Traditional arts like embroidery and cross-stitch are proving they’re not dying or outdated, and these modern embroidery books prove it. Every year there are tons of new books and creators releasing patterns and designs that keep the tradition of needlework alive and add some fun new flair to it. We’re even putting embroidery on book covers!
I’ve been embroidering for a few years now, and it’s an incredibly accessible and fun hobby to begin, no matter how intimidating it looks. Embroidery books are a great way to read about the history of the art form, how to get started, what materials you’ll need, and how to create your own hoop art like the ones you see in the pictures.
Whether you’re brand new or a seasoned expert, these embroidery books will give you a starting point or new ideas and patterns to keep creating.
Best Embroidery Books
Embroidery Now by Jennifer Cardenas Riggs
Riggs is the textile artist behind @threadhoney, and her creations are stunning. Embroidery Now walks beginners through the basics of embroidery, and projects for all skill levels are included, like an embroidered lampshade, a wall hanging, or a small clutch. These projects show that this ancient art technique is still vibrant and modern.
Hoop Dreams by Cristin Morgan
This was actually one of the first embroidery books I began using when I was ready for “real” projects beyond samplers, and I loved every piece in it. Morgan’s bold and colorful designs are so eye-catching you can’t help but be drawn in. The book includes instructions for just starting out, plus tons of fun projects for the home, office, or wherever you like to decorate with handmade items.
A Year of Embroidery by Yumiko Higuchi
For those looking for more classic designs, A Year of Embroidery gives you monthly projects to improve your stitching while creating something beautiful at the same time. Each month is themed (September is vegetables!), so you’ll have a huge variety of projects to work on that rotate as the months go by. Higuchi is also the author of tons of other embroidery books like Zakko Embroidery, a book that covers very small, very lovely mini embroidery designs.
Mastering the Art of Embroidery by Sophie Long
If you’re looking for the best embroidery books for beginners, this comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know to get started with embroidery. The book showcases step-by-step guides to basic and more advanced stitches and includes everything from how to use the embroidery thread to finishing a hoop.
Nathalie Lété for Sublime Stitching by Nathalie Lété (and Jenny Hart)
If you’re ready to skip past the basics, this embroidery book full of iron-on transfer patterns will let you start right away with your project. The book includes patterns from artwork by Nathalie Lété, a Paris-based artist who is inspired by the world around her as well as traditional folk art from her cultures.
Animal Embroidery Workbook by Jessica Long
I cannot get over how cute these animal embroidery patterns are, and the fact that some look so realistic is just wild! (See what I did there?) The book includes 30 projects, all containing adorable motifs of wildlife, along with instructions for beginners on how to find and use materials and get started with embroidery. Long also has tons of patterns and tutorials all over the internet, so you don’t have to stop with the book!
Sweet Stitches by Aneela Hoey
In addition to embroidery books and patterns, artist Aneela Hoey is also known for creating sewing patterns. She has several embroidery books, but I love the vintage look and simplicity in the patterns of Sweet Stitches, which has more than 250 iron-on transfer designs for creating tons of projects.
Embroidered Wild Flowers by Kazuko Aoki
Aoki is inspired by the natural world, and her patterns range from plants to birds to trees in all seasons in this book. This embroidery book contains helpful diagrams and step-by-step stitch instructions, so beginners and advanced embroiderers alike can create their own natural-world-inspired projects.
Edgy Embroidery by Renee Rominger
Just like subversive cross-stitch, embroidery doesn’t have to be old-fashioned and proper. Rominger is the designer behind Moonrise Embroidery, creating creepy and snarky pieces with traditional stitching. The book introduces basic concepts and then teaches readers how to break some rules, creating new stitches, and using those skills to create modern designs that flip the old-school on its head.
When you’re ready to dive into working on a textile art project, dive into some literary cross-stitch and embroidery! And don’t forget that Book Riot has its very own cross-stitch pattern book, Lit Stitch!