Embroidery patterns can help add new designs to your repertoire, as well as introduce you to new skills or help you perfect old ones. When selecting a pattern or pattern kit, keep the following five points in mind so you find the perfect pattern for your needs.
1. Skill Level
Some patterns have a skill level marked right on them. It may be a simple numbering system, typically with the higher numbers requiring more skills, or they may use a "beginner, intermediate, advanced" system. If a pattern doesn't include a skill level, you will need to study it closely to make sure it fits your needs. Generally, the fewer colors, stitch types, and total stitches mean the better suited a pattern is to a novice.
2. Transfer Options
How you transfer the pattern to your fabric can vary. Some patterns come preprinted on the fabric you will be sewing. Once you are done, you simply wash the fabric to remove the ink from the printed pattern. Others are transferred using transfer paper or pens that you provide, which also wash out. In the case of cross stitch embroidery patterns, these are often counted. This means you sew from a chart and never actually transfer the design to the fabric before sewing.
3. Finished Size
It can be hard to tell the size of a pattern from the package, so always check the information leaflet. If you are hoping to embroider a pillow sham, you don't want the pattern to be larger than a 2-inch square. If the pattern is the type that you transfer yourself with a pen or transfer paper, you can always use a photocopier to shrink or enlarge the pattern to your specifications.
4. Included Materials
Some embroidery pattern kits contain nothing more than the pattern itself, perhaps with a sewing guide or color chart. Others are fully complete kits that contain not just the pattern, but also the fabric, floss, embroidery hoop, needles, and sometimes even a frame. There are also options in between, with those containing just the pattern and the needles being one of the most common options.
5. Floss Chart
Not all patterns come with a floss chart of suggested colors, as some are made to be simple designs that you sew in whatever colors you desire. If a pattern does have a floss chart, it's important to look it over first to make sure you can secure the required embroidery floss colors if they aren't already included with the pattern.
Visit a craft store or needle arts vendor to find a large array of hand stitch embroidery patterns for more inspiration.