Friday Flashback – Stumpwork – Free Download

Welcome back to another Friday Flashback, taking a great look at some of my classic collections.

This week I am focusing on the Stumpwork collection.


This collection began because my next door neighbour at the time (Rhonda), has an incredible talent for creating beautiful hand embroidery. I would sit there watching her work these gorgeous stumpwork designs, thinking I wish I could do that, whilst at the same time knowing that I never would spend that much time on hand work.

I have very strong memories of sitting at my desk in early 2006, looking at a couple of classic stumpwork designs, and thinking of how I could re-create this for machine embroidery enthusiasts.

I finally came up with a way to create this type of stitching (only to see 11 years later that the major software companies are now including this feature with their software). Firstly we had to stitch the basic, flat part of the design.  From there, we would create an outline of where to place the thin flexible wire, tack it down with an open zig zag, and once it was secure, finish off with a beautiful satin stitch to completely cover the wire.  I could only think of a couple of designs to do in this particular method, so I also decided to incorporate the “fluffy” designs into this collection.


The first couple of designs I created in this method were the 4 Australiana designs. I began with the gum leaves, and remember having a lot of trouble finding the correct colours for gum leaves.  It’s not until you really take a long look at a gum leaf that you see the detail of the colours involved in leaves, I had to find a thread colour that was comprised of a little blue, green, silver all together for the design to really work.

Once the base was completed, I went on to create each individual leaf for the 3d effect, working on a base of organza and tear away.


When it came to creating the gorgeous “fluffy” designs from the Banksia, Gum Flower, and Wattle, these designs involve a lot of stitching over and over, to give the fluffy effect. I changed the colours between layers to give extra dimension and colour.  To stop the threads from pulling out, you need to use a small amount of clear adhesive or fray stopper on the back of the design before cutting.  I then cut from the back of the design, and pulled the threads through to the front.

This was my first cover on Machine Embroidery Magazine. I carried that thing around for weeks, so thrilled at how the project had turned out.  My mother still has her copy of this issue that she shows to friends.


I have had these designs framed (you really need a shadow box frame) to do these justice, and have had them hanging in my home for the past 11 years. The Australiana designs really are my favourites from this collection, however next in the line of my favourites would be the scotch thistle design.  My friend Rita (who is Scottish), asked me to make this one for her, and she still has it framed in her bathroom after all these years.


You can download the free butterfly design from our freebie page, however as an extra treat, I am giving all of my newsletter readers the chance to download the Scotch Thistle Design as a freebie for the next week. You will find the Thistle Design HERE.

Thank you for taking this walk down memory lane with me.  Until next time, have a Stitchin’ Day.  Julie.

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