Discover the Best Embroidery Classes in San Francisco
Embroidery is a type of fiber art that involves using a needle and thread to make decorative patterns on various textiles such as clothing, pillows, bags, cloth napkins, blankets, and other fabric items. Basic embroidery stitches include the running stitch, backstitch, split stitch, stem stitch, satin stitch, and French knots, but there are over 300 different embroidery stitches that can be used to create unique, intricate designs.
Handmade embroidery has a long and ancient history – one of the oldest surviving embroidered pieces was found at the tomb of the famous Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamun. Today, embroidery can be done by computerized machines, but the art of hand embroidery lives on as a unique type of needlework that produces exquisite one-of-a-kind pieces.
Why You Should Learn Embroidery in San Francisco
Learning embroidery will not only give you a fun and creative hobby but can also be beneficial for your mental health as an excellent stress reliever. Instead of endlessly scrolling through social media, try embroidery as a more productive and relaxing way to fill your idle time. Also, learning embroidery will give you the ability to create one-of-a-kind wearable items or projects to display in your home.
Hand-embroidered pieces make perfect gifts for family and friends and can also be sold online, at craft fairs, or in craft stores. Many embroiderers have developed part-time jobs selling their embroidery on websites like Etsy and Amazon Handmade. If you find the right niche for embroidery, you may even be able to turn a side hustle into a full-time job; for instance, custom or monogrammed napkins and towels are among the bestselling embroidered items on Etsy.
Often employed at clothing retailers or design companies, full-time embroidery professionals combine their traditional hand-sewing skills with digital software to design and produce embroidered items. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, California is one of the highest-paid and highest-employed states for Tailors, Dressmakers, and Custom Sewers, with an annual mean salary of $45,910.
In addition to potential money-making opportunities, learning embroidery will connect you to a larger community of embroiderers and other fiber artists. Established in New York in 1958, The Embroiderers' Guild of America (EGA) is a national organization with the mission to foster the art of needlework by promoting the exchange of ideas and high standards of quality in embroidery. With over 240 chapters across the US and Canada, the EGA provides its members access to local meetings, workshops, and exhibitions, as well as embroidery projects and other educational resources.
The San Francisco School of Needlework and Design (SFSNAD) – a non-profit organization dedicated to embroidery education and preservation – provides exhibitions, classes, workshops, and mentorships for San Francisco-area residents to further their needlework skills. They are also home to the Gathering Thread Shop (a place to purchase materials and books), as well as the Lucy Barter Needlework Library (a research library with a comprehensive selection of needle art books). Members of SFSNAD receive exclusive benefits such as free admission to webinars, quarterly designs, subscription to the newsletter, access to video demos, member-only invites, and limited-time offers for classes, shop items, and special events.
In-Person Embroidery Classes in San Francisco
Individuals who want to learn embroidery can attend in-person classes in San Francisco that are taught by expert embroiderers and fiber artists. In-person classes deliver hands-on instruction and often provide access to equipment and supplies.
If there are no in-person classes currently available, there are other sewing and textile classes for individuals to attend in the San Francisco area. For instance, the Richmond Art Center offers Beginning Crochet for ages 18 and older. In this six-session course, students will learn basic crochet techniques used to make fingerless gloves, cowls, shawls, and other wearable items. Students will need to bring a US-size J crochet hook and a ball of light-colored worsted-weight yarn to class.
The largest visual arts center in the East Bay, the Richmond Art Center provides art classes and programs taught by professional artists as well as rotating exhibitions that display the works of local artists. Students can take classes at the well-equipped studios in The Art Center – located at 25th Street and Barrett Avenue in Richmond – or at sites throughout the Richmond area.
Also offered at the Richmond Art Center, Beginning Floor Loom Weaving is an eight-session course for ages 16 and older. In this beginner class, students will learn basic weaving techniques such as how to read a pattern, wind a warp, and dress their loom, as well as the history behind weaving and basic color theories. Students will complete a six-foot-long weaving that demonstrates their newly acquired looming skills. There is an additional textile studio fee of $20 for this class.
For another looming class, individuals can book Tabletop Loom Weaving at the Richmond Art Center. In this eight-session course for all skill levels, students will learn how to weave on a tabletop loom – a miniature version of the floor loom. Participants will further their knowledge of the machine by practicing setting up the loom and weaving their own cloth. Students are encouraged to use their own designs to create a project, but the instructor can assign patterns and materials as well. For extra practice, students may arrive one hour early after the first day to use free lab time.
Fiber art enthusiasts may also want to attend Line by Line: Introduction to Tapestry Weaving offered by the Richmond Art Center. In this beginner-friendly eight-session workshop, students will learn basic tapestry weaving techniques such as how to build imagery as well as how to warp and dress a floor loom. The class syllabus is as follows: Week one consists of a class introduction to studio use and safety, project expectations, and a lesson on contemporary weavers; week two reviews loom parts, weaving mechanics, and warping the loom; week three discusses project sizes and provides a demo of how to incorporate butterflies into your tapestry weaving; week four consists of troubleshooting any issues, demonstrating how to attach a cartoon to the warp, and starting the project; and weeks five through eight provide guided studio time that includes answering questions and troubleshooting issues.
