Book Review: Mastering the Art of Embroidery by Sophie Long

By Sophie Long

This great big tome of a book (280-odd pages) looks like a coffee table book, and the quality of the work and embroidery included in it means that it certainly wouldn’t be out of place there. Even if embroidery hasn’t been something that’s appealed to you in the past, I defy you to not to be inspired to be buying linen and embroidery threads within minutes of picking it up. Sophie Long has done a fantastic job of creating a lovely introduction to the art of embroidery.


Ribbon work

Embroidery from Mastering the Art of Embroidery

Free style embroidery

The book has chapters on Surface Embroidery, Counted-Surface Embroidery, Embellishment, Stumpwork, Whitework, Three-Dimensional Embroidery, Free-Motion Embroidery and Digital Embroidery, and within the chapters themselves there are shorter sub-chapters addressing different techniques in detail. For example, the section on Surface Embroidery includes sections on crewel work, applique, goldwork and more. Each chapter starts with a gallery of stunning examples of the techniques to be discussed, which is followed by an introduction to the history of the style and some comments on the contemporary scene. Each chapter also includes some detailed tutorials on basic stitches used in each style.


Detailed tutorial

The quality of the work of the designers included in the galleries is of extraordinarily high standard, and if the aim is to inspire – this stitching certainly does. There’s also a good mix of  contemporary and more traditional styles represented. The contributors include Bec Groves, Karen Ruane, Rachel Doyle, Mary Corbet, and Eva Fulinova, and loads more. As well as loads of gorgeous pics of their work, there are also more detailed profiles of one designer per chapter.

Profile from Mastering the Art of Embroidery

Artist profile



My only quibble with this book is that, by trying to do so much, nothing can be covered in huge depth, so you would probably find yourself needing other books and reference materials to really gain mastery of a particular technique.

This book is probably an ideal purchase or gift for someone like me, with a little bit of sewing experience, but who is very keen to learn and find out more about a large variety of skills and techniques.

Cutwork from Mastering the Arty of Embroidery


Beading from Mastering the Art of Embroidery


Smocking and more from Mastering the Art of Embroidery



The publishers have very generously offered Very Berry readers a discount on this lovely book. To order Mastering the Art of Embroidery (ISBN: 9781906417956) for £24.00 including p&p* (RRP: £30.00), telephone 01903 828503 and quote offer code JS208. Or send a cheque made payable to: Littlehampton Book Services Mail Order Department, Littlehampton Book Services, PO Box 4264, Worthing, West Sussex BN13 3TG. Please quote the offer code JS208 and include your name and address details. *UK ONLY – Please add £2.50 if ordering from overseas.

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Mastering the Art of Embroidery by Sophie Long

  1. I’m so looking forward to learning embroidery! I just picked up two Doodle Stitching books from Amazon and am looking forward to getting out my floss and stitching. I’ve done cross stitch in the past, but never embroidery! This book looks great too – I’ll have to add it to my list!

  2. This book looks very interesting and inspiring thanks for reviewing it for us

    I finally managed to upload a picture to the Flickr group of my work in progress of my ATC

    Jackie x

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