Types of Embroidery Techniques & Styles


Embroidery appeals to a wide audience due to its versatility and accessibility. Different types of embroidery, such as cross stitch, crewel work, and sashiko, cater to various skill levels and artistic preferences. Each type uses distinct stitches, patterns, and materials, making them unique in their appearance and application. Whether for personal enjoyment, home decor, or fashion, embroidery provides endless creative possibilities. For those looking to add a professional touch to their projects, our personalized embroidery service at NW Custom Apparel offers expert craftsmanship and customized designs.

In this article, you will learn about various types of embroidery, their history, required materials, common stitches, and examples of projects. Each section offers detailed guidance, making it easy for beginners to start and for experienced embroiderers to explore new techniques.

Types of Embroidery

Cross Stitch

Cross stitch is one of the oldest forms of embroidery, dating back to the medieval period. It was used to decorate household items and garments with geometric patterns and motifs. Traditionally, cross stitch was popular in Europe and the Middle East, evolving into the vibrant and detailed art form we know today.

Materials and Tools Needed

To start cross stitching, you need the following materials and tools:

  • Fabric: Aida cloth is the most common choice due to its easy-to-count squares.
  • Thread: Embroidery floss, typically cotton, is used in various colors.
  • Needles: Blunt-tipped needles (tapestry needles) are ideal for cross stitching to prevent splitting the fabric threads.
  • Hoops or Frames: These hold the fabric taut while you stitch, ensuring even tension and neat stitches.

Common Stitches Used in

Cross stitch primarily uses the X-shaped stitch on a grid pattern, which is simple yet versatile. The following stitches are also commonly used:

  • Half Cross Stitch: A single diagonal stitch, used for shading and finer details.
  • Backstitch: Outlines and defines shapes, adding detail and depth.
  • French Knot: Creates small, raised dots, often used for eyes or flower centers.

How to Start Cross Stitching

To start cross stitching, follow these steps:

  • Choose a Pattern: Select a pattern suitable for your skill level.
  • Prepare Your Fabric: Cut the fabric to size, allowing extra space around the edges.
  • Set Up Your Hoop: Place the fabric in the hoop and tighten it.
  • Thread Your Needle: Use one or more strands of floss, depending on the pattern’s instructions.
  • Begin Stitching: Follow the pattern, making X-shaped stitches by counting the squares on the fabric.

Example Cross Stitch Projects

Here are some examples of cross stitch projects to inspire you:

  • Home Decor: Create wall art or cushions with intricate patterns.
  • Personal Accessories: Embroider bookmarks, keychains, or phone cases.
  • Gifts: Make personalized gifts such as monogrammed towels or framed designs.

Crewel Work

Crewel work is an ancient form of embroidery that dates back to at least the 11th century. Originating in England, it was widely used to decorate household items such as bed hangings, curtains, and upholstery. Crewel embroidery traditionally employs wool threads on linen or cotton fabric, creating intricate and textured designs often featuring floral motifs, animals, and nature scenes​​.

Essential Materials for Crewel Work

To begin crewel work, you need specific materials:

  • Fabric: Linen and linen twill are commonly used for their durability and ability to hold wool threads.
  • Thread: Wool thread, known for its texture and vibrant colors.
  • Needles: Crewel needles, which have a large eye to accommodate wool thread.
  • Hoops or Frames: These tools help keep the fabric taut for even stitching.

Crewel work employs a variety of stitches, each adding different textures and effects:

  • Stem Stitch: Creates smooth, curved lines, ideal for outlines and vines.
  • Satin Stitch: Fills areas with solid color, providing a smooth finish.
  • Chain Stitch: Forms a chain-like pattern, perfect for creating borders and outlines.
  • French Knots: Small, raised knots that add texture and detail to designs.

Step-by-Step Crewel Work Tutorial

To begin crewel work, follow these steps:

  • Prepare Your Fabric: Wash and iron the fabric to remove any creases.
  • Transfer the Design: Use a transfer pen or paper to trace your design onto the fabric.
  • Set Up Your Hoop: Place the fabric in an embroidery hoop and tighten it.
  • Thread Your Needle: Cut a length of wool thread and thread it through a crewel needle.
  • Start Stitching: Follow your design, using various stitches to fill in and outline the pattern.
  • Finish and Secure: Once complete, secure the threads at the back with a knot and trim any excess​.

