The Avid Embroiderer Presents - Shadow Embroidery

After seeing an article about Shadow Embroidery (SE), I did some research to bring that style to you.

The first thing I found was that most of the YouTube articles on SE were about hand embroidery. It is a great look and easily achieved with handwork. I found the instructions for machine creation in an old Designs In Machine Embroidery magazine.

The details and instructions were lengthy but interesting.
  • Use a fine muslin, a lightly woven fabric like cotton organza or fine batiste.
  • The design will be displayed on the 'wrong side' of the fabric. Run the design on the 'back' of your project.
  • It is certainly made to go on just about anything that you would normally embroider upon.
  • It works best with a design that is mainly made by fill stitches (last months' emoji freebie is an example).
  • Be sure your bobbin tension is accurate, see below for the test stitching for your design format.
  • Small details do not do well in this configuration, however, if not eliminated/skipped from the design, it tends to have much more color showing in the design.

I have used a sheet of a linen fabric that does not have a back and front side. They are the same on both sides. I did some experiments when I found that small details did not give the result I am trying to achieve. I adjusted my tension but that did not change those details.

This design is from the group already on my machine. This would be the backside if the fabric had a differing front to back. I used two layers of Heat-Away because I was planning to tear it off when I was done.

Here it is with the stabilizer removed.

And here is the 'shadow' effect. 

This design is interesting because nearly all of the stitches are the fill type. But, as you see, the smaller areas, like the red on the wings, have more than their share of the top thread. I have observed that so many times in my designs, I guess that is normal. I think it is interesting.

One way I would use it would be to have a 'before' and 'after' type of designs. They would compliment each other but have a totally different feel. Additionally, I can see this as embroidery on a bridal gown where some designs are normal and some are the shadow effect.

I might even try for a design that is partly standard and partly in the shadows. I would place markings to identify positions, turn the fabric over, and turn the design fully left or right. That would make the project unique. Most people, including embroiderers who don't read my blog, would not know how the effect was created.

As noted above, here are the tests for checking your thread tension. (372B) (248B) (351B) (300B) (4.1KB) (1.1KB) (295B)

Due to circumstances beyond my control, there is no freebie this time. Sorry about that.  

Comments (2) - 1/15/2018 1:38:42 AM

What you are showing is not shadow embroidery.  The "shadow" means you can see a hint of the stitch pattern and color, done on the wrong side, on the right side of the fabric.   That's why you need a fine, light weight fabric that you can see through.   There's nothing like this in your example.

You are so correct.  The original method I found did mention that fact and I did forget that detail. Actually, the technique is done with hand embroidery on translucent fabric.  

Here is a URL that you can see the method done with hand embroidery.  

Pat, The Avid Embroiderer

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