I am often handed stockings or blankets from people who want names or monograms stitched onto the high loft materials. The problem becomes, how do you make the embroidery stand out nice and clear without the fluff of the fabric curving over and around the embroidery? Managing the nap and textures appropriately make all the difference between something that is OK and something that is awesome! So how is it done? How can you prevent the nap of the fabric from interfering with your design once the topping solvy is removed from the fabric? Consider using creative underlay stitch patterns as a base for the embroidery design!
This method can look pretty complex, but they are actually a very simple element. Simply put, a it's an underlay stitch that extends past the edges of the complete design by a few millimeters. This underlay holds down the texture of the fabric so that you have a nice smooth surface to embroider on and so you do not end up with the nap of the fabric poking up between and around the design elements. To make it look unobtrusive, it is best to do the underlay stitching in the same color as the base fabric so that it does not draw attention away from your design work.
Let’s look at some of the different ways you can use this method:
1) Create a basic crosshatch fill as your underlay pattern. This is created using the complex fill tool set to a high density. You create your wireframe and then edit the properties to reduce the amount of stitching done within the wireframe which is what creates the effect. The properties for the fill behind the text Santa below is as follows:
a) The fill wireframe has a 20 point offset from the text.
b) Top Stitch density = 20 points and the trapunto box is checked.
c) Underlay = fill with a 20 point density and 0 border margin.
2) If you are wanting something more festive than a basic crosshatch, look into using a decorative fill for your pattern. To do this, you create a complex fill and then edit the stitch type to be a “Decorative.” In the properties, you can then select different decorative patterns and adjust the spacing until you achieve the design look you desire. Below you see a decorative fill with the pattern set to “Snowflake”
3) Create embossed designs with your patterns. You can create some fun monograms and designs on towels or other high loft fabrics by using a pattern to tap down the texture and leave the open spaces to form the design. Below is an example where the loops of the towel will stick up forming a heart in the center and around the border. It will be well defined due to the knockdown that surrounds it.
These are just a few of the ways you can implement this technique. Grab some towels and other high loft materials and do some experiments! Be sure to take notes and write down what looks best to you so that you have it to reference when that rush job comes around!
Have fun embroidering!