My 7 favorite hand embroidery tools

I’ve been working on a cute little hand embroidery project to keep me busy as I watch the winter Olympics.  So today, I’m sharing my seven favorite hand embroidery tools with you.  I wouldn’t say I’m an expert at embroidery, but I have found some really helpful hand embroidery tools that can make life a little easier.

7 Favorite Hand Embroidery Tools by Julie Cefalu @ The Crafty Quilter.  These make my crafting so much easier!  You'll definitely want to add them to your tool kit.


Note:  This post contains affiliate links.  That means I will receive a small compensation for any purchases made using these links with no added cost to you.  I am not recommending any products for any other reason than I love working with them and as a convenience for you.  Please feel free to check with your local quilt shop for availability!

It’s so important to see what you’re doing, so I LOVE my Beam n Read LED 6m Hands-Free Craft Light.  I’ve had mine for well over 5 years and it’s still going strong.  It easily fits around my neck and I can adjust the tilt of the light so it shines right where I want it.  This light is also perfect for reading, hand quilting, binding, knitting, etc.  It’s perfect for any craft!

Beam n Read LED 6m Hands Free Craft Light


I just discovered Quilter’s Select Print & Piece Fuse Lite, and it’s perfect for stabilizing your embroidery (both hand and machine).  I find that my stitching is more accurate and I “hit my mark” more easily when I use this product.  It also helps to hide any lose threads on the back.  It temporarily fuses to the back of your work, and it will eventually soften to a light layer so there’s no need to remove it when you’re done.  Finally, I don’t use a hoop when I hand embroider, and it helps keep my fabric more stable.

Quilter’s Select Print & Piece Fuse Lite is also perfect for many applique techniques as well.  It’s definitely worth having in your tool kit!

Quilter's Select Print & Piece Fuse Lite by Alex Anderson



Using quality floss is important, and I’ve found that Cosmo Embroidery Floss is wonderful to work with.  It has a smooth feel and a lovely sheen.  It comes in a huge variety of colors so you’ll always find the perfect shade for your project.  Right now, this Bonnie & Camille Handmade Collection is on sale at Fat Quarter Shop!  I love this combination of colors.

Bonnie & Camille Handmade Embroidery Floss Collection



I am so happy to have found Sewline Tulip Embroidery Needles!  They are perfect for the job and they feel so good in your hand.  They pass through the fabric smoothly, yet they are strong so they won’t bend or break.  I’m using a size 8 with three strands of embroidery floss and it works great.

If you want the full lowdown on embroidery needles, you should definitely read Hand Embroidery Needles: how to choose them and use them by Mary Corbet at Needle ‘n Thread.

Sewline Tulip Embroidery Needles


I would be lost without my Clover Needle Threader For Embroidery Needles.  This little gadget makes it so easy to thread any thick thread or floss through an embroidery needle.  I really can’t live with out it.  And that apple green color!  Love it.

Clover Needle Threader for Embroidery


When I need to clip threads close to the fabric, I rely on Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Curved Scissors.  I use these not just for hand embroidery, but applique and machine quilting, too.  The blades are micro-serrated, really sharp, and that curved design allows you to get close to the fabric without any accidents.  Plus they’re so cute!

Karen Kay Buckley Perfect Curved Scissors

I keep this handy Embroidery Pocket Guide close by, especially when I travel.  It has all of the most popular embroidery stitches with clear diagrams in a laminated, concise encyclopedia.  It lays flat and it’s super helpful for beginners to more experienced crafters.

Embroidery Pocket Guide by Leisure Arts


Those are my favorite hand embroidery tools.  I have been putting them to good use on this cute little project pictured below.  It’s a pattern designed by Jenny of Elefantz Designs.  She has the sweetest designs and a lovely blog, too.

We All Need a Home, designed by Jenny of Elefantz Designs.  Made by Julie Cefalu
We All Need a Home, designed by Jenny of Elefantz Designs. Made by Julie Cefalu


Everyone has their favorite methods and tools when it comes to crafting.  I’m finding that working without an embroidery hoop is much easier for me.  Using the Quilter’s Select Print & Piece Fuse Lite on the back of my work makes this technique even better.  Here’s what it looks like on the backside:


You can barely see the stabilizer along the edges.  It was also perfect for the applique that I did first.  I think I’ll be using this for machine applique from now on, too.

Do you have any favorite hand embroidery tools that you’d like to share?  Many of you are more proficient at this than I am.  I’d love to hear what works for you!

