Exploring The Art Of Embroidery In The Emerald

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The city of Seattle is known for its unique culture and vibrant art scene. From the iconic Space Needle to the bustling Pike Place Market. Seattle has something special about it that captures the imagination. But there is another form of art that is often overlooked in the Emerald City: embroidery.

Embroidery has been a part of Seattle’s story since its inception, with many local artisans creating beautiful and meaningful pieces that are one-of-a-kind. By exploring the art of embroidery in Seattle, we can gain a deeper understanding of the city and how it has developed over time.

The art of embroidery has been around for centuries. In modern times, people have often overlooked it as a craft. In Seattle, however, this craft is still alive and well in the hands of skilled artists and makers. Who brings new life to traditional techniques. Whether they’re stitching patches onto jackets or creating intricate designs on fabric or leather. These talented individuals produce works of art that tell stories about their lives and experiences in the city.

Through interviews with local embroiderers and by looking at examples of their work. We will explore how they craft Seattle’s story through their artistry. We will also discover why this traditional craft continues to be so popular in the Emerald City. And what makes it so special to those who practice it. By understanding more about this creative process, we can all appreciate the beauty that lies within each embroidered piece. Inspiring us to serve others with our own unique visions and stories.

History Of Embroidery In Seattle

Have you ever wondered how the art of embroidery in Seattle’s culture has evolved over the years? The art of embroidery has been a part of Seattle’s history for centuries, and its vibrant artistry is reflective of the Emerald City’s unique culture. From artisanal designs to modern styles, Seattle has seen a variety of embroidery styles come and go in its timeline. Let us explore the history of embroidery in Seattle and how it has shaped the city’s culture today.

Embroidery was first practiced in Seattle by Native Americans, who hand-stitched traditional designs on clothing and blankets. Traditional beadwork was also popular in this early period, as well as quilts featuring intricate stitching patterns. In later years, European immigrants brought their own style of embroidery to the area.

Which included floral motifs and delicate stitches that were often used to decorate clothing or bedding. As more people moved to Seattle during the 20th century, they brought with them more diverse embroidery styles from around the world.

This allowed for a wider range of techniques and fabrics to be used in local artistry. Today, there are many different types of embroidery being practiced in Seattle, ranging from classic stitching to modern abstract designs.

The growth of Seattle’s art of embroidery scene has created a vibrant culture where artisans can express themselves through their craft. Artists use various techniques such as freehand drawing, applique work, surface stitching, beading, and machine sewing to create unique pieces that capture their own personal aesthetic.

Whether it’s an intricate quilt or a statement t-shirt design. These works provide insight into what makes Seattle so special: its colorful history and creative people. With this rich foundation behind it, we will now look at some popular embroidery techniques that are found throughout the city today…

Art of embroidery in Seattle has a wide array of techniques to choose from when crafting their pieces. Whether they are creating a statement piece or simply embellishing an everyday item. Here are some of the most popular embroidery techniques that can be seen in the Emerald City:

  1. Crewelwork: This traditional style of embroidery is done with wool yarn, which is stitched onto linen or cotton fabric. It often features floral designs and intricate detail, making it perfect for any heirloom piece.
  2. Counted-Thread Embroidery: This type of embroidery involves counting threads on a canvas and then stitching over them with colored thread in various patterns. It’s great for detailed designs as each stitch must be exact and precise.
  3. Applique-Embroidery: This technique is used to add texture to fabric with pieces of decorative material that are attached using stitching or glue. It can create bold graphic designs or subtle accents depending on the artist’s preference.
  4. Canvas-Work: This form of embroidery uses a canvas base with different stitches to create shapes and patterns on the surface. It’s often used for larger projects such as wall hangings and tapestries due to its versatility in size and design potential.

Finally, Surface Stitching is another popular technique that adds color, texture, and dimension to fabric without altering its structure underneath. From cross-stitch to chain-stitch, this method can bring life to any project by adding unique flair through stitch work alone!

