Embroidery / NL Embroidery

How 8 Artists Are Thinking Beyond the Embroidery Hoop To Create Awe-Inspiring Designs

Embroidery outside of the hoop

This article is brought to you by Brown Paper Stitch, my business that makes your wardrobe pawesome by embroidering your pets on clothing.

This arti­cle is part of a series on how to take your embroi­dery to new heights

Over the many years that I’ve writ­ten on Brown Paper Bag, I’ve seen a ton of stitch­ing. It’s inspir­ing but it can also make me feel a bit lackluster—there are so many tal­ent­ed peo­ple out there!

If you’re some­one who scrolls through Insta­gram and feels total­ly envi­ous of all of the beau­ti­ful stitch­ing you see, you might be wish­ing you could har­ness even a lit­tle bit of that creativity.

So, where do you start? Over the next many Mon­days, I’ll be shar­ing lessons of what I have seen and learned.

The first lesson: Think beyond the hoop.

Feel­ing cre­ative­ly sti­fled by the embroi­dery hoop?

The embroi­dery hoop is not a rule. It’s mere­ly a sug­ges­tion of where to stitch. You can cre­ate awe-inspir­ing effects that extend out­side of the cir­cle. Heck, maybe you get rid of the hoop altogether.

Whether you are braid­ing thread, attach­ing felt­ed wool sculp­tures, or mere­ly using the hoop for sta­ble stitch­ing, think about how you can go big­ger. Maybe it’s keep­ing the hoop and hav­ing floss extend beyond it. Maybe you are stitch­ing on cloth­ing (like me!).

Check out some ways in which artists working in embroidery have thought outside the embroidery hoop to create original designs.

Embroidery on discarded tennis rackets by Danielle Clough


Stitching on ceramics by Caroline Harrius


All over cross stitch jacket by Ignacia Jullian


Jellyfish tumbling tendrils by Yuliya Kucherenko


3D braided hair portraits by Sheena Liam Zacharevic


Squirrels on clothing by Juno


Embroidered collars by Señorita Lylo


Embroidery on hats by Lexi Mire