How to embroider curly hair – create your own embroidered portrait
How to embroider curly hair
Many of you have requested a tutorial for embroidering curly hair and here it is! The stitching techniques for curls are the exact same as for straight hair. Getting curls into your embroidery thread is a whole different beast to tame. You can either add the curls before or after embroidering. In my example, I curled the threads before stitching.
To curl before or after stitching?
Adding the curls before stitching makes it easier to handle because you can curl the thread all at once and don’t have to fuzz around on your embroidery piece. The downside is that your curls will slightly straighten out everytime you pull the thread through the fabric. Making the threads shorter will help with that.
Adding the curls after stitching gives you the opportunity to shape the curls in the way you like them and will not run into the problem of curls straightening out that fast. However, it is quite an undertaking to wrap the threads around multiple objects on such a small scale.
Wrap a pencil or knitting needle with wet thread and blow dry it. To hold the ends in place, use a piece of masking tape. If you wrap very tightly you can get one whole skein of embroidery floss on a pencil or paintbrush. The next step is important: let your threads cool down before unwrapping it again. In the pictures above, you can see a red and black thread. I did not apply water to the black thread and the wrapping did almost nothing to curl it. The red thread was wet, but I didn’t blow dry it and let it air dry instead. I have found the heating of the thread via blow-drying makes the curls more durable. So, I highly recommend taking these extra steps!
Then, embroider it with the hair embroidery method of your choice (I used the turkey knot here). The curls will straighten a little bit every time you pull the thread through the fabric.
Comb the curls very little or use a big needle to separate the threads carefully. In the picture below you can see the right side is already combed through and the left side is still all 6 strands together.
Tips for extra curly hair
1. If you want to have very curly hair use an object with a small diameter like a sock knitting needle or a wooden skewer.
2. To avoid too much combing later, separate the 6 strands before wrapping it.
Free email course
If you want to learn more about the ins and outs of hair embroidery I recommend joining my free hair embroidery mini email course! You’ll learn all the basics to make your first stitched hairy head and how to style it!