From crewelwork to surface stitching – these popular embroidery techniques have made their mark on the city’s culture, giving us insight into Seattle’s artistry through time. With this understanding of various embroidery techniques comes knowledge about the fabrics commonly used in these works…

Types Of Fabrics Used

The type of fabric chosen for an embroidery project can make all the difference in the look and feel of the finished piece. From linen to canvas, each fabric has its own unique properties. That needs to be taken into consideration when crafting a beautiful work of art.

Linen Fabric: Linen is widely used in embroidery due to its durability and ability to hold intricate designs without fraying or stretching. It often has a slightly off-white color, which adds a unique texture and depth to any design.

Cotton Fabric: Cotton is a lightweight material that’s great for detailed stitching as it’s less likely to fray than other fabrics. It comes in a variety of colors and prints, allowing artists to create customized pieces with ease.

Felt Fabric: Felt is made from wool fibers that are densely woven together. Making it perfect for bold designs that need to stand out without fraying or unraveling. Its texture gives projects an eye-catching dimension while still being easy to work with.

Silk Fabric: Silk is one of the oldest fabrics used in embroidery, but it remains popular today due to its luxurious sheen and soft feel. While more expensive than other fabrics, it’s worth the investment for those looking for a truly special piece.

Canvas Fabric: Canvas fabric is durable and inexpensive, making it ideal for larger projects such as wall hangings or tapestries. The tight weave makes it great for intricate patterns and designs. While also providing enough stability so they don’t stretch over time.
Addressing these various types of fabrics allows us to understand how Seattle’s embroiderers create their artworks and the supplies needed for crafting them…

Supplies Needed For Crafting

Creating beautiful embroidery projects requires having the right supplies readily available. Embroiderers need to have a few essential items on hand to achieve the perfect look and feel for their pieces. From needles and threads to hoops and scissors, these tools make all the difference in crafting stunning works of art.

Embroidery needles come in many sizes and shapes, allowing the artist to choose one that fits their project best. Thread spools come in a variety of colors, making it easy to find a hue that complements any design. A fabric hoop is used to hold the fabric taut as you work. So that intricate details don’t get lost in slackness.

Embroidery scissors are specifically designed for cutting through threads without snagging or damaging the fabric itself. Finally, floss skeins offer vibrant shades and hues for adding depth and texture to any design.

Having these supplies at the ready makes it easy for Seattle’s embroiderers to bring their creative visions to life with ease. Now, let’s explore where one can purchase these materials locally…

Where To Buy Materials Locally

For Seattle’s embroiderers, there are a variety of places to find the supplies they need. Whether it’s specialized shops or craft stores. There are plenty of options for finding what you need to bring your next project to life.

Those looking for more specific embroidery supplies should consider visiting one of Seattle’s many specialty shops. These stores carry a wide selection of needles, threads, fabrics, hoops, and scissors that can be hard to find elsewhere. Many offer classes and workshops as well, so you can learn new techniques while stocking up on materials.

For those wanting to shop closer to home, local craft stores also offer a great selection of supplies. Stores like Michaels and Joann Fabrics have an extensive array of thread colors, fabrics, and much more. They also often have sales and discounts making it easy to get the materials you need without breaking the bank.

TIP: Making sure you have all the right tools before beginning an embroidery project is key to achieving beautiful results!

Local Classes And Workshops

For those wishing to take their embroidery skills to the next level, Seattle offers a wealth of classes and workshops for all experience levels. From beginners just starting out to experienced stitchers looking to refine their techniques, there’s something for everyone. Here are just a few of the local classes and workshops that can help you hone your craft:

1) Embroidery Basics: This is a great introduction for beginners looking to learn the basics of stitching. You’ll learn how to use needles, threads, and fabrics while mastering techniques like backstitch, chain stitch, and French knots.

2) Embroidery Projects: If you’re ready to start working on projects of your own, this class will provide plenty of ideas. You’ll be able to create beautiful pieces such as hoop art, patches, greeting cards, and more.

3) Fabric Crafts: If you love fabric crafts such as quilting or applique in addition to embroidery, this class covers it all! Learn how to combine these techniques with embroidery for even more creative possibilities.

4) Advanced Techniques: For those looking for more challenging projects, this workshop focuses on advanced-level stitches such as bullion knots or satin stitches. You’ll get plenty of hands-on practice with these intricate designs.

