3D Embroidery Brings Designs to Life!

Your embroidery will come alive when you stitch three-dimensional designs. Go full-throttle 3D with freestanding lace or applying freestanding applique techniques to organza. Both are surprisingly easy!

Your embroidery will come alive when you stitch three-dimensional designs. Go full-throttle 3D with freestanding lace or applying freestanding applique techniques to organza. Both are surprisingly easy!

Stitching 3D machine embroidery designs makes them jump off of the fabric. Usually, the dimensional part of the designs are stitched like a freestanding applique  on fabric-type water-soluble stabilizer, in a separate hooping before you start stitching the actual project.

Remember to use the same thread in the bobbin as that with which you are stitching the satin stitches. That way, the edges of your 3D embellishment are pretty.

After embroidery, the stabilizer is trimmed away and the remainder is removed with a wet cloth or stencil cutter.

When you get to a certain point in the project, you will be instructed where to place the pieces. Depending on the digitizer, dimensional embroidery may be attached to the project while in the hoop or may be added after the project is finished.


3D Butterfly Purse by Oma’s Place

An adorable little girl’s purse becomes so much more enchanting with a 3D butterfly on the front! Butterfly wings are created before the butterfly body stitches out. The body attaches wings to the bag before it gets turned right side out.


3D Easter Wreath and Basket by Ananda’s Divine Designs

How cute would this be hanging on your front door? There are dozens of options with this design since each piece is made in the hoop separately. Basket, bunny, eggs, chicks, and flowers are all  freestanding appliques.


3D Flowers Delight by Mar Lena Embroidery

Stitched similarly to the Poinsettia Tea Lights project, organza flowers add depth to the rippled embroidery underneath. Together, they make a stunning statement.


3D Iron On Flower 2 Neckline by Embroider Shoppe

Organza flowers make a gorgeous presentation here as well. These flowers were stitched, assembled, and embellished with beads before being fused to the garment using fusible web.


3D Pearly Daisy by Embroidered Necessity

Dimension can also be accomplished using layers of freestanding lace. The two flower layers are stitched separately, then layered and accented with the center embroidery which holds everything in place.


Stumpwork Mylar Fairies by Embroidery Weekly

This is perhaps my favorite of all of these samples. Not only are the skirt and wings added over the rest of the embroidery, the entire design sits on a scenic fabric panel, which adds even more depth to the project.

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Setting Your Christmas Table

You’ve got the tree and wreaths are hung. Don’t forget your table when you are decorating. We have the designs you need to make your holiday meals even  more festive!

Table Decorations by Mar Lena Embroidery

Stitch up beautiful 3D and fill stitches poinsettias for cutlery holders, door hangers, napkin rings, and table linens.

Christmas Bow Runner by Oh Sew New

Combine files to create elegant table cloths and table runners. Whether you make the runner or buy one already made, you can accent these designs with metallic thread for a bit of sparkle.

Poinsettia Table Runner by Embroider Shoppe

An easy, multi-hooping technique turns organza into gorgeous, shimmering poinsettias. Tack them together to make table runners, garlands, or use them to make a pretty pin or hair accent.

 Christmas Placemats by Allstitch

Mix and match these Christmas word art files for unique placemats that will impress your guests. Create the placemat or buy ready-made mats and add embroidery.

 FSL Christmas Napkin Rings by Ace Points

Little touches make a big difference. Choose from 14 different napkin rings stitched as freestanding lace. Just stitch and soak for a festive addition to your holiday table.

 Christmas Coasters by Oma’s Place

These Christmas coasters stitch up fast but look like you spent days on them. Piece, quilt, and embroider entirely in the hoop. The set of 4 comes with a holder that doubles as a hot pad for a great stocking stuffer or hostess gift.


Glowing Christmas Table Runner by Designs 4 Africa

Dress up a plain table cloth with this pretty table runner. Line quilting combines with holly motifs and elegant trapunto accents, making the stippled blocks pop on a monotone fabric.

 Cutwork for Christmas by Erinas Designs

Add gorgeous cutwork to table cloths, table runners, placemats, and napkins. If you can stitch applique, you can create heirloom cutwork very easily!

Stitch up something pretty for yourself, a friend, or hostess gift!

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Make a Sweet Treat: In the Hoop Pie

Are you ready to step out of the embroidery box? Our mystery project shows you how to make an in-the-hoop pie that will help you do just that!

If you are joining us for our mystery project, you have already done the prep work. Now it’s time to have some fun.

Start by printing three templates of the edited  Heirloom Floral Circles 09 by One by One Embroidery.

Iron fusible web on the back of the “crust” and “pie” fabrics. From the templates, cut two of the scalloped crust and one of the center circle pie. Also cut one crust shape from batting.

The first time around, I trimmed my applique pieces just a bit short. For the second, I trimmed right to the outside of the printed lines.

