Crafts-Hobbies Vivian | 27 Sep 2010 04:39 pm

The Secrets of Shadow Embroidery

Shadow embroidery is a technique that creates mysterious shadow effect on the stitched cloth. It is also known as a Whitework technique. Shadow embroidery is done on dress accessories, children抯 clothes, lingerie and household linens.

The procedure of making shadow embroidery may sound confusing for the first time, but actually it is extremely easy-to-make. The stitch is worked on sheer, transparent or firmly woven threads. For the ground fabric you may choose whatever you like: viole, batiste, fine linen or muslin, synthetic or sheer silk and so on. Ready made clothes can also be embroidered with the shadow effect stitches. There are few things you have to learn about shadow embroidery. Work double back stitch on the right side of the fabric.

On the reverse side of the cloth will be gradually formed a herringbone stitch. These herringbone stitches make for the shadow effect. Another thing is closeness of the stitches. If the stitches are close to one another, a deeper shadow is produced. If they are not so close together, a lacy effect appears on the right side. Tiny separate stitches follow the lace as an outline. Best for producing shadow effect are silk or cotton yarns. You can also use one ply of embroidery floss, and a number 7 or less crewel needle with a hoop. Colours can be stronger if you add extra plies to the fibers. Here are two examples of using shadow embroidery to create something beautiful.

1) How to embroider a flower using shadow stitches? Stems are made with fine back chain stitches on the right side of the fabric. To create the centre of the flower, around which the petals are, use French knot clusters on the right side. Petals and leaves should have an outline, filled up with shadow stitches. Use green for the colours of stems and leaves. Petals can have any colour. You can add white floss on the white canvas for some details and gain fantastic results. When choosing a design, use transfer patterns or make up something yours. Stitch on the wrong side of sheer material and examine the effects of shadow embroidery on the right side.

2) How can you make a small pillow or a cushion using shadow embroidery? To create a pillow you need the following materials: number 7 or finer crewel needle, two 9 inch squares of sheer fabric, plain muslin, embroidery hoop, embroidery floss, dressmaker抯 carbon paper or hot iron transfer pencil, one yard ruffled lace, matching thread, and small quantity of polyester fiberfill.

The design you want to embroider has to be transferred on the wrong side of the pillow top with the usage of hot iron transfer pencil. Then it is time to put fabric in the embroidery hoop. If, for example, you want to embroider a flower, follow the Number 1 suggestions, using French knot for the centre and shadow stitching for the petals. Close herringbone stitch is just perfect for making flowers. The ruffled lace should be stitched around the perimeter of pillow top. With a seam you should stitch together pillow top and bottom sides. Make sure you leave one side unseamed for the pillow filler to place inside. Trim the three sides and the corners. The muslin and polyester fiberfill can serve as fillers. Sachets of potpourri can also be put inside before seaming the fourth side of the pillow.

Before trying onto larger areas, practice shadow embroidery on smaller surfaces, such as pockets, belts, hats and so on. Be careful when using the iron for covering up minor creases on collars, belts and other smaller areas. It may ruin the shadow embroidery.

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