No matter what level you’re at in your embroidery journey or what type of craft you’re interested in exploring further. Seattle has plenty of resources available that can help bring your vision to life. Now let’s explore the best places around town to see stunning examples of embroidery artwork at its finest.

Best Places To See Embroidery Artwork

Embroidery art has become a popular form of expression in the Emerald City. And there are plenty of places to go to see stunning examples. From traditional galleries to murals on city walls, Seattle has it all when it comes to appreciating embroidery artwork. Here are some of the best places to explore:

Traditional Galleries:

For those looking for a more traditional experience, Seattle has several galleries showcasing unique embroidery designs. From exquisite paintings to intricate tapestries. These galleries offer an opportunity to appreciate the skill and precision that goes into creating these pieces.

Seattle Art Murals:

If you’re looking for something more unexpected, don’t miss out on exploring the vibrant street art murals around town. Many of them feature beautiful embroidery designs that can be seen from afar—and up close they reveal even more detail and craftsmanship.

No matter what type of embroidery art sparks your interest, there’s sure to be something in Seattle for everyone. With so much variety available, one can find inspiration and motivation just about anywhere in this creative city.

Finding Inspiration And Motivation

The beauty of embroidery art is that it can be as simple or complex as one wants it to be. From basic hand embroidery to intricate works of art, there are endless possibilities for creative projects. With so much inspiration available, it can be easy to get overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. But with the right motivation, anyone can find new ways to explore this fascinating craft.

Here are some tips for finding the motivation and inspiration needed to embark on an embroidery project:

Embroidery Ideas: Seek out ideas from other artists and makers in order to discover unique and inspirational designs. The internet is a great resource for finding tutorials, patterns, and tips from experienced stitchers.

Hand Embroidery: If you’re just starting out, try experimenting with basic hand embroidery techniques before moving on to more complex projects. This will give you a better understanding of stitches and how they can be used in different ways.

Inspirational Designs: Look around your environment for inspiration when creating your own designs. You may find unexpected sources of creativity in everyday objects such as textiles, plants, or even food!

Motivation Tips: Make sure you set realistic goals and don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way. Remember that failure is part of the creative process so don’t let it discourage you from continuing with your project. Finally, take breaks when needed—a refreshed mind can often lead to more innovative ideas!

With these tips in mind, anyone can start their journey into the world of embroidery art—all it takes is a little bit of motivation and creativity!

Guidance For Beginners

For beginners, the world of embroidery can seem daunting. There are countless materials and techniques to learn, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information available. Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true tips for anyone just getting started with this craft.

The first step is to familiarize yourself with the basics of embroidery. Learn about essential supplies like needles, threads, fabrics, and hoops. Understand the different types of stitches used in embroidery and practice them until you become comfortable with them. Experimenting with different thread colors is also a great way to add character and personality to your work.

When starting an embroidery project, take your time, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way. As each stitch is carefully placed on the fabric, you’ll build confidence in your skills as well as a deeper appreciation for this craft. With patience and dedication, you’ll soon be able to create stunning works of art inspired by Seattle’s story!

Benefits Of Practicing Embroidery

People are often surprised to learn that embroidery can provide a therapeutic benefit. In fact, one study showed that people who practice creative stitching experienced greater feelings of relaxation and joy than those who did not. Embroidery is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, as it allows for mindful focus on each stitch and provides an opportunity for self-expression. Here are some of the top benefits of practicing embroidery:

Stress relief: The repetitive motion of stitching helps soothe the mind and relax the body, allowing for a calming escape from everyday worries.

Needlework relaxation: Stitching requires intense concentration, so it’s easy to get lost in the project at hand and forget about any stresses or anxieties.

Embroidery meditative: Like other forms of meditation, embroidery can help clear your mind and bring clarity to difficult situations.

Creative stitching: This craft offers endless possibilities when it comes to creating beautiful pieces of art. It’s a fun way to express yourself through color and texture.

The art of embroidery is an enjoyable activity that can bring joy into your life while providing many therapeutic benefits. It has been proven time and time again that needlework can reduce stress levels, create feelings of happiness, and promote a sense of calmness. Whether you’re new to this craft or already have experience with it, anyone can reap the rewards of this age-old art form.

