Pro Tips: Stitching with Both Hands

Natasha Searls-Punter

Natasha Searls-Punter

One of the things about embroidery, particulally hand embroidery, that you can not get away from is that it takes time. It takes a lot of practise to become proficient in each technique and time to keep your skills at a good level. In addition to that there is the time it takes to complete each piece depending on your proficiency. Whilst this makes it quite a relaxing, luxurious pursuit for a lot of people, the million dollar question is always ”how do I get faster?”


The simple answer to this is that you have to use both hands for stitching. Everyone has their prefered hand to work with, but to get faster at embroidering you need to save on the time that it takes for your hand to travel around the hoop from the front to the back to the front again to pull through and reposition the needle for each stitch. I’m sure you are probably thinking that this is only for ambidextrous people because you non-dominant hand just does not do the same as your dominant hand when you have tried to write or catch with it. With practise, you can train your non-dominant hand to share the load with your dominant hand.

What you are looking to achieve is being able to pass the needle back and forth, through the fabric, between your hands a bit like in the above. Each hand stays on its side of the hoop and controls the needle and thread only when it is on that side. Which way around you choose to position your hands is up to you, both of the embroiderers shown here are right hand dominant, but the embroiderer shown above prefers right hand on top, left underneath; whilst the embroiderer in the clip below has the left hand underneath and the right above (seen only in shadow).

So next time you are stitching, give the two handed method a try. Admittedly, when you first start it feels very awkward and you will probably feel like your stitches placed with the non-dominant hand are a little clumsey, but the more you use it the easier it will feel.


Happy quick stitching…

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