Brazilian Embroidery

Getting Started

Helpful Hints and Stitch Directions

Are you new to Brazilian Embroidery, or interested in learning how to do it?  We hope the following hints and stitch directions will help you get started.  Even if you have been doing Brazilian embroidery for a long time, you may still find some helpful information here. 

Thread Comparison Chart

Throughout the years there have been several manufacturers of Z twisted rayon thread. Currently,  EdMar Co. is the one most designers refer to for thread needs. 
Use the chart below to compare the weights, twist, yardage and suggested needle size.

Thread NameWeightTwistLengthNeedle size
NovaExtra heavyLoose10 yds.Darner #18 or Milliner #15
BoucléHeavyBumpy10 yds.Darner #18 or Milliner #15
LolaHeavyTight19 yds.Milliner #1
CiréHeavyVery loose10 yds.Milliner #1
FrostMediumVery tight15 yds.Milliner #3
IrisMediumSomewhat loose15 yds.Milliner #5
GloryFineSomewhat loose20 ydsMilliner #7

Some Basics for stitching Brazilian Embroidery

One of the major differences in stitching Brazilian embroidery with rayon threads is the need to tie knots.  Be sure to make good knots both at the beginning and ending of your threads.  Leave at least ¼" tails beyond the knot and fray them out to prevent the knots from untying themselves later.  You may hide the tails under your work to avoid having them show through the fabric, but never skip tying knots and leaving tails. 

Using a hoop or not is generally a personal preference.  You will find some stitches work up better when using a hoop, and others that are cumbersome to work in a hoop. 

Milliners needles are used for for all wrapped and cast-on stitches.  They are best suited for these stitches because they have a long straight shaft and it does not bulge at the eye.  Since the eye does not bulge, the needle pulls through the wraps more easily, and the long length makes it easier to wrap or cast-on many times. 

For other stitches, any needle that is the right size for the thread will work fine.  Detached buttonhole stitches are more easily made using a tapestry needle so it will slide between the thread loops rather than catching into threads. 

Keeping Track of Threads

Would you like a little thread chart to carry with you where you can keep track of the thread weights and colors you already have so you don't buy the same color again by accident?   This is a new updated one, in color with the newest EdMar colors in 2013. It was created by the BELLS chapter in Western Washington.  Here is the PDF file of the spreadsheet.  It will be easy to print and use.  Print one page at a time, turn the sheet over to print the second page on the back of the first, and so on.  We are planning a more comprehensive spreadsheet that also shows color numbers in color families and more. 

Basic Stitches

Here are some of the stitches frequently used in Brazilian embroidery to create the dimensional look.

Bullion   Cast-on Buttonhole   Couching     Detached Buttonhole      Drizzle    Leaf Stitch   Pistil or Long-Tailed French Knot   Stem Stitch

Brazilian Embroidery Supplies

Here is a list of supplies that would be handy in every Brazilian embroiderer's sewing basket submitted by Pat Kamperschroer and Grita Gidner,  members of the BELLS chapter.


Milliner Needles – 2 each of size 1,3,5,7
         Darners – 2 of size 18
       Tapestry needles – size 22 and 24

Thread Grabber2
Floss Pullers3
2 Black Beauty Needle Threaders
Glue Stick
Sponge and Small, non-leaking bottle for water (e.g. Former eye drop bottle or travel size bottle with snap lid)
 Doodle Cloth
Altoid Box (or other small box for notions)
Wool Felt (for needles)
Fabric pen with water soluble ink

Pin Cushion   
Scrap Box (Origami) 
BDEIG Membership Application

Optional (but suggested)

Notebook and Pen
Fine point indelible ink pen (e.g. Sharpie or Pigma)
Non greasy hand cream (e.g.. Udderly Smooth)
Magnet and/or Magnetic Needle Nest
Project box4
Very Small Crochet Hook (size 11)

1Needles – This assortment of needles is sometimes offered as a beginners kit
2Thread Grabber -- the rubber tape used as a tourniquet for drawing blood makes a good Thread Grabber
3Floss Puller – A piece of plastic strapping tape that is bent into a J-shape makes a good Floss Puller
4 Project Box – A small plastic box that will hold your current BE Project.  One example is Office Depot Project Case (item 444112,,


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