Needlepoint vs Embroidery: Difference and Comparison

Humans have always used embroidery to make things look beautiful. It is the art of decorating fabrics using needles and threads. It is believed to be originated in the Orient and the Middle East.

There are various types of embroideries famous for their making process and patterns. Needlepoint and embroidery are the types that are confused, and this is because needlepoint is misunderstood. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Needlepoint is a form of embroidery that involves sewing stitches onto a mesh canvas, while embroidery involves stitching designs onto fabrics using a needle and thread.
  2. Needlepoint stitches cover the entire canvas, while embroidery stitches create a design on a specific part of the fabric.
  3. Needlepoint creates decorative items such as pillows and wall hangings, while embroidery is used to embellish clothing, accessories, and home decor.

Needlepoint vs Embroidery

Needlepoint uses a canvas to create designs using stitches like a tent and cross stitch. Embroidery involves decorating fabric or other materials with a needle and thread, using running and satin stitches.

Needlepoint vs Embroidery

Fashion Quiz

Test your knowledge about topics related to fashion

1 / 10

What is a collection of images from a designer's upcoming collection called?

2 / 10

Wearing gym clothes has become everyday fashion and is referred to as what?

3 / 10

Which of these is not a type of accessory?

4 / 10

What type of denim is characterized by its stretchy, form-fitting material?

5 / 10

What is the lower edge of a garment called?

6 / 10

What type of clothing is considered sustainable?

7 / 10

Which of these is a type of scarf?

8 / 10

What clothing is characterized by its loose, comfortable fit and is typically made of cotton?

9 / 10

What type of outerwear is characterized by its fitted, waist-length design?

10 / 10

What type of clothing item is typically worn around the neck for warmth or as a fashion accessory?

Your score is


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonNeedlepointEmbroidery
What it refers to?The term needlepoint refers to a type of embroidery in which the embroidery is done on the surface of the square by square knitted fabric. Embroidery refers to the technique of decorating and designing fabrics using different kinds of threads, beads and other decorative materials. 
Method involvedIn the needlepoint technique, a pattern is printed or marked using pins on the fabric, then covered using wool or thread.  Embroidery involves printing the required design on the fabric, then stitching the lines and filling spaces according to the printed or desired design. 
Types of stitches usedThe most common type of stitch used in needlepoint embroidery is tent stitch using yarn or tapestry wool.Embroidery uses various stitches for design making, such as chain stitch, running stitch, blanket stitch, cross stitch, etc., and can be done using any thread.
Types of fabric used and mode of stitchingIn needlepoint embroidery, square-by-square knitted, the stiff fabric is used, such as canvas and plastic canvas, specially designed for needlepoint embroidery. Needlepoint embroidery can only be done by hand. Embroidery can be done on any fabric, including silk, cotton, satin, velvet, etc. Needlepoint embroidery is either done by hand or by machine.
Used in Needlepoint embroidery is mainly done on fabric but is also used in the creation of bags, carpets, wall hangings, rugs, furniture, etc.Embroidery is used to decorate fabrics, bags, cushion covers, etc.

What is Needlepoint?

Needlepoint is a kind of embroidery or canvas work done on the fabric’s surface. In this technique, a pattern is printed or marked using pins on the fabric, and then stitches are done on that design.

The first written appearance of the term needlepoint was made in 1869.

Needlepoint embroidery dates back thousands of years, during ancient Egyptian times when they used this embroidery to stitch their canvas tents using slant stitches.

One of the greatest discoverers of all time, Howard Carter, also found evidence of needlepoint embroidery in the caves of Pharaoh.

The current form of this embroidery became popular in 18th century America, it was taught to young women so they could stitch their clothes themselves.

Needlepoint is done only on fabrics with square-by-square knittings, such as canvas and specially designed plastic canvas. The most used stitches in needlepoint are tent stitches. 

Needlepoint embroidery is done only by hand to make things beautiful. It makes bags, carpets, rugs, furniture, wall hangings, etc.


