Stitching Stories: Unveiling the Art of Embroidery in Washington

Art of Embroidery in Washington

Embroidery, a timeless craft, has woven its way into the cultural fabric of Washington, creating a tapestry of artistry and tradition. From its historical roots to the vibrant contemporary scene, the art of embroidery has flourished in the nation’s capital.

Since before time, the delicate craft of embroidery—decorating fabric with a needle and thread—has been valued as a means of expression. This skill assumes a distinct identity in Washington, reflecting the wide range of cultural influences that form the city. Washington is a city rich in culture and history, and as such, it values custom embroidery not only as an artistic medium but also as a representation of creativity and tradition. Both residents and tourists have a particular place in their hearts for the craft.

History of Embroidery in Washington

The history of needlework in the nation’s capital goes back to the early years of its establishment. Communities added thread by thread to the elaborate embroidery that decorated clothing and homes. Over time, embroidery has changed to reflect changing tastes and fashions. The trade has undergone an amazing transformation, moving from complex handiwork to a combination of modern techniques.

Notable Embroidery Styles

There is a wide variety of traditional needlework techniques in Washington, and each one tells a different tale. These crafts, which range from crewelwork to cross-stitch, showcase the cultural diversity of the city. current artists in the city are creating new methods by fusing classic styles with current aesthetics, in addition to using traditional techniques. The needlework scene in Washington is given a vibrant flavor by this blend of the old and the new.

Impact on Local Culture

Beyond mere needlework, embroidery is celebrated as a true art form in Washington. Galleries and exhibitions showcase the talent and creativity of local artisans, elevating the craft to a higher level. Embroidery plays a vital role in cultural celebrations and social gatherings. From ceremonial garments to community projects, the craft fosters a sense of unity and pride among the residents of Washington.

Washington hosts annual embroidery shows that draw artists, collectors, and enthusiasts from around the region. These events provide a platform for showcasing the latest trends and celebrating the diversity of the craft. In the spirit of community engagement, workshops are organized to teach and inspire aspiring embroiderers. These hands-on sessions foster creativity and help preserve the craft for future generations.

A significant trend in recent years is the rise of do-it-yourself (DIY) embroidery. Residents of Washington are embracing the craft as a form of self-expression, creating personalized pieces that reflect their unique style. NW Custom Apparel: DIY embroidery has also become a catalyst for community engagement. Groups and clubs centered around the craft provide a platform for like-minded individuals to connect, share ideas, and collaborate on projects.

Exploring Embroidery Supplies and Markets

For those looking to embark on their embroidery journey, Washington offers a plethora of stores providing quality supplies. From specialty shops to online platforms, finding the right materials is an exciting part of the creative process. Embroidery enthusiasts can explore local markets and bazaars where handmade and unique embroidered items are available. These markets not only support local artisans but also offer a diverse range of materials and finished products.

Learning Embroidery in Washington

Embarking on a journey to learn embroidery is made easier with the availability of workshops and classes in Washington. These educational opportunities cater to all skill levels, ensuring that anyone can unlock their creative potential. In addition to formal classes, a wealth of educational resources, both online and offline, is accessible to those eager to expand their knowledge of embroidery techniques and styles.

Embroidery and Tourism in Washington

Embroidery has become a unique attraction for tourists visiting Washington. Guided tours of prominent studios and exhibitions offer visitors a glimpse into the city’s vibrant creative scene. For tourists seeking mementos, embroidered souvenirs capture the essence of Washington. These keepsakes serve as lasting reminders of the city’s artistic flair and cultural heritage.

The future of embroidery in Washington looks promising, with emerging styles pushing the boundaries of creativity. From innovative techniques to collaborations, the city’s embroidery scene continues to evolve. Collaborations between local artists and international influences contribute to the cross-cultural vibrancy of Washington embroidery. These partnerships foster a global exchange of ideas, enriching the local scene.


Summing up the journey through the intricate world of embroidery in Washington, it’s evident that the craft is more than just needle and thread. It’s a cultural phenomenon, a form of expression, and a testament to the city’s rich history and dynamic present.

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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
163 Google reviews
Steve McMains
Steve McMains
Great place to do business with.
Hector Aponte
Hector Aponte
Splendid service by this team. I needed a job done in one day and without hesitation I was helped. Besides the no notice, need now accommodation, the overall quality of the job of superb.
anthony mckenna
anthony mckenna
Amazing service and quality of work.
katie latimer
katie latimer
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.
Dave Lambing
Dave Lambing
I am the Quartermaster for the Tacoma Fire Buff Battalion. We use Northwest Custom Apparel to produce our uniform articles. Their work is always perfect and done is record time. I can't recommend them highly enough.
Kyle Keehnel
Kyle Keehnel
Our company has been going to NWCA for years and have always encountered friendly service and quality products.
Smokey B3ar21
Smokey B3ar21
Super friendly staff , wonderful products for our company and couldn’t be happier with them
Chuck Schilling
Chuck Schilling
Working with NWCA was like hitting the EASY button! Ten days from our initial meeting to completed shirts and we couldn't be more pleased.
Bret Lauritzen
Bret Lauritzen
Prompt service
Cassandra Johnson
Cassandra Johnson
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!!!