Frequently Asked Questions

When it comes to artistic embroidery designs, there are a plethora of choices available. From floral embroidery to animal embroidery and geometric embroidery, the possibilities are seemingly endless. Popular embroidery motifs range from hearts and stars to animals and flowers, depending on the style of the stitcher. With so many options available, it can be difficult to decide which design is right for you.

For those looking for something unique, customizing an existing pattern or creating your own design could be the perfect option. There are plenty of online resources that provide step-by-step instructions on how to create intricate patterns and motifs with ease.

Alternatively, there are also pre-made kits that come with everything you need to get started – including thread, fabric, needles, and the pattern itself. Whether you’re just starting out or have been stitching for years, there’s sure to be an embroidery design that fits your personal style.

How Long Does It Take To Learn Embroidery?

Learning the art of embroidery is a beloved hobby for many people, but it can also be a time-consuming process. It takes practice, patience, and dedication to learn the techniques and develop the skill. How long does it take to learn embroidery?

The answer depends on numerous factors such as your prior knowledge of the art of embroidery, how much time you are willing to dedicate to learning, and the type of instruction you use. If you have no prior experience with embroidery, it will take longer than if you already have some familiarity.

Also, if you are able to devote an hour or two per day to learning the stitches and techniques of this craft, you will progress more quickly than someone who only has a few hours here and there to practice.

Finally, depending on your preferred learning style, there are different types of instruction available that may help speed up the process – from online tutorials to in-person classes at local art stores or community centers.

TIP: Before starting out on your embroidery journey. Decide what kind of learning environment works best for you – then set aside some dedicated time each week so that you can progress steadily and build your skills over time.

What Is The Cost Of Embroidery Supplies?

Embroidery has long been a craft that has captivated the hearts and minds of many. From intricate designs to delicate details, it’s not hard to see why so many take up this creative hobby. But how much does it cost to indulge in such a craft?

For those just getting started, the cost of embroidery supplies can range from an affordable price to a hefty sum. Threads, needles, hoops, and other tools all add up to form an estimate for the new crafter. Embroidery thread costs can vary depending on quality and quantity; likewise for needles and hoops. It is important to research before making a purchase to ensure the supplies are right for you.

TIP: Consider buying pre-made embroidery kits as they come with everything needed in one package and usually at a discounted price! This way, you don’t have to worry about purchasing each item separately while also staying within your budget.

What Are The Best Tools For Embroidery?

When it comes to the art of embroidery, having the right tools is essential. The basics for any embroidery project include an embroidery hoop, needles, floss, patterns, and scissors. Considering the quality of each item is important when selecting them because they will be used to create a lasting piece of art.

Embroidery hoops are available in varying sizes and materials such as wood or plastic. When buying hoops, look for ones that are sturdy and fit securely around the fabric you plan on using. Embroidery needles come in different sizes depending on the type of stitch you wish to use.

Make sure to find needles that have a sharp point and an eye that is large enough for your chosen thread. Embroidery floss also comes in various colors and thicknesses so you can choose one that best suits your project. Additionally, patterns give structure to your design while scissors help with trimming away excess thread or fabric from the finished product.

Thanks to these supplies, anyone can start creating beautiful embroidered pieces. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, having the right tools will ensure your project turns out just as you envisioned it!

Are There Embroidery Stores Online?

Statistics from the Craft & Hobby Association show that the craft and hobby industry rakes in around $44 billion a year. Embroidery is no exception, with embroidery-specific stores popping up all over the U.S. But what about those who prefer to shop for embroidery supplies online? Are there embroidery stores online?

The answer is yes! There are several online embroidery stores offering everything an avid embroiderer needs to craft their next masterpiece. Here are five reasons why you should consider shopping at an online embroidery store:

Convenience – Online stores are available 24/7, so you can shop anytime, anywhere

Variety – These stores offer a wide selection of products from different brands

Affordability – Many of these stores offer competitive prices and discounts

Quality – You’re sure to find high-quality products from trusted brands

Expertise – Many of these stores have knowledgeable staff ready to help if customers have any questions or concerns.

