Hand embroidery is such a unique medium to work with because it naturally has some texture to it. But did you know that you can make embroidery even more 3-dimensional and textured with different stitches and techniques? Here are 10 different ways to create interesting embroidery textures.
Textured Embroidery Stitches
First, I wanted to go over some embroidery stitches that naturally add a lot of interest and dimension.
French Knots and Colonial Knots
Embroidery knots are great to fill in a shape or area with. You can vary the size of French knots depending on how many times you wrap the needle with the embroidery floss, so this can create different sizes and heights of knots.
The brick stitch is a variation of the back stitch. Rows of back stitches are staggered in a way that creates a brick-like appearance.
This stitch is such a fun stitch that adds an enormous amount of texture to embroidery. Check out this basket weave stitch tutorial to learn the stitch and how you can use it to embroider a basket.
The woven wheel stitch is great to embroider roses with. This stitch really pops off the fabric and looks 3-dimensional.
The chain stitch is generally a stitch you would use for lines, but if you use it to fill in an area, it adds a lot of texture. Check out this free lemon citrus pattern to see how to use it this way!
The turkey stitch is another stitch that looks like the texture of a rug or hair. The fun thing about this stitch is that you can leave it long for hair or trim the pile short to look like a rug or grass. The opportunities are endless with this stitch and it’s really fun to experiment with: take a look at this stitch tutorial to learn how to embroider a fluffy flower.
The top of the hat in the photo above uses the turkey stitch. And another example of the chain stitch can is seen in the sweater, which imitates the texture of knitting.
The woven picot stitch is great to use for flowers or anything that resembles a triangular shape. It is a woven stitch that is only attached on one side, so it actually lays on top of the fabric.
Embroidery Techniques To Add More Texture
Stitch direction can really make such a difference in the way your embroidery turns out. You can make stitches to emphasize a certain area or overlap them in a way that adds an interesting texture.
In this embroidery, the stitches are laid out in an overlapping and sporadic way that is obvious, but the portrait still appears to be defined and clear because of the colors that are used.
This embroidery uses lighter, contrasting colors on top of darker colors to accentuate the texture on the pineapple.
Learn Even More
Check out my online embroidery class that walks you through how to incorporate different embroidery stitches and stitch variations to look like a sweater.
I hope this post helped give you some inspiration and ideas on how to add more dimension and texture to your embroideries. These are just a few ideas, but there are so many more possibilities out there…you just have to get creative!
Amanda is a hand embroidery artist and teacher. With over 15 years of experience in the craft industry and embroidery, she owns and runs Crewel Ghoul, sharing tutorials and patterns to help inspire fellow crafters to get inspired and creative. In addition to running this website, she teaches on Skillshare and Youtube.