Exploring the Art of Chinese Embroidery

Hey, embroidery enthusiasts and art adventurers! Ready to embark on an unprecedented journey into the world of Chinese Embroidery? In this blog, we'll travel through time to explore the essence of this ancient art. From the origin and history of embroidery to the emergence of various innovative patterns, we'll present you with a fascinating and colorful world of embroidery.

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Hey, embroidery enthusiasts and art adventurers! Ready to embark on an unprecedented journey into the world of Chinese Embroidery? In this blog, we’ll travel through time to explore the essence of this ancient art. From the origin and history of embroidery to the emergence of various innovative patterns, we’ll present you with a fascinating and colorful world of embroidery.

What is the traditional embroidery of China?

There is a completed embroidery piece of a pink flower on the table

Chinese Embroidery, known as needle embroidery in ancient times, is a handicraft that uses a needle with colored thread to embroider designed patterns on fabric. This craft was primarily done by women in ancient times, categorizing it as part of “women’s work.”

Embroidery is one of China’s ancient handicrafts with a history of over 2000 years. As early as more than 4000 years ago, “The Book of History”( 尚书 ) specified that clothing should have embroidery.

During the Warring States and Han dynasties, unearthed embroidered items from Hubei and Hunan showcased exceptional craftsmanship.

In the Tang and Song dynasties, embroidery techniques became exquisite, colors rich, and it was widely used in the creation of paintings, calligraphy, and decorative items.

In the Ming and Qing dynasties, both palace and folk embroidery experienced significant development, giving rise to the “Five Great Embroideries”: Su embroidery, Yue embroidery, Long embroidery, Xiang embroidery, and Shu embroidery.

There are various stitching techniques in embroidery, including flat stitches, loop stitches, satin stitches, short and long stitches, seed stitches, couching, and stabbing, each with its unique characteristics.

Embroidery materials include silk, feather, and hair embroidery. Embroidered items find wide applications in daily clothing, costumes for performances or traditional dramas, as well as household items like tablecloths, pillowcases, cushions, and decorative pieces such as screens and wall hangings.

Chinese Embroidery History

Embroidered small golden ornaments on very thin gauze

In ancient China, people started playing with embroidery threads, and traditional embroidery art evolved over time. From simple creations during the Warring States period to the prosperity of the Han Dynasty, and the religious partnerships of the Tang and Song periods, embroidery has been in constant development. During the Ming and Qing periods, various regional embroidery styles emerged, forming unique patterns. Today, embroidery is not just a traditional craft but a culmination of modern aesthetics and technology. Embroidery spanning millennia records the splendid journey of Chinese culture and art. Don’t believe it? Come, explore the rich stories spun by these embroidered threads!

1. Warring States Period (476 BCE to 221 BCE)

  • Early Development: Embroidery originated during the Warring States period, influenced by the legacy of “Emperor Shun ordered Yu to embroider in five colors.” Early embroidery was relatively simple and rough, gradually becoming more refined during the Warring States period.
  • Technique Highlights: Embroidery techniques primarily used braid stitching, also known as lock stitching. Embroidered items unearthed from the No.1 Chu tomb in Mashan, Jiangling, Hubei during the Warring States period, such as phoenix and dragon motifs, showcase the craftsmanship of braid stitching, signifying the maturity of embroidery techniques.

2. Han Dynasty (202 BCE to 220 CE)

  • Economic Prosperity: Embroidery flourished during the Han Dynasty, benefiting from the economic prosperity and the development of the silk industry. The production of silk textiles made embroidery a widely used decorative technique.
  • Skill Advancement: Embroidery fragments unearthed from the Han tomb in Mawangdui, Changsha, Hunan, represent Han Dynasty embroidery, displaying the intricacy of craftsmanship and diversity of patterns, laying the foundation for high-level Han Dynasty embroidery.

3. Tang Dynasty (618 CE to 907 CE)

  • Extensive Application: In the Tang Dynasty, embroidery was not only a technique for decorating clothing but also an art widely applied in daily life. Poems, such as Li Bai’s “Jade and gold threads interlace like a brocade,” expressed admiration for embroidery.
  • New Stitching Techniques: The Tang Dynasty introduced new stitching techniques like flat stitching and dot embroidery, making embroidery more delicate with increased variations and expressive techniques.