Creative Crewel Work Designs

Crewel work offers endless design possibilities, including:

  • Floral Patterns: Flowers, leaves, and vines in vibrant colors.
  • Animal Motifs: Birds, insects, and woodland creatures.
  • Nature Scenes: Trees, landscapes, and water features.
  • Abstract Designs: Geometric shapes and modern art-inspired patterns​​.


Blackwork is a historical form of embroidery that originated in Spain and became popular in England during the Tudor period. It traditionally uses black thread on white or light-colored fabric, creating high-contrast, intricate patterns. Initially, blackwork was used to decorate garments such as cuffs, collars, and sleeves​​.

Tools and Materials for Blackwork Embroidery

For blackwork, you need the following materials:

  • Fabric: Even-weave fabric like linen or Aida cloth.
  • Thread: Black embroidery floss or silk thread.
  • Needles: Embroidery needles with sharp points.
  • Hoops or Frames: To keep the fabric taut during stitching​.

Key Stitches in Blackwork

Blackwork primarily uses the following stitches:

  • Backstitch: Creates smooth lines and outlines.
  • Double Running Stitch: Also known as Holbein stitch, it produces reversible lines.
  • Seed Stitch: Small, random stitches that add texture.

Getting Started with Blackwork

To start blackwork embroidery, follow these steps:

  • Select a Pattern: Choose a geometric or floral pattern suitable for blackwork.
  • Transfer the Design: Use a water-soluble pen or lightbox to trace the pattern onto the fabric.
  • Set Up Your Hoop: Place the fabric in the hoop and tighten it.
  • Thread Your Needle: Cut a length of black thread and thread it through the needle.
  • Begin Stitching: Use backstitch or double running stitch to follow the pattern lines.
  • Finish and Secure: Secure the thread ends at the back and trim any excess​.

Inspiring Blackwork Patterns

Examples of blackwork designs include:

  • Geometric Patterns: Symmetrical shapes and repeating motifs.
  • Floral Designs: Flowers, leaves, and vines.
  • Historical Replicas: Patterns inspired by Tudor-era garments.
  • Modern Interpretations: Contemporary designs blending traditional blackwork with modern aesthetics​.

Hardanger Embroidery

Hardanger embroidery originates from the Hardanger region of Norway. This white-on-white technique dates back to the 17th century and was traditionally used to decorate household linens such as tablecloths, bedspreads, and curtains. Hardanger combines drawn thread work and cutwork to create lace-like patterns​.

Materials and Techniques for Hardanger

To begin Hardanger embroidery, you need:

  • Fabric: Even-weave fabric such as Hardanger cloth or linen.
  • Thread: Perle cotton thread, typically in white or neutral colors.
  • Needles: Embroidery needles with blunt tips for weaving.
  • Scissors: Sharp scissors for cutting fabric threads​.

Stitches Unique to Hardanger Embroidery

Hardanger embroidery features specific stitches:

  • Kloster Blocks: Groups of satin stitches forming solid blocks.
  • Buttonhole Stitch: Secures the edges of cut areas.
  • Weaving Stitches: Fills in the open areas created by cutwork.
  • Picots: Decorative loops added to buttonhole stitches​.

Hardanger Embroidery Tutorial

To start Hardanger embroidery, follow these steps:

Select a Design: Choose a pattern with clear instructions for beginners.

  • Transfer the Design: Mark the fabric with a water-soluble pen.
  • Set Up Your Hoop: Place the fabric in the hoop and tighten it.
  • Stitch Kloster Blocks: Begin by stitching the Kloster blocks, which are groups of satin stitches that form the foundation of the design.
  • Cut Threads: Carefully cut the threads within the Kloster blocks as indicated in your pattern.
  • Secure Cut Edges: Use buttonhole or overcast stitches to secure the cut edges and prevent fraying.
  • Weave and Fill: Fill the open areas with weaving stitches such as bars, doves eyes, or picots.
  • Finish: Remove the fabric from the hoop, wash out the marking pen, and iron the piece to set the stitches.


Examples of Hardanger designs include:

  • Table Linens: Elegant table runners, placemats, and doilies.
  • Home Decor: Wall hangings, pillow covers, and curtains.
  • Accessories: Bookmarks, handkerchiefs, and Christmas ornaments​.


Sashiko, meaning “little stabs” in Japanese, is a traditional form of embroidery that originated in Japan during the Edo period. It was initially developed as a practical technique to reinforce and repair worn clothing, using small, even stitches to create geometric patterns. Over time, Sashiko evolved into an art form, appreciated for its aesthetic appeal and cultural significance​​.

