Tutorials

 
Embossed Embroidery
Embossed Embroidery

Embossed embroidery is a pretty neat thing. It is exactly what it sounds like... the embroidery (on the right kind of fabric) will leave some areas raised and puffy and some areas flattened down, for a really neat 3D effect. All you need are a few key ingredients to get it to stitch out, and the proper fabric, and it creates itself! Follow along and I’ll show you just how simple embossing towels, robes, and fluffy fleece can be...

To make your embossed embroidery, you’ll need:

  • A fabric with a nap or pile (basically, terrycloth or polar fleece). I picked a towel.

  • Cutaway stabilizer

  • Water-soluble stabilizer

  • Temporary spray adhesive

  • Awesome embossed design

  • Scissors

  • Tweezers (if you don’t have itty bitty fingers)

If you’re just looking for something simple to test out your technique, or something easy to emboss, I recommend towels. Embossing on towels will add a really cool embroidered effect, but still leave enough of the “nap” of the towel to make it useful as, well, a towel.

Polar fleece and a few other piled fabrics work well too. Some furry fabrics will work, but only if the fur isn’t too long.

One very important part of getting a nice embossed effect is thread color.

To really make your embossed design pop, you either want thread that’s just a little bit darker than light fabric, or a little bit lighter than dark fabric. Since I was embroidering on grey, I picked black. If I was embroidering on black terry cloth, I would have probably picked a light grey. If you don’t add enough contrast, it’ll be hard to see your design.


Cut a piece of cutaway stabilizer and coat it lightly with some spray adhesive. Lay your towel or terrycloth on top of it. This will help your design from shifting around.

Cut a piece of water-soluble stabilizer, and lay it on top of your fabric. Don’t skip the water soluble stabilizer part! It’s very important for keeping your terrycloth bits from flattening down and obscuring your stitches. You’ll get a much much cleaner result using this on top.

Hoop up everything together and load up your design.


Embroider away! Watch as your little skully appears by machine magic.

This is my skully all finished and pretty. Well, nearly pretty. We’ll get to that part...


Flip your design over and snip away the excess stabilizer, leaving a little bit around the edges.

Now begin tearing away your top layer of the water soluble stabilizer. You’ll find the large areas come off quite cleanly and easily...

...but smaller areas require a little bit more dexterous fingers. If you can’t get into some of those really tiny spaces, use a tweezers or small scissors to pry them out. Be careful not to tear up your terrycloth. Any little pieces left behind (especially under that fill) will dissolve when you throw it in the wash.

Embroiderer Diane has another suggestion for removing little bits of water-soluble stabilizer: spray the surface with water, wait a few seconds, then press a piece of white paper over it. When you remove the paper, the bits of stabilizer should come with it.


Your awesomely embossed towel! Give your bathroom towels a little embroidered touch, without sacrificing their usefulness as towels.

The “raised” effect is a really fun thing to play with on fabrics. Let that fuzzy skull really pop on your guest towels and bring new life to your bathroom ensemble. Embroider names or “His” and “Hers” underneath using the same technique and you have a wonderful gift set of hand towels for any occasion!

I think mine looks pretty awesome in my bathroom. When in doubt, go with a skulls and embroidery. I swear, people, you can never go wrong with that decor.



Get on an embossing kick with neat projects in all kinds of crafty media! Claudine Hellmuth shows how to create an embossing-like texture with sticky-back canvas and embossing powder; Weddingbee makes embossed cards using rubber stamps, embossing powder, and heat gun; and DIY Maven uses the ubiquitous rubber stamp to create an embossed texture on velvet.
 


Want a printer-friendly PDF of this page? You got it, bud.
Suggested designs for this tutorial: 
Embossed Skull_image
Embossed Skull $3.99 - $5.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 5.83"w x 7.17"h | 4.29"w x 5.31"h | 3.15"w x 3.86"h | Hand Embroidery