4. Song Dynasty (960 CE to 1279 CE)

  • Diverse Stitching Techniques: The Song Dynasty marked the peak of China’s handmade embroidery development, with the formation of dozens of stitching techniques. Regional embroideries gradually developed distinct styles and characteristics.
  • Pure Aesthetics: Embroidery expanded beyond clothing, evolving into a pure art form, including embroidered paintings, Buddhist scriptures, and statues, becoming pure artworks. Imperial encouragement and rewards further elevated embroidery craftsmanship, combining with the art of painting to create unique and ornamental embroidered works.

5. Yuan Dynasty (1271 CE to 1368 CE)

  • Aesthetic Production: Although Yuan Dynasty embroidery didn’t match the artistic level of the Song Dynasty, it inherited the realistic stitching style. Embroidery bureaus were established nationwide, making embroidery increasingly artistic.
  • Rise of Buddhist Themes: Buddhist-themed embroidery emerged in the Sui and Tang dynasties but became more prominent in the Yuan Dynasty, with the primary motif being the treasure flower. The Yuan Emperor Kublai Khan’s admiration for Tibetan Buddhism contributed to the revival of Buddhism in the Central Plains, reflected in embroidery.

6. Ming Dynasty (1368 CE to 1644 CE)

  • Highly Developed Handicrafts: The Ming Dynasty was a period of extreme development in Chinese handicrafts, with embroidery building on the foundation laid during the Song Dynasty. Embroidery had widespread applications, becoming a popular decoration across all social classes, achieving remarkable advancements in both practical and artistic aspects.
  • Emergence of Embroidery Families: The Ming Dynasty saw the emergence of prominent embroidery families and individuals specializing in embroidery, such as the “Lu Xiangyuan” embroidery founded by the Gu family in Shanghai. The integration of painting and embroidery, known as “embroidery paintings,” became fashionable, marking a period of rising embroidery artisans in the late Ming and early Qing.

7. Qing Dynasty (1616 CE to 1912 CE)

  • Combination of Aesthetics and Utility: In the early and middle Qing Dynasty, embroidery further developed against the backdrop of national prosperity and stable life. Embroidered items displayed significant changes, featuring high realism and decorative effects. The harmonious use of colors and techniques like gold needle and padded embroidery showcased the unique style of Qing Dynasty embroidery.
  • Rise of Regional Embroidery Styles: Regional embroidery styles like Su embroidery, Yue embroidery, Shu embroidery, and Xiang embroidery flourished during the Qing Dynasty, each with its distinct characteristics, creating a competitive and vibrant scene. Additionally, late Qing absorbed Japanese painting strengths and even incorporated Western painting perspectives into embroidery, propelling its development.

8. Republic of China (1912 to 1949)

  • Challenging Period: Embroidery from the Republic of China is scarce due to the challenging living conditions and political instability of the time. With people facing hardships, artisans were occupied with survival issues, causing a near-halt in the development of embroidery. Exceptional embroidered artworks from this era are particularly rare.

9. People’s Republic of China (1949 to Present)

  • Artistic Innovation: Modern embroidery underwent artistic innovation on the foundation of tradition, incorporating contemporary aesthetics and creativity, resulting in diverse styles and forms.
  • Widespread Application: As a traditional handicraft, embroidery continues to find extensive applications in modern times, including clothing, home decor, and artworks, injecting artistic elements into daily life.
  • Technological Advancements: Modern technological developments have opened new possibilities for embroidery techniques. The application of digital design and mechanized production has made embroidery more efficient and precise.

4 Main Schools of Chinese Embroidery

Now, let’s delve into the realm of China’s four renowned embroidery styles: Su Embroidery, Xiang Embroidery, Yue Embroidery, and Shu Embroidery. Each embroidery technique carries a unique historical background and artistic flair, enriching the tapestry of Chinese embroidery. Join us as we unveil the mysteries behind these exquisite embroideries, appreciating the masterful craftsmanship and cultural significance woven into each distinguished style.