Required Tools and Materials

To practice Sashiko embroidery, you need the following tools and materials:

  • Fabric: Traditionally, indigo-dyed cotton fabric is used, but any sturdy, non-stretch fabric works well.
  • Thread: Sashiko thread is typically white cotton, thicker than regular embroidery floss to create distinct stitches.
  • Needles: Sashiko needles are long and sharp, allowing for multiple stitches to be made at once.
  • Thimble: A palm thimble is commonly used to push the needle through the fabric.
  • Hoop or Frame: Not always necessary, but can help keep the fabric taut​.

Basic Sashiko Stitches

Sashiko primarily uses the running stitch, which is a simple, straight stitch made by passing the needle in and out of the fabric at regular intervals. The stitch length and spacing are typically uniform, contributing to the overall geometric pattern. Patterns are often pre-marked on the fabric to ensure precision and consistency​​.

How to Start Sashiko Embroidery

To begin Sashiko embroidery, follow these steps:

  • Prepare Your Fabric: Choose a piece of fabric and cut it to the desired size.
  • Mark the Pattern: Use a water-soluble marker or chalk to draw the pattern on the fabric.
  • Thread Your Needle: Cut a length of Sashiko thread and thread it through the needle.
  • Start Stitching: Begin stitching along the marked lines, keeping the stitch length consistent.
  • Secure the Ends: Knot the thread at the beginning and end of each line to prevent unraveling​.

Beautiful Sashiko Projects

Sashiko can be used to create a variety of beautiful projects, including:

  • Quilts and Blankets: Large, intricate patterns add texture and warmth.
  • Clothing: Decorate jackets, jeans, and shirts with Sashiko motifs.
  • Home Decor: Make coasters, table runners, and wall hangings.
  • Accessories: Embellish bags, pouches, and cushions with Sashiko designs.

Pulled Thread Embroidery

Pulled thread embroidery is a counted thread technique that involves pulling the fabric threads together with stitches to create open, lacy patterns. Unlike drawn thread work, no threads are removed from the fabric. This technique is often used on even-weave fabric to ensure precise and uniform patterns.

Materials Needed

To begin pulled thread embroidery, you need the following materials:

  • Fabric: Even-weave fabric like linen or Aida cloth.
  • Thread: Strong, non-stretch thread such as cotton or silk.
  • Needles: Sharp embroidery needles.
  • Hoop or Frame: Keeps the fabric taut for even tension during stitching​​.

Common Stitches in Pulled Thread Work

Pulled thread embroidery uses specific stitches to create its distinctive look:

  • Four-Sided Stitch: Creates square holes in the fabric.
  • Wave Stitch: Forms undulating patterns.
  • Algerian Eye Stitch: Produces small, eyelet holes.
  • Honeycomb Stitch: Creates a hexagonal, net-like pattern​.

Step-by-Step Pulled Thread Guide

To start pulled thread embroidery, follow these steps:

  • Select a Pattern: Choose a design that incorporates pulled thread techniques.
  • Prepare Your Fabric: Cut the fabric to size and mark the pattern.
  • Set Up Your Hoop: Place the fabric in the hoop and tighten it.
  • Thread Your Needle: Cut a length of thread and thread it through the needle.
  • Begin Stitching: Follow the pattern, pulling the threads taut to create open spaces.
  • Finish and Secure: Knot the thread ends at the back and trim any excess​​.

Sample Pulled Thread Designs

Examples of pulled thread designs include:

  • Lace Borders: Decorative edges for linens and garments.
  • Table Linens: Intricate designs on tablecloths and napkins.
  • Curtains: Delicate patterns for sheer window treatments.
  • Bookmarks: Elegant and functional gifts​.


Stumpwork is a form of raised embroidery that creates three-dimensional designs. This technique involves padding, wiring, and layering to make elements like flowers, insects, and animals stand out from the fabric. Originating in the 17th century, stumpwork was used to embellish household items and personal accessories​​.

Tools and Materials

To practice stumpwork, you need the following tools and materials:

  • Fabric: Sturdy fabric like cotton or linen.
  • Thread: Cotton, silk, or metallic threads for variety.
  • Needles: Embroidery needles and milliners needles for detailed work.
  • Wires: Fine gauge wires to shape and support raised elements.
  • Padding: Felt, batting, or cotton wool to add dimension.
  • Hoop or Frame: Keeps the fabric taut while stitching.

