Hand Embroidery Dictionary book review

embroidery book with title.

If you are looking for a comprehensive embroidery resource, the Hand Embroidery Dictionary will fit that need. This is one of the best stitch directories I have seen.

If you follow me on Instagram or YouTube, you might have seen earlier in the year I did a short video tutorial for a new embroidery stitch every day. You can still go back and see these.

I had over 170 stitches, and daily tutorials went from January 1 to the end of June. In the end, I had to stop because I was running out of stitches to demonstrate.

cover of the hand embroidery dictionary by Christen Brown,

If only I had the Hand Embroidery Dictionary then! It has over 500 stitches. That is more than I found in any other book (and I looked around a lot).

This book is clearly laid out with lots of colour diagrams and pictures.

open embroidery book with floss.

There are even stitch diagrams for left-handed options, which is not standard in embroidery books.

stitch diagrams from the hand embroidery dictionary.

It is a great resource for beginners. It includes a lot of information about different fabrics and threads and tools and how to use them together.

No specific projects are included. This book is aimed at people who want to be creative with stitches and make their own projects. I call this “freestyle embroidery”. It’s like doodling on fabric.

project inspiration from the Hand Embroidery Dictionary.

If you need inspiration to get started, there are a lot of pictures of projects which will give you ideas. These stitches will also work well with the embroidery projects I have here.

Full disclosure, I received this book for free from C & T Publishing, but this is a book that I would purchase and this is an honest review.

C & T Publishing has generously offered to give a free copy of the e-book to one of my readers. To win the book, comment on this post telling me your favourite embroidery stitch or why you would like this book. Entry closes on September 29, 2021.

UPDATE: The give away is now closed. Congratulations to Cathy F. who won!

I will randomly choose a winner from the comments and contact the winner by email.

embroidery book with floss.

For other chances to win, visit:

Thanks to Christen Brown and C & T Publishing for this great resource. I’m sure I will refer to it often.


If you’re interested in surface embroidery, you might like:

embroidered pumpkins with title "part one - fabric prep".
house embroidery with title.
embroidered flower picture.

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Elizabeth DeCroos - Epida Studio.

Elizabeth DeCroos

Elizabeth DeCroos is the designer and teacher at Epida Studio. She loves to work in quilting, pojagi and embroidery and teach these techniques to others.
Learn more and get her to speak to your group.

35 thoughts on “Hand Embroidery Dictionary book review”

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    Elaine in North Texas

    I am so excited about this book. I am wanting to branch out on embroidering my own designs and this book would be a great help. I need to find a favorite design.

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    I thought I knew how to embroider! I never realized how much I have to learn! This book would be an excellent resource.

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    I love doing lazy daisy stiches but there is also something so satisfying about a really well done satin stitch. This would be an amazing resource!

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    I love the blanket stitch for quilts and when I made my first penny table topper. It’s not perfect but it’s mine💖

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    This looks like the perfect resource. I am left-handed giving me my creative side but some stitches are difficult for me. Left handed directions are amazing. I love any stitches that have the 3-D look. Details that are created are sew beautiful!

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    This book seems amazing and very useful – I definitely will be adding this book to my shelves, one way or another!

    My favorite stitch for pretty top stitching along collar edges is the feather stitch. I learned the feather stitch because I saw it on the details of the fine linen apron that had been handmade by my triple-great grandmother!

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    I learned to embroider almost 50 years ago in 4-H. And promptly put away my hoop! Now that I’m retired, I’ve returned to sewing and quilting. I’d like to relearn and increase my knowledge to embellish my sewing projects.

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    My favourite stitch is the Palestrina stitch which I recently learned how to do. My least favourite is satin stich. Maybe this book has some alternatives for that one.

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    Anne McGinnis-Hayes

    Wow what an awesome book this looks to be! I actually love doing the French Knot. Simple, I know but they can be tiny or large & make great fillers! Thanks so much for the chance to win the downloadable copy! With all the patterns coming out lately for folk art type embroidery, it couldn’t be more timely!

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    Thank you for this review. The book looks great. I had found Christen’s daily post in late May and was disappointed I hadn’t found her earlier! As a quilter, I have to confess that my soul is really an embroiderer’s. Thank you for sharing this great review with us all.

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    I love French Knots. They are so much fun to make.
    Love Christen’s books. She is a wonderful teacher and all of her books are well put together. This would be a fantastic resource to have in designing my own pieces.

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    One of my favorite stitches is the outline stitch. I like that is is just plain and simple. I am a lefty so having a book with left handed stitching directions would be so awesome! There are not a lot of things in this world to help make being a lefty easier.

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    I don’t have a favorite embroidery stitch, but I do like to embroider. I like patterns that tell me what stitch to use. Maybe this book will help me be more creative with patterns that don’t tell me what stitch to use. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

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    The embroidery stitch I use most often is the French knot, but occasionally I will experiment with other ones. If I win this, I’ll be able to access the tutorials so easily and will probably expand my learning! Thanks for this.

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    This book looks like a little treasure! I am an avid cross stitcher but often use decorative stitches to complete other projects. French knots were a challenge then I learned how to do colonial knots. It’s all good now!

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    I want to step out of my comfort zone and try some embroidery. This would be a great resource for me. I have not done any embroidery for about forty years.

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    I learned to embroider as a child from my mother. It was traditional work, always using preprinted fabric. The idea of freestyle embroidery is very appealing to me. I would love a copy of this book!

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    I would love to have this book as a resource to learn embroidery stitches as the only one I have mastered so far is the blanket stitch

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    My favorite embroidery stitch is the blanket stitch . My Mom did it on a down filled feather comforter cover in 1951 before she married My Dad. It reminds me how everlasting our hand crafted items can be, as I still have it.

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    Beverley van Huizen

    This book looks like an awesome reference book. I am at the beginning of my embroidery journey working on my second project. This book would be so helpful in learning new stitches. I don’t have a favourite stitch yet but I am so happy when my lazy daisy stitches look good.

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    Looks like a great reference for stitches, useful to refresh my memory!! Love using buttonhole stitch in curves and combinations of colors.

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