How to Embroider Pillows

If you want to give that guest bedroom a personal touch, this guide will help you add some color and flare to plain white pillow cases.


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All you need is a needle, thread, some fabric, and these step by step instructions to start sewing.


You Will Need

  • Pillow case
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Design pattern
  • Iron-on design
  • Disappearing ink marker
  • Embroidery string or floss
  • Embroidery needle
  • Scissors


  1. Step 1

    Center pillow case in hoop

    Center the pillow case inside the embroidery hoop, being sure to make the fabric taut to make stitching easier.

  2. Step 2

    Locate pattern

    Locate an embroidery pattern and apply it to the fabric using an iron-on transfer or a disappearing ink marker.

  3. Disappearing ink markers are available at fabric and craft stores.

  4. Step 3

    Choose a thread

    Choose a string color and weight. The most common string is embroidery floss, which has six separate threads spun together.

  5. Step 4

    Thread the needle

    Thread the needle by slipping the floss through the needle's eye and letting a few inches dangle. Don't double the string.

  6. Keep the amount of floss you are working with to 20 inches to prevent tangling.

  7. Step 5

    Stitch design

    Stitch the design using the backstitch. Insert the needle through the wrong side of the fabric, pull it through, insert it through the right side, just behind the first hole, and come back through the wrong side, just ahead of the first hole.

  8. Step 6

    Finish the embroidery

    Hand-wash your embroidery in warm water with mild soap and let it dry between two towels to shrink the floss.

  9. In the 1800s, needlework was taught at female academies attended by the daughters of prominent families and was often inspired by engravings of the period.