The Richmond Art Center also offers Shibori Level 2, a four-hour one-day class for all skill levels. In this textile class for ages 16 and older, students will learn how to create fabric designs using Shibori, a Japanese manual dyeing technique using indigo. Participants will apply advanced shibori dyeing techniques such as Itajime folding, Arashi, Sekka, Kiko, and Ansanoha. Shibori Level 1 is recommended as a prerequisite but not required. Students should bring to class small pillowcases, tote bags, t-shirts, handkerchiefs, scarves, and other textile items made of natural fibers like cotton, linen, silk, or rayon. The fabric items should ideally be in white or other natural colors.
Virtual Embroidery Classes
While in-person classes are often taken at fiber art workshops, studios, craft stores, or art centers, online embroidery classes can be taken from anywhere with an Internet connection. Virtual embroidery classes allow participants to learn how to embroider from the comfort of their own homes, eliminating the troublesome commute to class.
If you cannot find an embroidery class in your area, you can increase your options by looking at online classes. The drawback to attending virtual classes is that you will likely have to provide your own materials; however, hand embroidery does not require an abundance of materials and it is likely you will want your own basic supplies for creating projects at home.
Although online classes may not always be available in embroidery, there are a number of other sewing and textile classes you can take. For instance, Coastal Design Workshops LLC offers the virtual class Make a Leather Koozie for all skill levels ages 13 and older. In this one-hour beginner-friendly workshop, students will learn leatherworking as they create a custom leather koozie. Students will use leatherworking tools to stencil, cut, punch, and stitch genuine leather with waxed cords. The instructor will guide students through each step, pausing for trivia breaks and socializing. A leatherworking kit will be sent to each participant that includes everything needed to make the koozie besides a pair of scissors (so make sure to have some sharp ones ready).
Individuals of all skill levels ages 13 and older can also book the Chunky Knit Blanket workshop offered by Coastal Design Workshops LLC. In this one-hour beginner-friendly class, participants will learn how to knit a cozy blanket without using needles. Each participant will be delivered a DIY craft kit that includes four skeins of size seven chenille super bulky yarn, enough to make a throw blanket that is approximately 40 x 50 inches. Students should expect to finish about half of their blanket during class and the rest after. A video tutorial will be provided for students to refer to.
Crochet for Beginners is another beginner-friendly fiber arts class for individuals to take from the comfort of their own homes. Offered by the 92nd Street Y, this six-session course teaches students basic crochet skills for creating textiles with a variety of patterns such as scarves, hats, blankets, and bags. Projects completed during class include a cell phone pouch and a stitch sampler scarf. See the course description for a full list of supplies needed to participate.
Private Group Embroidery Classes in San Francisco
Are you looking for a fun and creative team-building opportunity for your business or organization? CourseHorse has embroidery classes for private groups in San Francisco that will encourage camaraderie in your group while inspiring their creative side. Even if CourseHorse does not have an embroidery class publicly listed on its website, it may be able to provide it to your group. You can reach out through the contact form listed on their website to find out your options.
Individuals who want to learn embroidery can take CourseHorse's Virtual Modern Embroidery Art. Your group will bond as they learn to turn plain fabric into something unique and beautiful. In this two-hour class for up to 500 people, participants will learn the basics of hand embroidery including how to prep your hoop, select the best thread, and start and finish your project. Participants will learn essential embroidery stitches as well as floral stitches that include woven wheel roses, french knots, fishbone leaves, and stem stitches. No previous skills are necessary and all materials will be shipped to each participant including three embroidery hoops, a tote bag, colorful threads, patterns, and needles.
For another sewing and textile course, groups can book Virtual Tapestry Loom Weaving, a two-hour class for up to 500 people. In this beginner-friendly class, participants will learn about the trendy art of tapestry weaving as they design and create their own woven wall hangings. Individuals will create their own loom and learn how to set up the thread, weave various stitches, add fringes, and use a variety of fiber weights and textures. Participants will walk away with a beautiful handmade tapestry to hang on their walls. All materials are shipped to each participant including three types of yarn, a dowel, and a loom.
Groups looking for a fun and relaxing creative class can also book the Virtual Macramé Workshop offered by CourseHorse. In this one-hour class for groups of up to 500 people, participants will learn about macramé – the art of tying knots to create unique textiles, believed to have originated with 13th-century Arab weavers. An expert instructor will guide your group as they learn how to tie knots in cords to create beautiful hanging planters for their homes. All materials will be shipped to each participant including enough cord to make three hanging planters.
If your group enjoys creating macraméd projects they can also book Virtual Macramé Moon Dream Catcher, a 90-minute class for up to 100 people. In this beginner-friendly class, participants will learn how to create an eye-catching moon-shaped dreamcatcher to hang in their homes. A fun, low-pressure activity, macramé consists of tying knots to make beautifully patterned textiles. Guided by an expert instructor, individuals in this workshop will tie knots onto a crescent frame and incorporate beads to create a unique dreamcatcher to display on their wall or give as a gift. All materials are included and shipped in advance.
Booking with CourseHorse offers several benefits such as not having to pay booking fees and receiving a confirmation within 24 hours of booking. They are also flexible and accommodating: if you are unsure of how many people will be attending the class, CourseHorse makes it easy to change your group size after booking; moreover, while their default is Zoom, CourseHorse can accommodate other video conferencing platforms such as Microsoft Teams, Google Meets, and Webex. CourseHorse's expert instructors provide a fun, engaging, and professional experience that your group will love.