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 contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you choose to purchase an item.

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!

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  1. OMG this tutorial is great, thank you!! I’m working on a wildflower sampler and this technique will be perfect for daisies. I’ve dabbled in stumpwork but Meg’s book is making me serious about producing a nice finished piece to frame.

    Vivid blue – like royal blue or ultramarine blue – is the colour I have the most of in my embroidery floss and perle cotton stash. Which is strange to me because my favourite colours are fuchsia and turquoise, but those vivid blue threads call to me. But it’s awesome that they pair well with my fuchsia and turquoise threads and fabrics 🙂

    Thank you for hosting this giveaway! I’m following you over on Instagram, I’m @two_silly_bulls

    1. Hi! That’s awesome, framing it is so fun and makes a total difference. I’d love to see how the sampler turns out! Also love ultramarine blue!

  2. Favourite embroidery colour has to be yellow (I’ll take all the shades!) it was my most used colour last year and adds a summery pop as well as an autumn glow!

  3. I absolutely love Megan’s work and your tutorial makes it look easy! My favourite thread colour is pretty much any green!!

  4. Such an adorable fluffy flower! Thank you for the kind review, Amanda. I’m so happy to have you on this virtual book tour! My favorite DMC color is 562. I love those sea glass greens!

  5. I don’t know if I could pick a favorite thread color… but I love any Pacific Northwest oceany colorn scheme. Teals and greys and blues.

    This was a great tutorial! I’m just starting to dip my toes into the world of embroidery but this post, and book, and seeing your work on insta provides awesome inspiration!

  6. I love this so much! This is going to be so fulfilling to learn!

    My favorite color is a hard question, I love all of them, but if I had to choose, a good mustardy yellow.

    Or no wait – maybe a luscious deep green? So hard to choose.

  7. What a wonderful tutorial! thank you!
    I arrived to your blog from Megan’s IG and I am so happy to having found you.
    My current favourite colour is DMC13, but next month… it will be another one :p

  8. I absolutely love meghan’s work, it’s incredible and inspiring, I’d love a Copy of her new book and to learn and practice her techniques, so that in the future I can start making my own from my wildlife photography. I will definitely be following your tutorial, absolutely love Turkey stitch, it’s the best stitch in my opinion lol and
    My favourite thread colour
    Has to be DMC’s metallic blue, I can’t wait to learn stumpwork and use it to make a replica Alder Leaf Beetle (Agelastica alni).
    Thankyou for the chance
    Rebecca from England x

    1. That’s amazing, Rebecca! It’s so cool that you’re incorporating two different art forms together. I know that will be beautiful!

  9. My favorite thread is weeks dye works and I love the evergreen green. Your work is amazing. Your stitching directions are clear. Thanks

  10. Thank you for the tutorial!
    It is so hard to think of a favourite thread colour. Lately I’ve fallen in love with deep purple and forest greens 🙂

  11. What a lovely tutorial! Perhaps my most used DMC color is 3852, dark straw. But, I love a bright green or electric blue, too!

  12. My current favorite thread colo is dmc 3687–I’ve been obsessed with corals lately. But that will probably change tomorrow–I love color

  13. I adore the fluffy flower, and I’m always thankful for tips on Turkey work!. The projects in this book look delightful. Oh, and my (current) favorite embroidery thread color is Appletons crewel wool in 755 rose pink. 😊

  14. What a fabulous idea. My flowers are going to be so much fun from now on. 3865 is such a versatile colour! Using Megan’s new book I could incorporate stump work and end up with some really fun flowers!

  15. Thank you for the tutorial! I’m trying to expand my knowledge of embroidery techniques and will definitely try the felt padding! 🙂
    My favorite color is probably light plum (DMC 3607), because it is a little pink, a little purple, a little plum, it all depends on how you use it 😄
    Sending love from Poland! ❤️🪡🧵

  16. So excited to try some of these techniques. My favorite colors to work with are deep, bold blues and jewel-like greens.

  17. Awesome tutorial and book review. I’m so wanting to learn stump work. This book looks like a great place to start learning!
    My favorite color this week is dmc 469. I could make some stump work leaves with that one!

  18. This is a wonderful tutorial on both thread painting and fluffy embroidery! I mean, who wouldn’t love fluffy embroidery? I could see using it for the tail of a bunny, too.

    I love many colors, but blues are my all time favorites. I just started working with variegated thread, and I’m excited to try DMC 4020, appropriatedly named Tropical Waters.

    Thank you for offering this give-away!


  19. Thank you for the tutorial, the result is lovely!
    I really like dark reds, burgundy and the like 🙂

  20. I’m new to embroidery so it can look very intimidating. Your tutorial really helps lock down the stitches and pattern of the flower. My favorite color thread would have to be yellow! There’s so many beautiful things that we don’t always notice that have yellow in them. Animals and Nature all have some kind of yellow tone. 🧡💛

  21. 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.

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

  23. 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)

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