Su Embroidery (苏绣)

This is a Suzhou embroidery piece, featuring a golden flower embroidered on the fabric

Su Embroidery, or Suzhou Embroidery, a treasure in the realm of Chinese embroidery art, traces its roots back to the Song Dynasty, boasting a history of over 2600 years. Characterized by its unique double-sided embroidery, exquisite craftsmanship, and elegant color palette, Su Embroidery is primarily categorized into Suzhou local embroidery, Northern Suzhou embroidery, and Baoying embroidery. Here is an overview of Su Embroidery:

1. Rich History:

Su Embroidery has a profound history dating back to the Song Dynasty, with roots extending over 2600 years. During the Northern Song period, Su Embroidery had already established a significant presence in the Suzhou region, as documented in historical records mentioning embroidery workshops and production centers.

2. Development Phases:

In the Ming Dynasty, Su Embroidery gradually developed its distinctive style, gaining influence. By the Qing Dynasty, Su Embroidery reached its pinnacle, becoming a primary source for royal embroidered items and flourishing with diverse expressions in folk embroidery. In the late Qing period, Shen Shou’s creation of “realistic embroidery” added new artistic elements to the development of Su Embroidery.

3. Artistic Characteristics:

Su Embroidery is renowned for its unique artistic style, featuring:

  • Graceful Patterns: Su Embroidery exhibits cleverly designed patterns infused with artistic flair.
  • Intricate Craftsmanship: The craftsmanship is incredibly detailed, with each stitch meticulously crafted.
  • Lively Stitching Techniques: The needlework is flexible and varied, showcasing vibrant artistic effects.
  • Elegant Color Palette: Su Embroidery pieces feature a refined color palette, providing a profound artistic experience.
  • Distinct Regional Charm: Reflecting the unique charm of Suzhou’s cultural heritage.

4. Needlework Characteristics:

Su Embroidery’s needlework is characterized by “flat, even, delicate, dense, harmonious, bright, smooth, and uniform,” demonstrating its exceptional manual craftsmanship.

5. Main Artwork Categories:

Su Embroidery works are primarily classified into three categories: “Lingjian”, “Xiyi”, and “Guaping”. These categories blend decorative and practical elements.

6. Double-Sided Embroidery:

Su Embroidery is particularly renowned for its double-sided embroidery, including regular, different colors, and three-different-color embroideries. This technique involves embroidering images on both sides of the same fabric, showcasing the exceptional skill of Su Embroidery.

7. Regional Classifications:

  • Suzhou Local Embroidery: Produced in Suzhou, known for its delicate luster and moderate pricing.
  • Northern Suzhou Embroidery: Originating from the Yancheng and Huai’an areas, it is more affordable but may feature slightly thicker threads.
  • Baoying Embroidery: Produced in Baoying, Yangzhou, known for its rich colors, albeit with slightly coarser threads.

Su Embroidery holds significant historical value, providing insights into the customs, societal trends, and aesthetic styles of different eras through the artistry of Su Embroidery works.

Xiang Embroidery (湘绣)

This is a Xiang embroidery piece, with a bird perched on a tree branch

Originating from Changsha, Hunan, Xiang Embroidery is a form of embroidery that developed on the basis of Hunan folk embroidery, incorporating characteristics from Su Embroidery and Yue Embroidery. During the Jiaqing reign of the Qing Dynasty, Xiang Embroidery gained prominence, distinguishing itself by using velvet threads for embroidery, creating detailed and vivid images. Here are the key features of Xiang Embroidery:

1. Artistic Characteristics:

  • Images are vivid and realistic, emphasizing realistic representation.
  • Drawing inspiration from sketches, utilizing the techniques of “needle as a brush” and “thread shading colors.”
  • Versatile needlework, with over 70 needle techniques, primarily focusing on blending stitches.
  • Exquisite use of embroidery threads, employing more than 70 needle techniques, primarily blending stitches, resulting in a myriad of thread colors.

2. Thread and Fabric Utilization:

  • Embroidery is done using velvet threads, providing meticulous detailing and adding a sense of realism.
  • Skillful use of blending stitches creates a variety of thread colors, employing shades of gray, black, and white to emphasize light and shadow contrasts.
  • Unique thread-splitting techniques, achieved by splitting threads with fingers, can produce effects like 2, 4, 8, and 16 splits, achieving delicate detailing.

