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How to Overcome Beginner Embroidery Challenges

Wherever you are in your embroidery journey, you’re bound to experience some challenges along the way. More so if you’re a beginner, but even experienced and advanced embroiderers will encounter many a challenge!

However, beginners are more likely to feel overwhelmed and then give up their craft as a result, before trying to leap over the hurdles.

But I don’t want you to give this up my friend! So if you’re reading this and thinking ‘yup, that’s me!’, then let’s explore some common challenges and how to conquer them!


Thread tangling

Have you ever been in the middle of your embroidery and suddenly out of nowhere, your thread tangles and knots itself up at the back? Eurgh, it’s frustrating! All you want to do is embroider in peace and not have to deal with attempting to unknot thread for the umpteenth time.

How to overcome it

This particular challenge is one experienced even beyond beginners, so I happen to have 3 of my best tips to share with you here:
  1. Use the right lengths of thread. Not too long, not too short. The longer the length of thread, the more likely it is to twist up whilst you’re embroidering.
  2. Slow your pace. The whole point of embroidery is slow stitching, after all! When you go too fast, the thread almost can’t get through the fabric quick enough, and that’s when tangles and knots begin to form.
  3. A tip for preventing tangles pre-stitching – keep your threads organised! I recommend winding your thread onto bobbins or pegs to keep your threads neat and tidy.


Uneven Stitches

Achieving consistent stitches can be really tricky for a beginner. You’re just getting to grips with learning all the stitches and techniques, and trying to get it neat may well be at the back of your mind.

That being said, it is a challenge that can be faced for the fellow perfectionists amongst us! Having more consistent stitches can help with improving the overall look of your finished project, and can help to make it look a little more professional.

How to overcome it

There are a couple of ways you can help to improve your consistency when stitching:
  1. Practice is key here! Start simple, and work your way up to more complex designs where uneven stitches are more noticeable.
  2. Maintain your thread tension. Most of the time, stitch consistency is all in the tension! Try to have a consistent tension when pulling your stitches through the fabric.
  3. Lastly, take your time with stitch placement. Taking the extra minute to accurately place your needle makes all the difference with an even stitch!

Related Post: How to Improve Stitch Consistency in Hand Embroidery

Related Post: How to Fine Tune Your Embroidery Technique


Transferring Your Patterns

Ensuring that you have transferred your embroidery pattern accurately can definitely be a hurdle for many beginner and intermediate embroiderers. Truthfully, wobbly lines and incorrect tracing can be a huge reason for struggling to achieve neat embroidery projects!

How to overcome it

There are many, many methods of transferring patterns, but I’m a true believer that there is one elite way to transfer your patterns.
  1. Use a pilot frixion heat erasable pen. With this method, if you totally get it wrong and need to start again, or if you don’t quite embroider inside the lines, it’s not a problem. Just apply some heat and you’re good to go!
  2. Take your time with tracing. It’s not a race! Taking the extra time to draw an accurate pattern can save you more than just time in the long run.
  3. Tape down your pattern AND your project. Having both components taped to a surface helps to prevent either one moving around while you’re trying to trace. Game changer, trust me!

Related Post: How to Transfer an Embroidery Pattern with Heat Erasable Ink 



This one is a tricky one, for sure! I’m an expert, and I still struggle with this one most of the time. For some of us, it’s just in our nature to want everything to be *just so*. I get it, it can be super frustrating to attempt the same section of a pattern ten thousand times and never be happy with how it looks in the end.

Truthfully, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little bit of perfectionism, as long as you don’t let it get in the way of your enjoyment of the craft! But, if it is getting in the way, let’s check out how to deal with it.

How to overcome it

If you’re looking to relax a bit with your embroidery, here’s how you can ease up on the perfectionism.
  1. Try to embrace the learning process. Everyone was a beginner once, and if you’re an intermediate or expert stitcher, there is still so much that you can learn! By embracing that every time you stitch you are learning something further, you can start to be a bit kinder to yourself.
  2. Have a positive mindset. At the end of the day, you’re embroidering because it’s fun, amiright?! Don’t lose that perspective! It will turn out great, okay? (Say it with me!)
  3. Start small and practice. In my online Embroidery Academy (link) I teach my members to start out with small projects before working up to big, complex ones. The same applies to you, my friend! Nail the basics first.

Related Post: How to Embrace Imperfection in Your Embroidery



This for sure is a huge challenge for all, and really it just comes down to mindset. Building confidence in your embroidery skill only comes with time and with practice, and it’s not something you can gain overnight.

But, that being said, lack of confidence can definitely set some beginners back, and feel like they’re not good enough to even give it a go.

How to overcome it

Let’s build up your confidence together!
  1. Join a supportive community of fellow embroiderers. It truly is one of the most supportive online communities that I’ve come across, everyone is so nice here! Whether it’s on Instagram, a Facebook group or a paid online space like the Bloom Embroidery Academy, seek your tribe!
  2. Ask for help. Truly, if you need guidance, just ask! My DM’s and emails are always open, and I’d love to hear from you.
  3. Start simple with your projects. If you’re a newbie and you dive straight into a complex pattern, it could potentially knock your confidence. Start simple with patterns that only include the basic stitches and build your confidence slowly. (P.S. that’s what we do in the Academy!!)

In the end, embroidery is a journey like any other experience in life. You will start out as a beginner, encounter some hurdles, overcome them, and look back on how far you’ve come. Embrace each of these challenges as opportunities for growth and development of your skills, and practice until they’re no longer challenges at all!

Pick up your project my friend, let’s overcome them together!

P.S. If you’d like some more helpful tips like these, you can grab my Free E-Book for Beginners, that has 11 of my Top Tips for Embroidery!

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about sophie

Hey there! I'm an artist, mama, author and online educator who is obsessed with helping other women re-claim their time and creativity through modern embroidery.

Kick off your shoes, get cosy, and let's dive in to the world of embroidery, shall we?