One of the best ways that you can personalize your embroidery and make it stand out among others is to add dimension to your technique. Dimension in embroidery brings your piece to life and adds style, personality, and a 3-D quality that is uniquely your own.
And contrary to what you may think, adding dimension does not require intricate and complicated stitching such as stumpwork or other techniques used in dimensional embroidery. If you can embroider, you can add dimension to your work with just a few simple techniques.
Use different thread weights. Using multiple weights of thread will give your embroidered piece dimension and depth that cannot be achieved with patterns using all the same thread weight. A heavier weight thread results in denser embroidery and shadows, where a lighter weight thread results in a light, delicate pattern. By blending these two together, you can add dimension without leaving your canvas. While it may sound simple, it can take a few tries to find the perfect harmony between your threads so that the embroidery will look natural.
Use different colors of thread to create shadow. Three-dimensional images have shadows, and one of the best ways that you can make your embroidery seem three dimensional is to embroider shadows into your design. You can do this by selecting darker shades of the color of thread that you are using and graduating the darker colors on your embroidery to create the effect of natural shadow. For lighter colors, you can use two to three darker, graduated colors; for darker colors, you can use up to five darker shades of graduation. Practice using these darker shades on your sampler until you achieve a natural looking shadow. It may take a few tries, but once you get the hang of it, you will acquire an eye for placing the shadows perfectly.
Use textured threads. Wool threads, pearl threads and silk threads all achieve a different result when used in embroidery. By combining several different textures into your embroidery, you can easily achieve a dimensional image. For example: light, airy threads would be ideal for delicate patterns such as flowers, whereas coarse, textured threads would be ideal for creating structures such as buildings and houses.
In addition to these simple ways to add dimension to your embroidery, you can also use different stitches to create different effects. By closely matching your stitching style to the type of image that you want to create for each aspect of your piece, you can add a great deal of texture and dimension.
Don't be afraid to incorporate several different types of stitching, threads and patterns to achieve the desired result. By using more variations, you will create an embroidered design that is uniquely your own and full of dimension. The best pieces trick the eye and give the viewer a little surprise of detail each time they see it.
By Rose Lenk
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