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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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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The Beauty of Machine Embroidered Cutwork

You may think cutwork is incredibly difficult. In the days before embroidery machines, it was. Now, cutwork is extremely easy to do and I will show you how it’s done!

You may have been intimidated by applique the first time you tried it. With todays machine embroidery designs, applique is really quite easy.

Cutwork is just as easy as applique, but in reverse. Instead of adding fabric, you cut it away.

This design from the Heirloom Cutwork 3 collection by Ace Points, combines standard machine embroidery with cutwork.

Start by hooping a water-soluble, fabric-type stabilizer. I embroidered this design on a hand towel and floated it in the hoop.

Just like with applique designs, cutwork designs stitch a type of placement line. This shows the area that needs to be cut away.

Carefully cut away the towel fabric inside the stitch lines. Try to not cut through the water-soluble stabilizer. If you do, don’t worry. Add a stabilizer patch.

Normally, when stitching on a towel, a topper would be used. This towel was very thin, like a flour sack towel, so it did not need a topper. I would also use matching threads in the bobbin so that the back would look pretty too. The back of this towel was white so I stayed with a white bobbin.

When done, the cutout area stitches right over the water-soluble stabilizer. Just wash or rinse, air dry, and press.

Cutwork designs make gorgeous projects that are super easy to stitch and the “wow factor” makes a big impression!

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Heirloom Embroidery With Linens

Old linens are wonderful palettes for machine embroidery. Just add an heirloom monogram and you have a work of art!

I am particularly fond of Damask linens. They are woven in layers to produce gorgeous sheen and pattern. The more they were used, the softer they are.

Delicate, open designs work really well on linens. Designs with heavy fill stitching would overwhelm the delicate heirlooms.

Redwork designs were common, but light designs like Rippled Garden Birds (above, left) and Rippled Flowers (right) by One By One Embroidery stitched up beautifully.

With pieces like this one, where the back will be seen, you can make the back pretty. Use the same colored thread in the bobbin as in the needle. Both sides will be beautiful.

Flea market frames add to the antique style of embroidered linens although this gold frame is modern and inexpensive. The monogram inside,  part of the Heirloom Alphabet by Artistic Designs, was stitched on a Damask napkin.

Just add a layer of batting between the linen and the frame back for a bit of dimension and it’s ready to hang.

For both of these pieces, water-soluble toppers were valuable during the embroidery process. They prevented the dimensional Damask linen from being snagged.

The topper also acts as a barrier. Not only does it protect the linen from embroidery needle and scissors snags, it makes it much easier to clip jump threads.

These designs could also be stitched all in one color for tone-on-tone effect if desired. That was common among traditional early heirloom stitchery.


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