Key Techniques in Dimensional Stumpwork

Stumpwork involves several key techniques to achieve its three-dimensional effect:

  • Wired Shapes: Embroider over wire to create shapes that can be manipulated and positioned for a raised effect.
  • Padding: Use materials like felt or cotton wool to add depth to certain areas.
  • Detached Elements: Create parts of the design separately and then attach them to the main fabric to enhance the dimensional look.
  • Raised Stitches: Techniques like bullion knots and cast-on stitches add texture and height to the embroidery​.

Beginner’s Guide to Stumpwork

To start stumpwork, follow these steps:

  • Prepare Your Fabric: Cut and prepare your fabric, securing it in an embroidery hoop or frame.
  • Transfer the Design: Use a transfer pen or paper to trace the design onto the fabric.
  • Create Wired Shapes: Embroider over wire to form shapes like petals or leaves, then cut out and attach to the fabric.
  • Add Padding: Place padding under areas that need to be raised, stitching over the padding to secure it.
  • Stitch Detached Elements: Make elements like flowers or insects separately, then attach them to the main fabric with small, hidden stitches.
  • Finish and Secure: Knot and trim the threads at the back, ensuring all elements are securely attached​.

Innovative Stumpwork Patterns

Stumpwork can be used to create a variety of innovative designs, including:

  • Floral Arrangements: Three-dimensional flowers with realistic petals and leaves.
  • Insect Motifs: Detailed butterflies, bees, and dragonflies that appear to be perched on the fabric.
  • Nature Scenes: Landscapes with textured trees, mountains, and water features.
  • Abstract Art: Modern, three-dimensional interpretations of geometric shapes and patterns​.


Needlepoint is a form of counted thread embroidery that typically involves stitching onto a stiff, open-weave canvas. Unlike freeform embroidery, needlepoint relies on a grid-based approach, where each intersection of canvas threads is stitched to create detailed patterns. Historically, needlepoint has been used for decorative arts, including wall hangings, upholstery, and fashion accessories.

Needlepoint Materials

To start needlepoint embroidery, you need:

  • Canvas: Stiff, open-weave canvas such as mono canvas, penelope canvas, or interlock canvas.
  • Threads: Wool, silk, cotton, or synthetic threads, chosen based on the desired texture and color.
  • Needles: Tapestry needles with a blunt tip to prevent splitting the canvas threads.
  • Hoop or Frame: Helps keep the canvas taut for precise stitching​.

Stitches Commonly Used in

Common needlepoint stitches include:

  • Tent Stitch: A diagonal stitch over one canvas intersection, providing full coverage and detail.
  • Basketweave Stitch: A variation of the tent stitch, worked in a diagonal pattern to reduce canvas distortion.
  • Continental Stitch: Similar to the tent stitch, but worked in horizontal rows.
  • Cross Stitch: Creates X-shaped stitches over the canvas, used for adding texture and dimension​.

Starting a Needlepoint Project

To begin a needlepoint project, follow these steps:

  • Select a Design: Choose a pattern or create your own on graph paper.
  • Prepare Your Canvas: Cut the canvas to the required size, leaving extra margins for finishing.
  • Thread Your Needle: Choose thread colors that match your design and thread your needle.
  • Start Stitching: Follow the design, using the appropriate stitches to fill in the pattern.
  • Finish and Secure: Secure the threads at the back of the canvas and trim any excess​.

Stunning Needlepoint Creations

Needlepoint can be used to create various stunning projects, such as:

  • Decorative Pillows: Add intricate designs to throw pillows for a personalized touch.
  • Wall Hangings: Create large, detailed pieces of art for home decor.
  • Fashion Accessories: Embellish bags, belts, and eyeglass cases with needlepoint designs.
  • Christmas Ornaments: Craft unique holiday decorations with festive patterns​.


Cutwork embroidery is a technique that involves cutting out portions of the fabric and using stitches to secure and embellish the edges. This creates a lace-like effect, often used for table linens, garments, and decorative items. Cutwork has been practiced for centuries and is known for its delicate, elegant appearance​.

Materials and Tools

To create cutwork embroidery, you need:

  • Fabric: Linen, cotton, or any firm, non-stretch fabric.
  • Thread: Cotton, silk, or metallic thread, chosen for its strength and color.
  • Needles: Sharp embroidery needles for precision.
  • Scissors: Small, sharp scissors for cutting the fabric.
  • Hoop or Frame: Keeps the fabric taut for even stitching​.