7 Favorite Hand Embroidery Tools by Julie Cefalu @ The Crafty Quilter.  These make my crafting so much easier!  You'll definitely want to add them to your tool kit.


Thanks for reading and happy embroidering!

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  1. Really like your hints. I use all of these for embroidery except print&fuse lite and Karen Kay Buckley scissors. I have arthritis in my thumb and use scissors to compensate for this, but I would like to try these two things. I love my clover needle threader also. I made sure I have two of those just in case.

  2. I like the Havel’s Snip-eze curved snips; I think it’s faster if you don’t have to fit your fingers into holes before cutting. Please let us know how it went when you’ve tried the Quilter’s Select for applique.

  3. Thank you Julie for so many tips. When I embroider I have always used John James needles and just the everyday DMC floss. I have heard so many great comments about the Cosmos floss, I will have to try it. Also, I have found that Mary Corbet’s blog is so helpful. She is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to hand embroidery. She does beautiful work. I also love Karen Kay Buckley’s scissors, they are nice and sharp. The embroidery project you are working on is so cute. I remember Jenny was one of the designers for the Splendid Sampler project. I really need to try your recommendation for the fusible. I haven’t found one that I really love. Thanks again for all the tips.

  4. As always, good information and supplies. I had floss given to me a few years back-IDK if it is the good kind or bad kind but have used for a few small projects. what few projects i’ve done has been on road trips with the natural light it is so much easier to see (and my hand binding on quilts looks better too!) I used to cross stitch before i got married and still cherish the few things that i’ve made. Times have changed..and SUPPLIES sure have too.

  5. Thanks for a very informative article. I love to embroider and started using fusible web a few years back and it really makes a big difference. I use regular lightweight sewing web but will definitely try out the one you suggested. I am always looking for good needles so have added your recommendation to my wish list!

  6. I have been using an iron on transfer pencil to transfer drawings and names to embroider for many years. I just use the pencil at the window on the back of the drawings. I love to applique and embroider my kids’ drawings.
    Thanks for sending lots of ideas our way, Julie.

  7. With your ’24 hour energy’ being divested in so many skills and activities … I would like to eat what you are eating please

  8. Just wondering about the Print part of the stabilizer you are talking about. Have seen a photo with a printer supposedly used to print, but haven’t found anyone talking about that aspect of this product. Any comments?

    1. Hi Lynne,
      The printable function of this product is used mostly for needle turn applique. You can print the applique shapes onto the stabilizer and then cut the shapes out. Press the shapes onto the wrong side of the fabric and cut the fabric with a 1/4″ margin around the shape. Then you glue and press the seam allowance around the shape. It’s similar to the freezer paper and starch method of applique. I haven’t tried it yet with this paper, but I will at my next opportunity.

  9. Never heard of that fusible but I DO love using a stabilizer to help hide the embroidery threads from showing through. Hmmm, never heard of Cosmos either. Heck, I haven’t even seen the Aurafil floss- no local shops, just Joanns. I do have a comment about the ” headlight”. I was at a guild meeting and a woman had one on. She kept looking around the room, either unaware or not caring that she blinded a lot of us. Just something to remember if you use it somewhere other than your own home.

  10. Thanks for your list! I should shop for the fusible, I’m not proficient at all, maybe a stabilizer would help. That is a cute project you are stitching on!

  11. Hi, Julie. I’m happy to learn about Quilter’s Select Print and Fuse Lite. I’ve been looking for a good backing product other than simply using a 2nd layer of fabric. Thank you for your recommendation. Here are 2 additional products I like: (1) I often use No. 8 perle (or pearl–I’ve seen it spelled both ways) cotton instead of embroidery floss. It’s about as thick as 3 strands of floss although I’ve used it in patterns that call for 2 strands. It also comes thicker (size 5) and thinner (size 12).
    (2) I don’t enjoy tracing, so if the pattern is not too detailed, I use 8.5″ x 11″ Sulky Stick ‘n’ Stitch. I print from my computer or copy from a paper copy on it, remove the wax-paperish backing, stick it to my fabric, and begin stitching. It dissolves in water. Great time saver!!! I do a lot more hand embroidery since learning about this product.
    I always enjoy your posts. Thank you, Lori 🙂

  12. Thank you Julie! I know next to nothing about embroudery, but have been thinking more and more about how to get started! This has been very helpful. -Jean

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