What is Embroidery?

Embroidery is the art of decorating fabrics and other materials using threads and other decorative materials. A pattern is first printed on the fabric, then stitching on the design, and filled spaces when required. 

The earliest evidence of embroidery in China dates back to the 5th and 3rd centuries. Ancient Greek mythology credits the goddess Athena for the art of embroidery.

The current forms of embroidery developed during the reign of Mughal Emperor Akbar. 

Embroidery is done on different fabrics, such as silk, cotton, satin, etc. Embroidery uses various stitches such as cross stitch, running stitch, chain stitch, etc.

There are different types of embroidery; some are counted as thread embroidery, needlepoint, cutwork, whitework, Hardanger embroidery, etc. 

Embroidery can be done either by hand or by machine. The first embroidery machine was invented in 1832 by Josue Heilmann. It is done to decorate fabrics and bags. 


Main Differences Between Needlepoint and Embroidery 

  1. Needlepoint is a specific type of embroidery, whereas embroidery is a broader class of decorative techniques.
  2. Needlepoint is a type of embroidery done on the surface of a fabric, whereas embroidery is a technique for decorating fabrics. 
  3. The first in needlepoint embroidery is either printing the design on the fabric or marking the design through pins and then stitching over that design, whereas, in embroidery, the design is printed on the fabric. Then stitching is done on lines and filling spaces wherever required.
  4. In Needlepoint embroidery, one has to do the stitching only on the pre-designed pattern, whereas embroidery can be done freehand.
  5. Needlepoint is done on square-by-square knitted fabrics and specially designed plastic canvas, whereas embroidery can be done on any fabric, including cotton, silk, velvet, satin, etc. 
  6. Needlepoint uses yarn or tapestry wool, whereas embroidery can be done with thread and beads.
  7. Tent stitches are used in needlepoint embroidery, while various types are used in embroidery.
  8. Needlepoint embroidery can be done only by hand, whereas embroidery can be done by hand or machine. 
  9. Needlepoint embroidery is widely used in making rugs, mats, wall hangings, carpets, furniture, etc., whereas embroidery is done to decorate fabrics, bags, cushions and sometimes female mules.
Difference Between Needlepoint and Embroidery

Last Updated : 11 June, 2023

dot 1
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

12 thoughts on “Needlepoint vs Embroidery: Difference and Comparison”

  1. I wasn’t aware that needlepoint and embroidery have such extensive histories. This article brings light to little-known facts about these techniques.

  2. Avatar of Harley Harrison
    Harley Harrison

    The article effectively describes the differences between needlepoint and embroidery. The historical references make it more engaging to read.

  3. I disagree with the statement that needlepoint and embroidery are often confused. There seems to be a clear distinction between the two techniques.

  4. I found the comparison table particularly helpful in understanding the differences between needlepoint and embroidery. Great job breaking it down!

  5. I find it interesting that needlepoint embroidery is used in the creation of bags, carpets, and furniture. It adds a practical angle to the craft.

  6. This is a fascinating article! I had no idea there were so many historical references to needlepoint and embroidery. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    1. Avatar of Matthews Suzanne
      Matthews Suzanne

      I appreciate how well the article accurately explains the specific techniques used in needlepoint and embroidery. Very educational!

    2. Yes, I was particularly impressed by the historical background of needlepoint and embroidery. It adds a lot of value to the information.

  7. The detailed explanation helps in understanding the specific techniques and histories of needlepoint and embroidery. Fascinating content!

  8. The comprehensive explanation of needlepoint and embroidery in this article provides a great understanding of both techniques. Well done!

  9. I appreciate the depth and detail of the information provided about needlepoint and embroidery in this article. Very enriching content.

  10. This article provides a clear and precise explanation of the differences between needlepoint and embroidery techniques. Very informative and interesting!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want to save this article for later? Click the heart in the bottom right corner to save to your own articles box!