroidery is the perfect beginner course as it concentrates on the foundational structures of a building.

In more detail, you will learn the full process from start to finish of how to embroider a graphical architectural design.

The Architectural thread painting course on the other hand, goes more in depth on techniques of how to paint with thread.

In other words, how to use embroidery stitches and colors to effectively create depth, shade and perspective in an otherwise 2D image.

Both courses are designed in the same format of in depth stitch-alongs.

This means that you can successfully take any of the courses independently regardless of your previous embroidery experience.

The main reason why we often recommend the Architectural hand embroidery course first for beginners above that of the Architectural thread painting, is because the latter is a substantially more extensive course that requires more time and effort.

Do I need to know how to draw to be able to make my own embroidery designs?

No you don’t!

There are several ways to create a unique design without the need to know how to draw.

For example you can use tools such as architectural transfer paper, carbon paper or a lightbox to transfer contours of objects you want to use to build your design.

In our course Create Your Own Embroidery Design we show you how to use these different techniques to your advantage.

Additionally, we also go through what to think about when you create a design in terms of:

  • composition
  • proportion
  • perspective
  • colour combinations
  • and textures

How to know which colours to choose for my embroidery?

This is a tricky question to answer as it is so personal!

However, as a rule of thumb you should always choose colours that YOU LOVE.

This applies also to purchased patterns.

If there are colours on the pattern that you don’t enjoy – change them to colours that you do enjoy.

Because hand embroidery is not suppose to feel like a chore, rather a joyful activity.

Colours play a huge role in our state of mind.

Thus with colours that bring you joy your experience of stitching will immediately improve.

With that said, there are of course various rules and tips of how to approach your colour choice depending on the result you are aiming for.

In our course Create Your Own Embroidery Design, we have dedicated a full module to colours alone.

To your help you will have the colour wheel as it gives a great overview of which colours that go together.

Some basics that can be useful to know is that colours that are located opposite of each other on the colour wheel, will create the highest contrast.

High contrast can create a more impressive and “poppy” image.

Colours next to each other on the wheel on the other hand, are the least contrasted, which in turn gives a much softer impression.

In addition to the actual colour, you can also consider the tone, tint and shade.

Tone = Add grey

Tint = Add white

Shade = Add black

Of course you cannot add a colour to a thread that has already been coloured in the factory.

However, the principle is still the same as for painting, just that you will have to learn to determine the base of the colour yourself.

If this sounds overwhelming, the Create Your Own Embroidery Design course will be of great help for you!

How to access my patterns from the Monthly Pattern Program?

  1. Log into your account on
  2. When you are logged in, go to the tab “My Courses” in the top menu bar
  3. Click on the course Monthly Pattern Program
  4. You find the pattern of the month under the curriculum section as an instantly downloadable pdf document

If you ever miss to download a pattern of any month, just send us an email to and we will get it to you as soon as possible.

How to cancel/pause my Monthly Pattern Program subscription?

We are sad to see you go, but completely understand that you may need time to complete previous patterns or have other projects lined up!

To end your Monthly Pattern Program membership follow the steps below:

  1. Log into your account on
  2. When you are logged in, click on the “My account” sign in the top right corner.
  3. There will be a drop down menu where you can find “Manage subscriptions”
  4. When you are on the page “Manage subscriptions” you are able to see your active membership and easily cancel it.
  5. You are warmly welcome to join us again at any time!
  6. And don’t forget to send us an email to if you missed to download any of your patterns.

Is it necessary to use an embroidery hoop?

No we would not say that it’s necessary.

However, it definitely facilitates your embroidery process if you use an embroidery hoop.

Especially if you aim to embroider designs with a high level of detail.

We always use embroidery hoops for our architectural embroidery patterns.

It makes it easier to stitch neat and straight lines without having to worry too much about how hard you pull the stitches.

The tighter you pull the fabric (if non-stretch), the less you need to worry about your stitch strength.

The opposite is true if you have a stretchy fabric and/or don’t use a hoop.

Without a hoop and on a stretchy fabric you have to be very careful to not pull your stitches too hard or else it will easily distort both the embroider and the fabric.

You can read more details and reflections about fabrics on our Material recommendation page.

When should I use an embroidery hoop?

An embroidery hoop will be of most use when you embroider on a non-stretch fabric.

The quality of the fabric matters less than the level of stretchiness when it comes to using a hoop.

The reason is that a stretchy fabric risks creating bubbles after you take off the hoop.

Wheres a non-stretch fabric will not change in its appearance whether you have it stretched out in a hoop or not.

For more details on the hoop and fabric question read here.

Or have a look at our course Personalise your clothes with modern hand embroidery, which goes through what to think about when you embroider on different type of materials in depth.

Which needles to use for hand embroidery?

We love to use thin and long needles. The 1-5 pack from DMC or 1/5 from Bohin France are all time favourites.

In the DMC pack you often get a variety of lengths but with the same thickness, which is not a bad idea if you are new to embroidery and haven’t found your needle preference yet.

As always, we encourage you to try and see what you prefer the most.

Because just as using a hoop or not, or thick vs thin fabrics are a personal preference so are long vs short needles.

It is mostly the thickness of the needle that is a bit more restrictive.

Because if you use a too thick needle for a fine and tightly sewn cotton fabric for example, the needle may leave visible holes in the fabric.

With a thin needle and especially a thin needle eye, you ensure that the fabric stays intact.

This is especially relevant for all of our architectural designs, where you will use only a single strand for most of the design.

With a single strand of floss, you can easily afford to use a very thin needle.

Which needles do you need for embroidery on clothes?

When you embroider on clothes you often want to make double sided stitches to enhance durability. This is easiest done with a long thin needle.

Double sided stitches is important considering that the embroidery will most likely be exposed to a fair dose of friction when stitched onto clothes.

And if not friction, you will wash it more than you would with a fine art embroidered piece (if ever).

For double sided stitches, it is easier with a longer needle. We use the 1-5 DMC or 1/5 Bohin France needles.

Can you wash embroidered clothes in the machine?

Yes you can!

You just have to be sure to secure your threads carefully so that the stitches don’t undo themselves.

Furthermore, check the quality of your threads to ensure they donโ€™t colour off.

Dmc and anchor threads can usually be washed in 40 degrees Celsius without problem.

Can you tumble dry embroidered clothes?

No we strongly advise against tumble drying clothes that you have embroidered.

Can I wash my embroidery?

Yes you can!

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