How To Begin Embroidering Your Own Redwork

Since 1880, redwork embroidery technique has been used to create beautiful needlework using red thread on a white or other natural colored fabric. With a little knowledge of the technique and some basic tools to help you, you can choose from many classic and vintage designs to practice completing your own work. Here are some recommendations to help you begin successfully embroidering your choice of redwork.

Use Necessary Redwork Tools

Before you begin to embroider in the redwork style, make sure you have an appropriate embroidery needle. Your needle should be thin with a sharp tip so the needle does not leave large holes in your woven fabric. Make sure the eye of the needle is large enough to allow you to insert your embroider floss or other thread you choose to use with your stitching. Choose a red-colored thread, such as silk or a pearl cotton, or traditional embroidery floss.

Choose the redwork design you will stitch over on your fabric. You can find fabric that has already a design pre-printed, or you can choose your own fabric and transfer a design onto the fabric with an iron-on method.

Stabilize Your Fabric

An embroider hoop is important to use, as it secures your fabric and makes its surface tight and smooth so you can apply your stitches into the fabric to prevent uneven sewing surface or wrinkles forming in your work. Embroidery hoops come in a selection of sizes and shapes, but you should select one that will fit within the fabric you are working on.

If your fabric is thin and needs additional support to strengthen it when you apply your stitches, you can place a fabric stabilizer onto its back. There are some fabric stabilizers which you can sew or iron onto the backside of your fabric to fuse them together. After you have embroidered your design, trim off any excess fabric stabilizer from the back of your design.

Protect Your Work

Anytime you decide to use a different type of red thread for working your redwork, make sure you test it for the stability of its dye. Many types of red thread will bleed their dyes when they are washed. This will cause your redwork design to be ruined as the red bleeds into the white background.

Test any new thread by making a few stitches into a scrap of your fabric. Then, toss the tester into your washing machine and wash it in warm water. If the thread bleeds, you may want to choose another one to work with.