3. Main Subject Themes:

  • Includes flowers, birds, landscapes, figures, portraits, and animals.
  • Utilizes a rich color palette, particularly excelling in embroidering powerful and majestic animals like lions and tigers.

4. Craftsmanship Features:

  • Key to the drafting process is transforming the designer’s concept into a complete layout through sketching.
  • After drafting, symmetrical small holes are pierced to prepare for subsequent production.
  • Material selection considers the type and craft requirements, choosing the optimal base fabric.
  • Utilizes a variety of colors, with nearly two thousand hues, relying on the eyes and skills of color-matching artisans.
  • Utilizes ink printing to transfer the completed handmade template onto the base fabric.

Xiang Embroidery holds a significant position in Chinese embroidery, showcasing its unique artistic style and craftsmanship, thus forming its distinctive embroidery tradition.

Yue Embroidery (粤绣)

This is a Cantonese embroidery piece, with two small birds standing on top of kapok flowers

Yue Embroidery, refers to the traditional embroidery craft in the Guangdong province, encompassing two major schools: Chao Embroidery and Guang Embroidery. With a history of over a thousand years, Yue Embroidery has records of its exquisite craftsmanship dating back to the Tang Dynasty. Renowned for its meticulous embroidery techniques, distinctive needlework, and rich artistic expression, Yue Embroidery is characterized by the following:

1. Craftsmanship Features:

  • Yue Embroidery includes Chao Embroidery and Guang Embroidery, each differing in needlework and style.
  • The embroidery techniques in Yue Embroidery are incredibly diverse, covering various stitches such as straight-twist, bundle-bite, continuation, auxiliary, braiding, circumventing, and variant embroidery, creating distinct embroidery methods.
  • Creative designs focus on auspicious and positive meanings, incorporating various artistic forms, including painting and folk paper-cutting.

2. Wide Range of Themes:

  • Yue Embroidery features a broad range of themes, including dragons, phoenixes, peonies, hundred birds facing the phoenix, Southern fruits (such as lychees), peacocks, parrots, and antique motifs.
  • Chao Embroidery, known for its elaborate layouts, intricate patterns, and rich colors, primarily focuses on theatrical costumes.

3. Thread and Fabric Utilization:

  • Yue Embroidery employs a variety of threads, including silk, velvet, gold and silver threads, and peacock feathers, cleverly matched according to design requirements.
  • Traditional techniques like gold-thread embroidery and mixed embroidery involve using gold and silver threads to create a raised, relief-like artistic effect.

4. Artistic Characteristics:

  • Full-bodied compositions, rich but not chaotic, emphasizing fullness and splendid effects.
  • Diverse needlework variations create flat, raised, protruding, and lively artistic effects.
  • Artists skillfully infuse wishes and meanings into embroidery works, emphasizing the uniqueness of the design.

5. School Division:

Yue Embroidery comprises two major schools, “Chao Embroidery” and “Guang Embroidery,” centered around Chaozhou and Guangzhou, respectively. Chao Embroidery is known for its rich gold-thread and velvet embroidery, while Guang Embroidery excels in diverse needlework and a wide range of themes.

6. International Influence:

In the 18th century, Yue Embroidery gained popularity in the British royal and upper-class societies, considered a precious gift from China to the Western world. Museums in countries like Britain, France, Germany, and the United States treasure Yue Embroidery works.

Crafting Process:

  1. Design Embroidery Draft: Create a design pattern for the embroidery.
  2. Transfer Design: Print the designed pattern onto the fabric.
  3. Mount on Embroidery Frame: Stretch the fabric tightly onto an embroidery frame to prepare for embroidery.
  4. Embroidery: Use various meticulous stitching techniques to create exquisite embroidery based on the pattern.
  5. Remove from Frame: After completing the embroidery, take the piece off the frame.
  6. Finishing and Framing: Iron the embroidery, stretch it, frame it, and ultimately finish a beautiful embroidered artwork.

