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We’re excited to launch a new Crossroads Embroidery Series with Amy Barickman from Indygo Junction! Every month Amy will bring you a new stitching video, plus giveaways, tips for embroidery success and more. First up in the series are two videos to get you started, including this initial how-to for selecting the right thread and needles for your next project. Amy also has a generous giveaway you can enter below. Be sure to comment for a chance to WIN!

Embroidery projects are the perfect on-the-go sewing opportunity for busy spring and summer days. Here are some of our free embroidery projects, plus a handy needle comparison. We also have several projects from Amy here at Sew Mama Sew: Tea Towel Embroidery Project, The Adelaide Tank and the Summer Purse Pattern.


My name is Amy and I am the founder of the pattern company Indygo Junction. Over the last 25 years I have published patterns for home decor, accessories, quilting and garments. I have also published many patterns and books for needlework projects, including my most recent embroidery book, Stitched Style.

I am so excited to launch this Crossroads Embroidery Series with Sew Mama Sew. In the series I will share my love for hand embroidery and teach you how to get started stitching. The first two videos of the series will start with the basics: choosing your thread, foundation fabrics, and different trace and transfer methods. After we’ve covered the basics we will move on to embroidery stitches. I will demonstrate six stitches that are the basis of any stitch library: back stitch, stem stitch, cross stitch, chain stitch, the French knot and the lazy daisy. Today’s video is all about getting started with the right thread and needles– both important tools for hand embroidery.

Recently I have partnered with Sulky Threads to create a line of 12 weight Crossroads Threads, which coordinate with my Crossroads Denim fabric line. This series is a great way for me to share the unique features of the thread and also teach tips and valuable techniques for embroidery to help you achieve success in your stitching!

I was inspired to create Stitched Style after stitching on my Crossroads Denim fabric. I found that my denim– which I love to use for garments and purses– is also a great foundation fabric for embroidery. We created 65 embroidery designs for the book which are perfect for garments, but also great for other projects like purses and pincushions. Below, you can see a great example of the Crossroads Thread stitched on Crossroads Denim.

Indygo Junction’s Petite Stitched Purse

Before we get started stitching, we need to gather our materials. First and foremost we need thread. The most popular threads for hand embroidery are embroidery floss or Perle cotton. Embroidery floss is made of six strands of slightly glossy thread. Perle cotton has a 2-ply strand that comes in several weights. You don’t separate Perle cotton as you do embroidery floss; you choose the strand thickness when you choose the weight.

Both embroidery floss and Perle cotton come in hanks of thread, however my Crossroads thread comes on a spool. You may be surprised that you can embroider with thread on a spool (that can also be used on a sewing machine) but I find that I like working with spooled thread better than your typical embroidery floss. I think you will too!

When you work with spooled thread, you don’t get all those messy tangles that inevitably come with embroidery floss. You can easily pull your thread off the spool to the length you desire. One strand of 12-weight thread is as thick as two strands of embroidery floss. You can add or subtract strands to get your optimal stitching line thickness.

Crossroads thread is also extremely durable, which is great for my projects that get a lot of wear like purses, garments and dishtowels. However, you can also use it for machine work such as topstitching, machine embroidery and quilting.

After you have chosen your thread, it is time to get the right needles. You will want to look for embroidery needles which have sharp points, come in a variety of sizes and have large, easily threaded eyes. When choosing your needle size, keep in mind that you want the thread to pass through the fabric with minimal abrasion. However, keep an eye out; you don’t want the needle to leave a noticeable hole in the fabric after stitching.

Join me next month for tips on getting ready to stitch, including learning about foundation fabrics, trace and transfer methods and embroidery tools. In the meantime, ENTER TO WIN some Crossroad thread and fabric. Leave a comment below telling us your favorite stitch– or which stitch you are most excited to learn. See you soon!


Vintage Notions Bonus:

My vast library of vintage textiles and needle arts publications are a constant inspiration for my work and my collecting has become an addiction (there are many worse addictions, right?). I found this 1913 article in the McCall Embroidery Book. Check out this fun coupon that was still glued to a page in the front of the catalog. I find it fun and incredibly interesting to see what our sewing sisters from generations past were reading and want to share the history with you!

Click here to download the full excerpt from the book.

If you share a passion for learning more about our sewing sisterhood from past generations, check out my Vintage Notions Monthly magazine and subscribe today! (Shameless self-promotion is needed to fund my vintage addiction!)