Embroidery is craftwork. It's the art of decorating fabric or other materials like pearls, beads, sequins, etc. However, general embroideries are fabric embroideries. This process uses a needle to apply thread or yarn. You will see its usage on dress shirts, golf shirts, caps, hats, blankets, denim, coats, stockings, and other dresses. This way, the fashion industry has been enriched with different types of embroideries. 

Embroidery techniques are used to display artwork, logos, or names on fabrics. So you want to know about different types of embroideries? That's fantastic! The more we know, the more we become able to imagine. But first of all, let us learn a bit about its history and definition before we go into its types. 


The word embroidery has been derived from the French word "broderie," which means embellishment. It originated in China and the Near East. That's why we are more familiar with the term ‘‘Chinese embroideries’’. However, according to the archeologists, early embroidery dates back to Cro-Magnon days or 30,000 B.C. They have discovered fossilized remains of heavily hand-stitched and decorated clothing. 


Now it’s time to get familiar with them all. Are you ready? Okay, then let's go ahead! 


13 Different Types of Embroideries


A clear notion of different kinds of anything helps us create unique embroideries. This post will enable you that way. Let us jump downright! 


1. Whitework Embroidery


It’s all about using white fabric with white floss. It denotes any sort of embroidery where the stitching remains the same color as the foundation fabric. Many popular lace embroideries are done this way. 


However, you will see embroiders using white linen following the tradition. Depending on whether the threads are cut, experts classify this into two categories: open and closed. You will find its main usage in- 


  • Christening gowns

  • Baby bonnets

  • Heirloom sewing for blouses


2. Candlewick Embroidery


This is a version of Whitework embroidery, also called Candlewick embroidery. This technique traditionally uses an unbleached cotton thread on a piece of unbleached muslin. Its modern design comprises colored floss embroidery with traditional white-on-white stitching. Our blog illustrates different types of stitching and different stitching techniques.


The loom-woven or machine-made candlewicks of the early 19th century are a sheer example of this. And these days, you will find its best application in cushion covers. If you are looking to upgrade your cushion covers check out these cushion cover selection tips at our blog.


3. Goldwork Embroidery 


Being derived in China around 2000 years ago, it is still the most dignified embroidery. The historical usage of the Goldwork Embroidery types are:


  • Ecclesiastical textiles

  • Royal clothing and textiles

  • Military uniforms


Apart from gold, professionals do use metal threads. So whatever ultimately you see in this type of embroidery is gold-coated silver. You can apply this even in lotus hand embroideries! 


4. Cross Stitch Embroidery


Usually, here in cross stitch embroideries, experts employ X-shaped diagonally set stitches in a concreted design so that they look like a picture. As a version of counted-thread embroidery, it is trendy. People often google- where are the embroideries near me for classy-complex designs! 


So you can, and you should rely on this for beautifully intricate patterns, and you will see its application in different designer embroideries like Print Britannia due to its popularity. You can create fabulous neck embroideries by this.


5. Surface Embroidery 


If you see an application of decorative stitches and laid threads upon the foundation fabric, you may regard this as surface embroidery. The core craftsmanship lies on the surface of your garment. The two best examples of surface embroidery are Bayeux Tapestry and Quaker tapestry. And the points below are surface embroidery types -


  • Applique

  • Goldwork

  • Cross stitch

  • Stumpwork

  • Art needlework

  • Crewel embroidery

  • Jacobean embroidery


6. Drawn Thread Embroidery


The drawn thread embroidery is also called pulled thread embroidery. This type of embroidery leaves an airy pattern on the fabric. You have to do it either by drawing or extracting threads from the actual fabric. Then how about the rest of the fabric? Well, they get assembled in different patterns. The styles of drawn thread embroidery are as follows: 


Basic hemstitching: Professionals generally use this to furnish the trimmings of clothes or household linens. We recommend using a zigzag or mock overlock stitch. 


Needle-weaving: Employ this style to create designs of light-colored threads and dark openings in the garment. It is most adorable for border embroideries. 


7. Crewel Embroidery


This thousand-year-old method is a branch of surface embroidery dependent on living creatures. This method uses woollen threads on a linen foundation. It’s wool-wise embroidery work. You will need to employ a wide range of stitches to deal with a specific pattern. Such as -


  • Stem stitches

  • chain stitches 

  • French knots

  • Couched stitches

  • Seed stitches 

  • Split stitches


It’s a style of free embroidery. The crewelwork had seen its heyday in Great Britain, yet it is popular! 


8. Hardanger Embroidery


Originated in Hardanger, Norway, this practice has spread around the United States. It features complex geometric patterns. Usually, it comes into squares, rectangles, triangles, diamonds, hearts, zig-zags, and crosses.


Traditionally, it uses cream or white even-weave linen or cloth and two weights of Pearl cotton. This method includes linen evenweave fabric of 36 counts. 


9. Hedebo Embroidery


It comprises several forms of White embroidery. It originated at Hedebo, Denmark, arguably in the 15th or 17th century. It has several stitching styles. They are as follows:


  • Counted thread work

  • Hedebo needle lace

  • Drawn thread work

  • Baldyring

  • Square cutwork

  • Hvidsøm


10. The Red, Black, and Blue Work Embroidery 


Whether you produce silk embroideries or vintage embroideries, you need to choose among the red, black, and blue. The redwork embroidery prefers red thread on white or natural color fabric. Traditional Spanish blackwork embroidery prefers black thread on white or even weaves fabric. And the bluework embroidery prefers blue thread on a white or natural-colored fabric ground. You had better choose a color-conscious designer to come up with great embroideries. 


11. Shadow Work Embroidery


It includes a herringbone stitch. Professionals use this on semi or full transparent fabrics. It helps the shadow work become visible aesthetically. You will discover its usage in lawn,  muslin, georgette, voile, batiste, organza, organdie, etc.


12. Fish Scale Embroidery


You will see a number of the latest embroideries in this category. The fish-scale embroidery typically uses the scale of fishes to create a pattern. Velvet is the most used foundation of this technique. You need to make holes at the base of each scale to get them stitched on the fabric. Generally, goldfishes are used for this purpose.


13. Regionally Reputed Embroidery 


Think of embroideries for all. Apart from introducing the general types, you should consider these regionally reputed creative embroideries. More or less, they have a demand beyond territories. Your potential customers might order you anytime. Then why will you miss the chance of a good profit margin?! 


  • Antique Chinese embroideries

  • Swiss embroideries

  • Kashmiri embroideries

  • Gujarat embroideries

  • Kaitag embroideries

  • Sashiko embroidery

  • Dakota embroideries


Closing Thoughts 


The art of embroidery is the outcome of the tremendous embellishing possibilities of sewing. Indeed, creativity knows no end. So learning about the types of embroideries should be there in your application. And whenever you will go for embroidered work, keep three things in mind as your criteria: suitable stitches, the right fabric, and the right threads to align with the fabric.


And don’t ignore to learn more. The famous book Samplers & Tapestry Embroideries by Marcus Bourne Huish will be handy. Have a good day!