Shopping at an online embroidery store comes with many advantages that physical retail locations don’t have. From convenience and affordability to variety and expertise, there’s something for everyone when it comes to buying embroidery supplies online.

So whether you’re a beginner just starting out or a seasoned veteran looking for the latest tools and materials, be sure to check out what’s available at one of these online shops!


Embroidery is a centuries-old art form that adds texture, depth, and beauty to any design. In Seattle, this craft is alive and well, with a vibrant community of embroiderers who create intricate designs to adorn clothing, home decor, and accessories. From learning the basics to finding the right tools, the process of embroidery can be an enjoyable experience for anyone. The cost of supplies may vary depending on where you purchase them. But it’s still an accessible hobby for all skill levels.

The theory behind the popularity of embroidery in Seattle is that it has become a way to tell stories about its people and places. By investing time and effort into creating these works of art, locals are able to capture their unique culture in an eye-catching way. Through stitching together memories from different perspectives, these pieces help represent the city’s identity in an authentic way.

While there are many ways to explore embroidery in Seattle – from attending classes to ordering supplies online – it’s up to each individual artist how they choose to craft their own story. No matter the technique or style used, the results will be beautiful expressions that show off what makes this city so special.

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Antonio Massey

Production Team: Folder

Antonio Massey recently joined NWCA in June of 2022. His role on the Production Team has greatly improved our processes and productivity. Antonio is always willing to lift heavy boxes or help his co-workers during busy times. In his free time, he enjoys playing with his dog and mastering video games.


Alicia Wada

Shipping Clerk

Alicia Wada is passionate about helping her co-workers at Northwest Custom Apparel in any way that she can. She works in our Shipping and Logistics department. Alicia, who goes by Ali, has a bachelor’s degree in Applied Mathematics. She lived in Japan for ten years and recently brought her family to America in 2019. She is interested in learning crafts and textile art from around the world.


Erik Mickelson


Erik Mickelson’s position as Manager is more than a job, it’s a passion. It’s always fun and exciting because he enjoys marketing, computers, and coming up with innovative ideas to help NWCA grow. He majored in accounting and finance at Washington State University, graduating in 1996, and returned to school to obtain his Master of Business from WGU, graduating in 2016. Erik continually strives to advance his education through podcasts, audiobooks, and industry tradeshows. He is married to a remarkable and caring wife named Wendy, a Registered Nurse, with whom he shares his many hobbies and a love for the outdoors.



Ruth Nhoung

Production Manager

Ruth Nhoung is our Production Manager and Northwest Custom Apparel is lucky to have her. Thanks to her vast knowledge of machine embroidery and dedication to creating a comfortable and supportive work environment, the production plant runs smoothly and customers are pleased with our work. She is a loving mother and grandmother and enjoys spending quality time with her siblings. She says, “I love everything about Northwest Custom Apparel: the people, the atmosphere, the work, and the customers. I love what I do and I embrace all of NWCA’s core values”.


Steve Deland

Art Director

Steve Deland has been our amazing Artist since 2017. He loves working at Northwest Custom Apparel because he appreciates the goal-oriented, progressive-thinking management style. He is most passionate about his art, which includes scroll saw woodwork, and his five grandchildren.



Taylar Hanson


Taylar Hanson is a highly acclaimed Saleswoman at Northwest Custom Apparel. She has a BA in Apparel, Merchandising, Design, and Textiles from Washington State University. “Go Cougs!” The best part of Taylar’s job is getting to work with longtime customers who trust us to do the best work and take care of their needs. She is passionate about appreciating nature, traveling, and spending time with friends and family.


Nika Lao


Nika Lao is very knowledgeable in how the business is ran because she began as an Embroidery Machine Operator and has worked hard to become the excellent and personable saleswoman she is today. She enjoys the stress-free environment and the many chances to connect with her co-workers over potlucks, BBQs, and bowling parties. Nika is a proud sister of two highly successful brothers and can boast mastering three languages herself: Khmer, Thai, and English. She is an avid camper, enjoys going to farmer markets, and loves cooking.


Bradley Wright


Bradley Wright has been a vital team member of NWCA since 2017. As our accountant and knower-of-all-things, Bradley is proud to work closely with his wonderful colleagues. He studied at the University of Washington. These days he dedicates his free time to his new house.