Hoop a layer of water-soluble fabric-type stabilizer. Normally, applique designs include a placement stitch and tack-down stitch. This design was not digitized as an applique so did not have either. That meant that I had to precut the applique shapes from the design templates.

Adding a basting stitch before embroidery helps to keep the shapes properly centered without a placement stitch. I also added centering crosshairs on the stabilizer.

Add a temporary adhesive to the back of the fusible web and position a crust piece on the stabilizer. Use the basting box and drawn crosshairs to help with positioning.

Add the pie center the same way.

Arrange the pre-made lattice work strips just as you would a real pie. Finger-press the adhesive strips in place. Because the round satin stitching is so thin in this design, I found it was easier to let the strips overlap the circle’s edges and trim off excess after stitching.

Add the batting on the back of the hooped stabilizer and the second crust fabric, right side out. Secure in place with temporary adhesive making sure the scallops align with the crust fabric on the front.

Stitch the circle satin stitches. Trim off the extra lattice work edges, then run the circle satin stitching again to help cover all edges.

Finish the scallop satin stitching. Remove everything from the hoop, trim excess stabilizer, and use a wet cloth to wipe the edges clean.

It is essential to have precise placement since the satin stitches on the above design are decorative and not as wide as most applique satin stitches.

For the original magazine project, I used an applique scallop that had an inner applique circle. That kind of design makes it much easier to create a pie such as this. The built-in placement and tack-down stitches create clean lines.

Look at designs differently – you never know what you could make!



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Applique: Fuse or Not Fuse?

If there is one technique that makes applique better, it is fusing the applique fabric to its base.

In my haste, I am guilty of skipping this essential step. Most of the time, adding fusible web to the back of applique fabric ensures a professional finish when pressed.

Light versions of fusible web work quite well without making the applique stiff. Brand names include Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 and Heat and Bond Light.

Lite Steam-A-Seam has an added benefit when machine embroidering. It is pressure sensitive and allows you to easily position and move applique pieces. Also, you don’t have to use temporary adhesives to hold them in place.

When You Should Fuse Applique Fabrics in Place

Clothing appliques, like the Denim Jacket project, benefit from being fused.

That helps the embroidery look crisp and new through wear and laundering.

In the Applique Towel project, a fusible web was not applied to the applique fabric before tacking it down.

That was because decorative stitching inside the applique helped to keep the fabric flat against the towel.

That’s not to say that you can’t fuse the applique if you like.

When Appliques Should Not Be Fused in Place

Cotton fabrics fuse the best, partly due to their substantial weave and partly because they can withstand high heat.

Do not fuse appliques made of fabrics like fleece. Had I fused the  Bunny Pull Toy Shirt, it would have melted the polyester fleece.

The Reading Pillow was another project that would not fuse well. Even though the base fabric was 100% cotton, the fox applique was made of fleece. High heat necessary with fusible web would more than likely melt the cute fox.

Do you fuse your appliques or not? If so, what fusible products do you use?



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Easy Embroidered Reading Pillow

Reading pillows are all the rage right now and they really are quite easy to make. They make perfect Christmas gifts, just follow this pattern and use an adorable applique design.

Cutting Pieces

I use a quality quilting cotton and cut pieces larger than needed. That way, I can cut them to size and be certain designs are perfectly centered. Add interfacing to fabrics so that they hold up to loving wear. Start by cutting one front 20″ x 20″.

For the pocket, cut a piece 20″ x 24″ and fold it in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Press on the fold.

Cut two back flaps 20″ x 21″ and fold them in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Press both on the fold.

Embroidering the Fox

I used the fox from the Large Farm Animals collection by Kreative Kiwi. He was stitched as a freestanding applique.

Hoop water-soluble fabric-type stabilizer and stitch the fox. I used anti-pill fleece for the fox body. Be sure to use an embroidery topper to keep the facial details from sinking into the fleece.

Add whatever text you like. A quick internet or Pinterest search will show many options for cute sayings. You can always add the recipient’s name or a monogram instead.

When embroidery is finished, remove excess stabilizer and wet edges to remove the rest. Tear away the topper.

When dry, position the fox so that it is centered closer to the top fold. Otherwise, the way the pillow sits, the bottom edge of the design will be hidden by the curve of the pillow.

I added fabric glue to the satin stitched edges on the back of the fox and applied it to the front pocket. I opened the folded pocket piece up so that glue would not go through both layers. Placing a book on top helps hold it in place while it dries over night.

Assembling the Pillow

I used a 16″ pillow so I cut my front down to 17″ x 17″ and cut the pocket and flaps to 17″ wide.

To sew the cover, place the front, right side up, on a table. Position the pocket over the front and line up bottom and side edges.

Place flaps over the front and pocket matching up raw edges. The folds will both be toward the middle of the pillow and will overlap.

Sew a quarter-inch seam the whole way around the outside of the pillow layers.

Turn the pillow cover right side out and insert the pillow.

Be prepared to make more because these are just so darn cute!

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