Yue Embroidery, with its unique craftsmanship and artistic style, diverse themes, and superb skills, stands as a treasure in Chinese embroidery, enhancing the splendor of traditional Chinese culture.

Shu Embroidery (蜀绣)

This is a Shu embroidery piece, with two pandas playing by the bamboo

Shu Embroidery, also known as “Chuan Embroidery,” is a collective term for embroidered products centered around Chengdu, Sichuan. With a long history and distinctive local characteristics, it is one of China’s four famous embroideries. Dating back to the Jin Dynasty, Shu Embroidery gained fame for its delicacy and was esteemed alongside Shu Brocade as treasures of the region. Using soft satin and colored silk as primary materials, Shu Embroidery covers a wide range of themes, including landscapes, figures, flora and fauna, and insects. With over 100 rich needlework techniques, such as set stitching, shading, oblique rolling, and swirling, Shu Embroidery exhibits specific craft features and quality characteristics:

1. Quality Characteristics:

  • Originating from the western Sichuan folk, it is known for its meticulousness, smooth and bright surfaces, clear compositions, solid and rounded forms, and vibrant colors.
  • Vivid imagery, bright colors, and a sense of three-dimensionality characterize Shu Embroidery.
  • Short, fine needles, neat stitches, shiny threads, diverse variations, and a strong local flavor.

2. Craft Features:

  • Leading the four famous embroideries in the variety of needlework, with 12 major categories and over 130 types, making it the most diverse among them.
  • Commonly used stitches include shading, padding, rolling, trimming, blending, sanding, and covering, emphasizing “neat stitches, shiny threads, tight and soft, perfect finish.”
  • Flexible and adaptable needle techniques, utilizing shading to express the texture of the embroidered subject, showcasing light, color, and form.

3. Themes of Works:

  • Encompasses themes like flowers and birds, quadrupeds, landscapes, insects and fish, and figures, covering ancient masterpieces and designs from contemporary artists.
  • Traditional patterns such as landscapes, flowers and birds, antiques, dragons, and phoenixes, alongside folk legends like the Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea and Magu Offering Longevity.
  • Richly local patterns like lotus fish, bamboo forest with horses and chickens, landscapes with pandas, and various flora, fauna, and figures.

4. Production Environment:

  • Centered around Chengdu, extending to the western Sichuan plain and surrounding areas.
  • Chengdu’s fertile soil, pleasant climate, and abundant silk production provide a solid material foundation for Shu Embroidery.
  • Influenced by cultural and geographical roots, Shu Embroidery has developed a unique style and craftsmanship.

5. Quality and Technical Requirements:

  1. Raw Material Quality: Silk threads must comply with relevant product standards, and base materials should meet the performance requirements for embroidery and framing.
  2. Image Requirements: Designs should embody health, beauty, avoid infringement of intellectual property rights, and cover themes like animals, plants, figures, and nature.
  3. Craftsmanship Requirements: Production should employ pure traditional handcraft techniques.
  4. Needlework Requirements: Adopt the traditional 122 needlework techniques of Shu Embroidery, including stitching for points and lines and stitches for embroidery planes.

Shu Embroidery, with its rich needlework, exquisite craftsmanship, and unique local style, stands as a treasure in the realm of Chinese embroidery art.

8 Common Chinese Embroidery Fabrics

Colorful Embroidery Fabrics

Embroidery is a versatile art that can be applied to various fabrics, each imparting different textures and effects to embroidered works. Here are some common embroidery fabrics and their characteristics:

  1. Cotton Fabric:
    • Soft and breathable, cotton is one of the most common choices for embroidery.
    • Ideal for various embroidery styles, from simple to complex, showcasing its versatility.
  2. Silk:
    • Chosen for high-end embroidery due to its luster, softness, and unique texture.
    • Different types of silk, including printed silk, offer diverse possibilities.
    • Embroidery on silk often results in magnificent and delicate effects.
  3. Linen:
    • A natural fiber with a coarse texture, linen is suitable for embroidering rugged or vintage styles.
    • Embroidery on linen often exudes a simple and natural charm.
  4. Velvet:
    • Often used for embroidering toys or decorative items.
    • The soft texture and fuzzy effect of velvet add a tactile quality to embroidered works, suitable for creating cute designs.
  5. Sheer Fabric:
    • Thin and transparent, sheer fabric is suitable for intricate patterns or lace.
    • Embroidery on sheer fabric often achieves a light and transparent visual effect.
  6. Velvet:
    • A luxurious fabric with a soft and smooth texture, velvet is an elegant choice for embroidery.
    • Embroidery on velvet often showcases rich layers and a luxurious feel.
  7. Flax:
    • A natural fiber known for its lightweight and breathable characteristics.
    • Ideal for summer embroidery, flax embroidery often embodies a fresh and natural atmosphere.
  8. Synthetic Leather:
    • For environmentally conscious embroidery projects, synthetic leather is a good choice.
    • Tough and durable, suitable for embroidering fashionable designs.

In addition to the mentioned fabrics, embroidery techniques can also be applied to other types of materials, such as wool, ribbons, denim, etc. Different fabrics give embroidered works various textures and visual effects, making embroidery a rich and colorful art form. When selecting fabrics, embroidery artists can flexibly use various materials based on the desired design effects and intended applications.

12 Popular Chinese Embroidery Stitches

Two embroidery needles are inserted into a piece of embroidery

Embroidery is an ancient and delicate handicraft with various stitching techniques, each imparting unique textures and artistic effects to embroidered works. Here are some common embroidery stitches:

  1. Running Stitch (直线针法): The most basic stitch, featuring simple straight lines suitable for various basic patterns.
  2. Satin Stitch (套针): Fills large, smooth areas with continuous parallel lines, creating a smooth surface.
  3. Cross Stitch (交叉针法): Forms patterns by crossing stitches on the fabric, commonly used for small designs or embellishments.
  4. Couching Stitch (盘针): One thread is secured on the fabric, while another thread is coiled around it, creating three-dimensional texture.
  5. Basketweave Stitch (编织针法): Intertwines threads to create a complex interwoven effect, suitable for texture and layering.
  6. Basketweave Stitch (编织针法): Embroiders continuous spiral lines, suitable for creating spiral or helical patterns.
  7. Laid Work (平针法): Uses laid gold or silver threads on the fabric, secured with short silk stitches, often used for creating a metallic texture.
  8. Variegated Stitching (散错针法): Varied stitches for a nuanced effect, achieving a realistic portrayal of forms.
  9. Back Stitch (回针针法): Connects two different-colored threads, achieving a natural color transition.
  10. Filling Stitch (填充针法): Used for filling the interior parts of patterns, adding a three-dimensional effect.
  11. Edging Stitch (花边针法) Used for creating edging effects, suitable for various lace patterns.
  12. Combination Stitch (组合针法): Combines multiple basic stitches, suitable for intricate patterns.

These stitches cover the basics and some common advanced techniques in embroidery. The specific choice depends on the design and creative purpose of the artwork. In actual embroidery, artists often create new variations and combinations based on their needs.

8 Common Types And Styles of Embroidery Patterns

The world of Chinese embroidery is rich and diverse, covering various themes and patterns, creating endless possibilities for the combination of art and craftsmanship. Here are some different categories of Chinese embroidery, each showcasing unique skills and cultural significance:

1. Floral Embroidery

Floral embroidery is a highlight of Chinese embroidery, encompassing various flowers, plants, and garden scenes. Common floral patterns such as peonies and lilies use vibrant and colorful lines to outline the beauty of nature. They are often used to decorate homes and clothing, showcasing exquisite embroidery craftsmanship.

2. Animal Embroidery

Animal embroidery is popular for its lively and interesting depictions. In addition to common animals like cats, dogs, and birds, mythological creatures such as dragons, phoenixes, and peacocks are also common embroidery themes. These patterns carry symbolic meanings, expressing aspirations for good fortune and happiness.

3. Figure Embroidery

Figure embroidery vividly portrays human figures through lines and colors. It includes not only traditional portraits but also creatively designed figures. These works showcase both the skill of embroidery and an expression of cultural history.

4. Landscape Embroidery

Landscape embroidery often features natural scenery, cityscapes, or rural scenes, presenting beautiful images. Through clever lines and colors, embroiderers express their unique insights into nature and life.