Dominic Nguyen

DTG Operator

Dominic Nguyen recently joined our Direct-To-Garment department. He says he loves the family work environment at Northwest Custom Apparel. In his free time, Dom likes to listen to music, hangout with friends, and play video games. He comes from a very big family which can be very chaotic at times, but is always exciting.


Sothea Tann

Production Team: Trimmer

Sothea Tann recently joined the Production Team in 2022. She finds Northwest Custom Apparel to be a good working environment with helpful and friendly staff. In her free time, Sothea spends quality time with her family and, overall, focuses on a peaceful and happy lifestyle.


Brian Beardsley

DTG Supervisor

Brian Beardsley has been with Northwest Custom Apparel since 2018. He is our DTG Supervisor. Brian loves that he gets to work with high-tech machines in a fun atmosphere. He has a bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design. He said, “I always wanted to create visually interesting assets in a variety of mediums”. In his free time, he enjoys building and painting models, playing video games, designing, and playing his guitar.


UT Tri Tran

Embroidery Machine Operator

UT Tri Tran loves Northwest Custom Apparel so much that, although she has already retired after a long career in machine embroidery operations, she is happy to return part time. She says, “I love the family style work environment and how everyone shares food, laughter, and fun on a regular basis.” In her free time she is dedicated to living a healthy and peaceful lifestyle with her friends and family.



Embroidery Machine Operator

BunsereytheavyHoeu, who goes by Theavy, won our Operator of the Year in 2021. She takes on many roles in the production team. She says, “These are not my co-workers, these are my family! I cherish all the memories we make together”. When she goes home to be with her family, she makes the most of her time with them by holding family get-togethers and even karaoke competitions.


Sreynai Meang

Embroidery Machine Operator

SreynaiMeang is a hard-working Machine Operator. She is most passionate about helping people. Sreynai, who goes by Nai, likes to exercise in her free time and talk with her family in Cambodia.


Kanha Chhorn

Embroidery Machine Operator

Kanha Chhorn has been an Embroidery Operator with Northwest Custom Apparel since 2018. She is delightful and always makes everyone smile and laugh. Kanha takes on additional tasks that allow us to exceed our customers’ expectations. In her free time, she can be found at her local temple or spending quality time with her family and friends.


Savy Som

Embroidery Machine Operator

SavySom is one of our Machine Operators who is passionate about embroidery and sewing. She enjoys working at NWCA because of its flexibility. She has two teenage sons and loves spending time with her family on the weekends.



Embroidery Machine Operator

SorphornSorm has been a Machine Operator since 2011. One of her four sisters works here as well. Her other relatives are in Cambodia. In her free time, Sorphorn studies English, listens to music, and enjoys exercising.


Jim Mickelson


Jim Mickelson, after a successful career with a major oil company, founded Northwest Embroidery in 1977. This was the first commercial embroidery in the Pacific Northwest. Over the years, Jim has become the guru of embroidery never refusing to answer a question or offer advice to his fellow embroiders. Jim and his wife Leeanna raised four wonderful children who went on to successful business careers.

Northwest Custom Apparel
Northwest Custom Apparel
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This small business is excellent! Great turnaround times and pricing. We've completely switched over to them for our uniform needs. The embroidery looks amazing and very professional. We have gotten jackets, vests, safety vests, hats and uniform polo shirts with them. The screen prints are very resistant to numerous washes. They have been super flexible and patient with us and going through getting PO set up with our company.
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Words can't describe how much I appreciate the outstanding customer service I received from Northwest Custom Apparel! I placed an order for two coats that I needed in one week for a Valentines' day gift and Nika made it happen! She was proactive, quickly responsive, and understanding of me needing to see different looks of our company logo. She was incredibly sweet, accommodating, and made every effort to make my order the way I wanted it. A part of me felt bad asking to see the different looks, but she reassured me it was not a problem and was on top of her game! Every staff member I interacted with when I came to their shop was very pleasant, welcoming, and attentive as well. All around great work! Will absolutely use them again and highly recommend!!! Thank you Northwest Custom Apparel!!!