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Brazilian Embroidery and Stumpwork

For some 3D embroidery, try adding Brazilian embroidery and stumpwork techniques to your crewel stitches. The dimensional effects literally take embroidery to the next level!

Brazilian Stitches

What makes this style unique is the dimensional flowers and the multiple layers of background foliage. Use the basic crewel embroidery stitches for Brazilian embroidery stems and background flowers.

For 3D flowers, add the following stitches:

Double Satin Stitch
Fill an area of with the satin stitch working horizontally, and then fill it again working vertically.
Pistil Stitch
Take a straight stitch and add a French knot at the tip.
Glorified Lazy Daisy
Do a bullion stitch to attach the petal loop.
Fancy Loop
Pierce the fabric with the needle going in and out where the loop should start and end. The needle should be coming out of the fabric at the same place as the thread from the previous stitch. Leave it there and use the thread to wrap around the needle as for a bullion stitch or cast on as if knitting. Carefully pull the needle through the wraps while holding them in place.
Support Structures
Wrap around a pencil or extra needles inserted as a cross shape. Secure the wrap by stitching it into place with a finer thread, and then remove the support.

For flower centers, try adding beads. They are an excellent accent for this type of embroidery.

Stumpwork Embroidery

This type of raised embroidery was popular in the late 17th century. It is raised like Brazilian embroidery, but there are more symbols for people and animals, with no focus on layers of foliage and perspective.

Embroidery stumpwork often has other materials incorporated, such as carved faces, mirrors, charms, chains, silk wrapped wires, tiny seashells, or even real bird feathers!

Tips about Threads and Colors

Brazilian threads are 100% rayon and very shiny. Some are smooth, and some have a kinky texture. It's best to use fine threads for the background and save the thicker, more brightly colored, and more textured flosses for the big flowers in the foreground.

  • Keep the lengths short to avoid knots as you stitch.
  • Try running the thread over a damp cloth before you use it.
  • Use a needle threader.

Dimensional effects can also be achieved through ribbon embroidery, if you want to try a different method.

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