Embroidery is an ancient variety of decorative needlework in which designs and pictures are created by stitching strands of some material on to a layer of another material. Most embroidery uses thread or wool stitched onto a woven fabric, but the stitches could be executed in, for example, wire or leather strands, and embroidery can be worked onto many materials. Non-woven traditional materials include leather and felt, but modern textile artists embroider on many non-traditional materials such as plastic sheeting. Often, specific embroidery stitches are used.
Hand embroidery is embroidery done without the help of a sewing machine or similar electric tool. Hand embroidery is used by traditional artists who are skilled in their craftmanship and have inherated the art embroidery from their ancestors. Nowadays, machine embroidery has replaced hand embroidery as machine embroidery saves a lot of time and hard work. Machine embroidery has become a vast subject on its own. It is both used for creative work on individual pieces and for mass-produced clothing products.
Embroidery has traditionally been used to decorate clothing and household furnishings including table linens, tray cloths, towels and bedding, but one can literally embroider anything as long as it is made out of an evenly woven fabric and can be held firmly in the hand or in a special embroidery hoop or tapestry frame.