Free Project & Tutorial – Stumpwork

On Friday I went back in time and showed you one of my favourite techniques (but really, that is like asking which kid I like best – I love them all) – Stumpwork.

Feedback from many of you is that you have never had the opportunity to try this technique, so I would like to take the time to walk you through how to create this amazing 3d art, with your embroidery machine, and we are going to demonstrate with the special freebie that is available for another week – the Scotch Thistle (collect yours HERE)


  • Base Fabric – I have used a white homespun, however for a special look, you could easily use anything from a hessian to a silk
  • Organza
  • Embroidery Threads, I have used 2 shades of green, and 3 shades of mauve
  • 18 gauge flexible wire
  • Clear drying glue or fray stopper
  • Stabiliser – I use TearClean©
  • Sharp, Curved Tip Embroidery Snips for trimming embroidery
  • Acid Free Masking tape
  • Upholstery needle for inserting wire


  1. Hoop your fabric and TearClean stabiliser together in the hoop
  2. Load the Scotch Thistle Main Design onto your machine
  3. Stitch out the design in it’s entirety – don’t worry about the thistle stitching over and over itself, change the colours when required, and this will give the texture to the flower.
  4. Once the embroidery is complete, remove the design from the hoop, and press with a warm iron.
  5. Remove any of the excess stabiliser
  6. Once the excess stabiliser has been removed, take the fray stopper or glue, and run a small bead around the base of the flower that will be trimmed (this will keep all of the loops from coming apart)
  7. Once the fray stopper is dry, take your curved tip embroidery snips and from the back, cut at the TOP of the flower. Turn the design over, and gently “fluff” the flower/s up.
  8. You can now leave this base of the design, and begin the leaves.
  9. Hoop together organza and stabiliser (TearClean is fine for this, as all hint of the stabiliser will be removed before the project is complete.
  10. Stitch out the first colour of the embroidery (or according to your colour guide). When the machine tells you to change colours, it is really telling you to perform another action. For the sake of this design, the entire design will be completed in the one colour.
  11. In this particular design, the second colour is going to show us where to place the wire.
  12. Cut a piece of wire approximately 3 inches longer than the piece you are embroidering, and lay it over the guide given in the previous step. Stitch out the 3rd colour to tack down this wire. It is at this stage where you can also make any changes to the wire placement, so don’t worry too much about getting this right first time.
  13. Once your wire is in the correct position, stitch out the 4th colour, which is going to fully cover the wire.
  14. Finally, stitch the satin border around the leaf to complete.
  15. Remove the design from the hoop, and gently pull away all of the excess stabiliser.
  16. Using either a pair of sharp scissors, or a heat wand, trim around the leaf so that there is no organza showing.
  17. Use the Upholstery needle to create a hole to insert the wire into.
  18. Flip the design over to the back, and use the Acid Free Masking tape to tape the wire to the project.

You are now ready to frame your project. (I recommend a shadow box frame that will allow the 3d elements of this design to shine).

I hope you have all enjoyed this project, and I would love to see pictures as you complete.

Until next time, have a Stitchin’ Day. Julie.



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