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Travel Embroidery 101: Best Tips and Tricks

Travel Embroidery

Travel embroidery is another travel-related hobby of mine, apart from travel sketches and Postcrossing. It is contemporary embroidery art dedicated to various aspects of travel: architecture, nature, culture, people, cuisine. As embroidering while traveling requires more time and supplies compared to sketching and sending postcards, I would say travel embroidery works better for the followers of the slow travel concept. But I must note that if it is an embroidery piece inspired by your travel. Although created after the trip, it is still considered to be travel embroidery.

Personally, I turned my passion for travel embroidery into a small business. But, it is a nice hobby for anyone who is crafty or who wants to create unique travel souvenirs. Here are a few tips for complete beginners to travel embroidery:

Get some basic knowledge in embroidery

Travel Embroidery

If you are brave enough you can just thread your needle and go with a thread as if it’s a pencil. And if you are a bit afraid of the blank canvas, then watching some tutorials and videos explaining basic stitches and how to hoop would be extremely useful.

Visualize your embroidery before the trip

Travel Embroidery

Try to think about what you might want to embroider before the trip, so you don’t need to take all the supplies you have with you. Browse pictures of the place you are going to and try to understand what color palette it is. For example, if you go to Morocco, don’t forget to take several shades of beige and brown. If you go to Portugal, take yellow because most probably you would like to embroider a traditional yellow tram. But as soon as you arrive at the destination, don’t put much pressure on yourself about the missing colors!  You can always add a mimosa tree instead of a blooming cherry tree, make a house green instead of red. Nobody needs to know you didn’t have pink and red embroidery threads with you. After all, travel embroidery is a way of self-expression.

Make a list of supplies for your travel embroidery kit

It depends on the country you are traveling to. But, usually, craft shops are not the easiest places to find when abroad. So, bring your hoop, a piece of fabric, small scissors, a couple of needles, and different shades of embroidery threads with you.

Choose a simple scene for your travel embroidery

Travel Embroidery

Don’t start your embroidery journey by trying to embroider Duomo di Milano. Complex architecture structures can take a lot of time to embroider. Moreover, it’s difficult to get all the lines and details perfect on the first try and the result might disappoint and discourage you. There is a certain charm in imperfection. But, I think when you are new to travel embroidery, imperfection might drive you a bit crazy. So, I would advise going for scenes like the seaside, windmills, mountains, cute little houses, etc.

Take a photo of the scene

You might not finish your embroidery piece as fast as you planned or might not be able to come back to this place soon, but you can always finish your embroidery later using the photo you took as your reference.

Combine different media

Lake Bled Embroidery

Add watercolor or any other paint, seashells, beads, lace to your embroidery piece. Firstly, it will save a bit of your time as painting fabric, for example, is faster than embroidering it. Secondly, combining media will let you play with textures and effects that will make your travel embroidery piece stand out.

Find an inspiring location for your travel embroidery

Embroidery is a meditative art which means you need to find a place where embroidering feels convenient and relaxing to you. I love embroidering in front of the ocean, but I guess some may find sand annoying. A bench in a park is also a nice idea or maybe a corner table in a cozy café. And get ready to get some attention and make new connections!

Embroidering while you are on a trip makes you slow down and enjoy the present, helps you to express yourself and release your creativity. On top of all that you get a unique travel souvenir that will radiate the vibes of the particular travel memory.

My travel embroidery journey has started more than 2 years ago, and I share my projects and progress on my Instagram and list my items for sale in my Etsy shop.

Don’t worry if you don’t have time for it, you can order a customized embroidery as a gift for your loved ones by clicking here!

Written by Maria Zamyatina

Independent traveler & Translator || Embroidery artist & Amateur sketcher

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