5. Ethnic-style Embroidery

Ethnic-style embroidery is influenced by different ethnic traditional cultures, such as Chinese Su embroidery and Manchu embroidery. These works not only showcase craftsmanship but also inherit and develop traditional culture.

6. Seasonal Embroidery

Centered around themes of the four seasons like spring, summer, autumn, and winter, seasonal embroidery creates corresponding patterns to showcase the beauty of each season. Patterns depicting blooming flowers or snowy landscapes reveal the unique charm of different seasons.

7. Festival Embroidery

Embroidery designed for different festivals such as Christmas, New Year, and Easter. These works use rich and colorful patterns to add joy and festivity to the holidays.

8. Cross-stitch Embroidery

Cross-stitch embroidery is a technique that uses cross-shaped stitches to create various intricate patterns, including religious motifs, landscapes, and figures. Its simple craft and diverse patterns make it one of the popular embroidery styles.

Through these diverse themes of embroidery, we can deeply appreciate the profound art of Chinese embroidery. It not only inherits tradition but also continuously incorporates innovation, presenting a colorful and vibrant artistic panorama for the world.

Introduction to 12 Embroidery Tools and Materials

There are many embroidery and sewing tools on the table

In the previous section, we delved into different embroidery stitches to make each creation more precise and unique. Now, let’s focus on the tools of embroidery, these indispensable instruments play a crucial role in the world of embroidery. Next, we will unveil the mysteries of these tools one by one, taking you deep into the intricacies of embroidery.


  1. Embroidery Hoop (绣绷): Used to hold the fabric, consisting of inner and outer rings. Adjusting the hoop’s size and length is suitable for creating different-sized embroidery pieces. Shapes include circular and square, and materials range from wood, bamboo to plastic.
  2. Embroidery Stool (绷凳): A three-legged stool used to support the scroll frame. Typically around 80cm in height, 8cm in width, and 60-70cm in length. Choose a stool that fits your needs based on the size and distance of the scroll frame.
  3. Supporting Board (搁手板): Placed on the two axes of the scroll frame to protect the embroidered piece and prevent staining. Usually a long wooden board around 5cm wide and 60cm in length.
  4. Embroidery Nails (绷钉): Used to secure the embroidery hoop, can be iron nails or sheep eye wood screws. There are various types, and choosing the right one is crucial.
  5. Embroidery Scissors (剪刀): Used to cut embroidery thread, commonly small, pointed scissors to avoid damaging the fabric.
  6. Embroidery Needles (绣针): Come in various sizes, suitable for different embroidery projects. Choose based on the fabric and thread thickness.
  7. Heat Erasable Pen (热消笔): Used to draw embroidery patterns on fabric, can be erased with heat.
  8. Glue (胶水): UHU yellow glue is used for bonding fabric, while 401 and 502 glue can be used for other materials. A hot glue gun is suitable for larger projects.


  1. Fabric (面料): Silk, satin, organza, gauze, linen, nylon, pure cotton, etc. Choose according to the needs of the embroidery project and the fabric.
  2. Embroidery Floss (绣线): Includes pure cotton fine thread, pure cotton thick thread, twisted thread, silk thread, wool thread, metallic thread, etc. Choose the appropriate thread based on the fabric and desired effect.
  3. Embroidery Embellishments (刺绣装饰物): Beads, pearls, agate, coral, wooden beads, glass, etc. Choose embellishments that match the pattern’s requirements.
  4. Ribbon (丝带): Machine-woven fine-colored ribbons suitable for use on coarse fabrics, can be used in combination with other threads.

The selection and combination of these tools and materials depend on individual embroidery projects and preferences, ensuring the creation of satisfying embroidery pieces.


Through this blog, we’ve delved into every aspect of embroidery, covering fabric selection, tool usage, and various types of embroidery patterns. It’s not just a feast of knowledge but also an attempt to deepen our understanding of the art of embroidery. In this vibrant and colorful embroidery universe, the artistic tapestry woven by thread and needle is sure to make you feel the unique charm of embroidery. Thank you for reading, and may you find joy and inspiration on this journey through the world of embroidery.

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