Cutwork Techniques and Stitches

Key cutwork techniques include:

  • Buttonhole Stitch: Secures the edges of the cut areas and prevents fraying.
  • Satin Stitch: Fills in areas and adds decorative elements.
  • Bridges or Bars: Connects different parts of the design, adding stability and detail.
  • Eyelets: Small, round openings reinforced with stitches​.

How to Create Cutwork Embroidery

To start cutwork embroidery, follow these steps:

Transfer the Design: Draw or transfer the pattern onto the fabric.
Set Up Your Hoop: Place the fabric in the hoop and tighten it.
Outline with Stitches: Use a buttonhole or satin stitch to outline the areas to be cut.
Cut the Fabric: Carefully cut away the fabric within the outlined areas.
Finish with Detailing: Add any additional decorative stitches or elements​.

Examples of Cutwork Designs

Cutwork can be used to create various designs, such as:

  • Table Linens: Elegant tablecloths, placemats, and napkins with intricate cutwork edges.
  • Garments: Dresses, blouses, and collars featuring delicate cutwork patterns.
  • Home Decor: Curtains, pillow covers, and lampshades adorned with cutwork designs.
  • Accessories: Handkerchiefs, scarves, and tote bags embellished with cutwork​​.

Huck Embroidery

Huck embroidery, also known as Swedish weaving or huck weaving, is a type of surface embroidery done on huckaback fabric. This technique involves weaving threads through the fabric’s surface to create geometric patterns. Huck embroidery is simple and quick to learn, making it a popular choice for beginners​​.

Required Materials for Huck Embroidery

To start huck embroidery, you need:

  • Fabric: Huckaback fabric, characterized by its raised threads that facilitate weaving.
  • Thread: Cotton floss or pearl cotton, chosen for its smooth texture and variety of colors.
  • Needles: Tapestry needles with a blunt tip to prevent fabric damage.
  • Hoop or Frame: Optional, but can help keep the fabric taut for even stitching​​.

Common Stitches in Huck Embroidery

Huck embroidery primarily uses the darning stitch, which involves weaving the thread under and over the fabric’s raised threads to create patterns. This stitch is repeated in various directions to form geometric designs​​.

How to Start Huck Embroidery

To begin huck embroidery, follow these steps:

  • Prepare Your Fabric: Cut the fabric to the desired size, ensuring it’s free of wrinkles.
  • Select Your Threads: Choose colors that complement your design.
  • Thread Your Needle: Cut a length of thread and thread it through the needle.
  • Start Weaving: Weave the thread under and over the fabric’s raised threads to create the pattern.
  • Secure the Thread: At the end of each row, secure the thread at the back of the fabric with a small knot to prevent unraveling.
  • Repeat the Pattern: Continue weaving according to your pattern, maintaining even tension to ensure uniformity.
  • Finish and Secure: Once your design is complete, secure the final threads and trim any excess​.

Creative Huck Embroidery Projects

Examples of creative huck embroidery projects include:

  • Kitchen Towels: Decorate with geometric patterns for a traditional look.
  • Table Runners: Add elegance to your dining table with intricate designs.
  • Cushion Covers: Create unique and personalized home decor.
  • Gift Items: Make personalized gifts such as bookmarks or small pouches.

By understanding the history, materials, stitches, and steps involved in these types of embroidery techniques, You can select and start on your most suitable embroidery technique. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced stitcher, this art offers endless creative possibilities.

Comparing Different Embroidery Techniques

Different embroidery techniques vary in complexity and the skill level, require specific materials, and offer unique visual effects.

Here’s a comparison of different embroidery techniques in table format:

Category Beginner Intermediate Advanced
Complexity and Skill Level Cross stitch, huck embroidery Sashiko, blackwork Crewel work, stumpwork, Hardanger embroidery
Required Materials Cotton floss, Aida cloth Wool thread, linen Silk threads, metallic threads, specialized needles
Visual Effects Simple and Geometric (Sashiko, huck embroidery) Textured and Dimensional (Crewel work, stumpwork) Delicate and Lacy (Hardanger embroidery, pulled thread work)
Suitable Projects Home Decor (Cross stitch, needlepoint) Fashion Accessories (Sashiko, cutwork) Artistic Displays (Stumpwork, blackwork)

Practical Tips for Embroidery Enthusiasts

Choosing the Right Materials and Tools

Selecting the right materials is crucial for achieving the best results in embroidery. Different projects require specific fabrics, threads, and tools to ensure quality and durability.

