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Fun and Fluffy Embroidery Stitch Tutorial

This is the perfect fluffy embroidery stitch you’ll definitely want to use in your next embroidery project. In this post, you’ll learn how to create a 3-dimensional, raised embroidery stitch using turkey work and felt padding.

Turkey work by itself creates a very fuzzy texture. Add some felt padding underneath, and it creates an even more 3-dimensional element that pops off the fabric.

Disclaimer: This post has some affiliate links in it. I receive a small commission from purchases at no additional cost to the buyer. I only recommend products I would use and love and that are of good quality. All opinions are my own!

flower using a fluffy embroidery stitch

This tutorial involves some stumpwork and thread painting techniques. I was inspired by the dandelion tote bag and maple moth projects in Megan Zaniewski’s new book, Stumpwork Embroidery and Thread Painting: Stitch 3-D Nature Motifs, to do a fluffy raised embroidery flower tutorial. Felt padding is a great way to easily add more dimension to your embroidery stitches, and it’s utilized in both of the projects pictured below.

dandelion and maple moth embroidery from Stumpwork Embroidery and Thread Painting by Megan Zaniewski
Dandelion Tote Bag and Rosy Maple Moth project from the book Stumpwork Embroidery And Thread Painting By Megan Zaniewski

I’ve had the pleasure of reading through Megan’s book and I invite you to learn more about it after the tutorial!

Fluffy Embroidery Stitch Tutorial

hand embroidery supplies

Supplies Needed

  • wool felt – it’s helpful to pick a color similar to the embroidery thread color you plan to use.
  • embroidery needle
  • cotton or linen fabric
  • embroidery scissors
  • embroidery hoop
  • water-soluble or heat erasable pen
  • DMC embroidery floss (453, 743, 3852, 3865)

Felt Padding

attaching the felt padding to the fabric

Cut out a small circle of felt and another circle that is slightly larger than the first.

To make the center of the flower even more prominent, we’ll be using both layers of felt. Grab the smaller circle to start.

  • Using 1 strand of thread, come up through the felt close to the edge of it.
  • Make a straight stitch across to the very edge of the circle. Work your way around the circle making these couching stitches until you’ve secured it completely to the fabric.
  • Grab the large piece of felt and place it over the one you just secured to the fabric.
  • Secure using the same method for securing the smaller circle.

Turkey Work

how to do the turkey work stitch
  • To make the turkey work stitch, go down through the fabric from the front, leaving a small tail.
  • Come up directly to the left of the stitch with needle and thread.
  • Go back down directly to the right of the stitch.
  • Come back up with needle and thread in the same spot as the first stitch you made. This will secure the tail so it won’t come out.
  • Skip a small amount of space and proceed to the next stitch, repeating the same steps.
finishing the center of the flower
  • Begin filling in along the outside edge of the felt using 2 strands of floss. Working from the outside inward will keep the stitches out of your way while working.
  • Work your way around in a spiral to fill in the entire circular shape. (I used a lighter shade of yellow along the outside and towards the center of the flower I switched to a darker shade of yellow.)
  • Cut the loops and trim the threads to the length you desire. Using smaller embroidery scissors for this part will allow you to have greater precision in shaping these stitches.

Thread Painting The Petals

thread painting the flower petals
  • Start from the center of the petal and make long and short stitches using a light shade of grey.
  • Begin stitching into the grey, overlapping long and short stitches of white to fill in the rest of each petal.

Stumpwork Embroidery And Thread Painting: Stitch 3-D Nature Motifs

stumpwork embroidery and thread painting book by Megan Zaniewski

If you enjoyed this tutorial, I know you’ll be interested to learn even more about stumpwork and thread painting embroidery techniques. Megan Zaniewski’s book is the perfect resource! Megan is well known in the embroidery community for her wonderfully creative embroidery art that pops off the fabric.

You’ll learn all about stumpwork embroidery and thread painting throughout the book. Stumpwork is a style of embroidery that uses a variety of embroidery techniques and raised stitches to create 3-dimensional embroidery. Thread painting is an embroidery technique that involves layering and stitching thread colors in a similar fashion to painting. Used together, you can create super interesting, lifelike embroidery art.

What I like about this book is that there are quite a few informative sections that teach you the fundamentals of embroidery art and design. Megan shares her process of choosing subjects and references, creating a pattern, and using the inspiration and subject to select materials that would work well for it. The book shares common color schemes that work well for embroidery art as well as fundamental embroidery stitches you should know. Another section shares how you can display your embroidery in a hoop, or frame, or set it into jewelry.

This book is lovely, straight to the point, and very easy to understand. It will provide you with so much inspiration and hours of stitching…you’ll have all the tools you need to successfully create the beautiful projects presented in the book. And if you want to, you can use the techniques you learn to create your very own stumpwork and thread painting designs.

Grab a copy today and get started stitching! The book is now available on Amazon. Follow along to see more of Megan’s work on Instagram @megembroiders

Giveaway is now CLOSED. I will be giving away 1 digital copy of Megan’s book. Scroll down to the bottom of this page and leave a comment with your favorite embroidery thread color to enter to win. I’ll be announcing the winner on Sunday, February 4th at noon EST!


Saturday 24th of February 2024

Did you end up using cotton or linen for this tutorial? What is the color of the fabric pictured I would like to use it as well. (Eg Kona peony)


Sunday 25th of February 2024

It's cotton fabric! It's actually an unbranded kind I found at the fabric store, but the color is sort of a blush pink.

Maria del Carm Colon Ortiz

Sunday 4th of February 2024

Love color 518 and other blues colors....


Sunday 4th of February 2024

Just one? I use DMC 4066 (subtle variegated greens) frequently as I stitch a lot of greenery.


Saturday 3rd of February 2024

I can’t wait to get my hands on Megan’s book so I can kick my embroidery up a notch! My favourite colour is any shade of blue.


Saturday 3rd of February 2024

Still hunting for that perfect, elusive shade of Karoo sky blue