Stumpwork Instructions


Loretta's Custom Stitchery

Stumpwork was first known as raised embroidery in England in the 16th century.  They it faded in popularity for a long time and when it was revived in the 19th century it became known as stumpwork.  It refers to many different techniques used to create a raised or dimensional effect to the embroidery.  Sometimes parts are padded under the stitching.  Other times parts are created separately and attached.  Most of my work is created separately and attached.  Here are the basic steps for that form of stumpwork.

I like to work on a stiffened fabric when I do design parts that will be cut out and attached, so I usually fuse two layers of lightweight fabric together with Wonder Under.  This makes the edges stable, and when cut they do not ravel.  I also like to use a fabric that closely matches the thread color I will be stitching with.  Then when finished and cut, the tiny raw edges will blend and hide better.  Often I will use lightweight China silk and paint it to match the thread color, but batiste also works well, and percale is acceptable.  This stiffened fabric does not need to be worked in a hoop unless you would like to. 

Trace your petal outlines on the fabric.  I often combine 2 or 3 petals together on a pattern.  The different pattern pieces need to be at least " apart to leave you room for cutting.  Then couch fine wire to the outline using small stitches that are about 1/8" apart.  Use sewing thread that matches the fabric for couching. 

The outer edge wire needs to be covered with button hole stitches that are closely spaced to completely hide with wire.  They may be short ones just over the wire, or they may be long ones coming from the center vein line as shown.  If the fabric is pretty, you may choose to leave the center part exposed, and if you want to shade the colors as you see in the stargazer lily, work the buttonhole stitches like long short satin stitches and fill in the center with long short stitches in the different colors. 

The final step is to cut the petal or part from the background fabric.  Use sharp embroidery scissors and cut as close to the row of buttonhole stitches as possible without clipping any threads.  You now have a petal or group of petals or leaves ready to attach to the background fabric.  Grouped petals are sewn on at the center where they meet.  Single petals or leaves are attached by poking the wire extensions through the fabric and sewing them in place on the back.  Add stamens and shape all the petals to finish the flower. 

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