Fabrics Suitable for Embroidery

Choosing the appropriate fabric is the first step in any embroidery project. The type of fabric affects the ease of stitching and the final appearance of the embroidery.

  • Aida Cloth: Ideal for cross stitch due to its grid pattern, making it easy to count stitches.
  • Evenweave Fabric: Offers a consistent weave, perfect for counted thread techniques like Hardanger and blackwork.
  • Linen: Offers a fine, smooth texture suitable for detailed work like blackwork, cutwork and crewel embroidery.
  • Cotton: A versatile and good all-purpose fabric for various types of surface embroidery​ and provide a durable base.

Types of Threads and Their Uses

Threads come in different types and materials, each suited for specific embroidery techniques.

  • Cotton Floss: A six-strand cotton thread, available in a wide range of colors is commonly used for cross stitch and general embroidery. It can be separated into finer strands for delicate work.
  • Wool Thread: Adds texture and dimension to designs, ideal for crewel work and tapestry.
  • Silk Thread: Known for its sheen and smooth texture, silk thread is perfect for creating luxurious, high-quality embroidery.
  • Metallic Thread: Adds a glittering effect, commonly used for highlighting and decorative stitches​.

Needles and Hoops

The right needles and hoops ensure precision and ease of stitching:

  • Needles: Choose based on thread type and fabric. Tapestry needles have blunt tips for counted thread work, while crewel needles have larger eyes for wool threads.
  • Hoops: Wooden or plastic hoops hold the fabric taut, making it easier to maintain even tension. Frames can also be used for larger projects to keep the fabric flat and secure​

Additional Tools and Accessories

For more advanced projects, additional tools can enhance the embroidery experience and quality.

  • Thimbles: Protect your fingers during extensive hand stitching sessions and help push the needle through the fabric.
  • Embroidery Scissors: Sharp, small scissors for precise cutting of threads and fabric.
  • Transfer Pens and Papers: For tracing patterns onto fabric.
  • Thread Organizers: Keep your threads sorted and tangle-free​
  • Lighting and Magnifiers: Provide better visibility for intricate work.
  • Needle Threaders: Assist in threading needles, especially helpful with finer threads.

Material Selection Tips

Selecting the right materials involves considering the type of embroidery, the desired outcome, and the project’s complexity.

  • Match Fabric to Technique: Use Aida cloth for cross stitch, linen for blackwork, and wool fabric for crewel work.
  • Consider Thread Quality: Higher quality threads yield better results and are less likely to fray or break.
  • Use the Right Tools: Ensure you have the essential tools, and invest in optional tools as your skills advance.

Where to Buy Quality Supplies

Acquiring quality materials ensures the durability and beauty of your embroidery projects.

  • Local Craft Stores: Offer a wide selection of fabrics, threads, and tools, with the advantage of seeing the materials in person.
  • Online Retailers: Provide convenience and often a larger variety. Websites like DMC, Joann, and Amazon are reliable sources for quality supplies.
  • Specialty Shops: Focus on embroidery supplies and may offer higher-end materials and unique tools.

By choosing the right materials, you can enhance your embroidery projects’ quality, making the process more enjoyable and the results more impressive.

Key Embroidery Stitches

Running Stitch

The running stitch is a basic, versatile stitch used for outlining and simple patterns. It involves passing the needle in and out of the fabric at regular intervals​.

Chain Stitch

The chain stitch creates a series of looped stitches that form a chain-like pattern. It is commonly used for outlining and adding decorative details​​.


Backstitch is used for outlining and adding fine details. It creates a continuous line by bringing the needle up ahead of the previous stitch and going back down at the end of the previous stitch.

Satin Stitch

Satin stitch fills areas with solid blocks of color. It involves closely spaced stitches that create a smooth, satin-like finish​.

Colonial Knot

The colonial knot is used to add small, raised dots to a design. It involves wrapping the thread around the needle in a figure-eight pattern before pulling it through the fabric​.

Tent Stitch

Tent stitch is a small, diagonal stitch used in needlepoint to cover the canvas completely. It is the most basic and commonly used stitch in needlepoint​​.


Embroidery is a versatile and rewarding craft with many techniques to explore. From the simple elegance of cross stitch to the intricate beauty of stumpwork, there is a style for every skill level and interest. By understanding the various types of embroidery, their historical backgrounds, required materials, and unique visual effects, you can select the techniques that best suit your creative goals.

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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.