Machine Embroidery Shadow Work Tutorial

On Friday we looked at shadow work, and some of the fantastic projects that you can create with this technique.  Today I want to take you through the actual technique of creating this beautiful technique.

Shadow work is a fabulous technique. It is quick to complete, and looks very elegant. When looking for designs to do in shadow work, select designs that have been specifically digitised for this technique. There are a couple of tricks that will assist you in achieving perfect embroidery.


  1. Hoop stabiliser into the embroidery hoop, and ensure tension is firm.
  2. Load up your shadow work design into the machine, and thread for the first colour (this should match the fabric that you are using, however if you have issues seeing the stitching through the fabric, you could use a contrast)
  3. Lay the Colourful base fabric on top of the stabiliser, and stitch out the first colour run. This colour will not only hold down the fabric, but will also show you where to trim away any excess fabric
  4. Remove the hoop from the machine, and with a pair of small, sharp scissors (I love my squissors with the curved tip for this), trim around the embroidery. Start by removing the centre pieces of each design, and then working your way to the outside.
  5. Once all of the trimming is complete, take your cotton voile fabric, and lay it on top of the embroidery hoop. Use the markings that you made on the voile to ensure that the centre line is matched up to the centre point on the top and bottom of the hoop, and pin into place around the corners of the hoop.
  6. Stitch out the second and any further colour runs, to attach the fabric to the shadow fabric, which will complete the embroidery.
  7. Turn the embroidery wrong way over, and remove any excess stabiliser.

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