Monday, October 24, 2016

Shadow Work on Knits...yes, you can!

Shadow work embroidery has always traditionally been worked on sheer fabrics, such as organdy or batiste. You need a sheer fabric to allow the color of the floss to shadow thru the fabric, which is what gives this type of embroidery it's name.
Traditional shadow work embroidery created by hand
Being the "adventurous" person I am, I always like to explore different possibilities in sewing...taking that step outside of the box. That led me to create my shadow work machine embroidery designs many years ago! I believe I was one of the first that forged into taking what traditionally was created by hand and figuring out how it could be accomplished by machine. I have strived hard to make my designs unique and to keep my designs looking like the traditional method as much as possible. 
Shadow work embroidery created by machine stitched on batiste
As you can see in both those photos, the embroidery casts a shadow of color within the outline stitches. This is what makes shadow work embroidery so beautiful! When you purchase my machine shadow work designs, I include detailed instructions on exactly how my designs are stitched, as there is a method to creating the shadow.
My latest adventure outside of the box, has led me to test stitching my machine shadow work designs on knit fabric. Knits come in all sorts of weight - some are thicker than others, so there is a little trick involved to make it work! Below is a photo of my machine shadow work stitched onto fairly thin onesies.
Shadow work embroidery created by machine on onesies knit
The outline colors that you see on these machine shadow work designs from my Classic Peter Rabbit Shadow Work Collection were stitched using the same color on the "under-stitching" that you see on the top outline stitching. The thread color is cast thru the knit, creating the beautiful shadow work.
I have never worked traditional hand shadow work on knits and it's something that I doubt would even work, due to the thickness of the knit, as well as the stretchiness. My experiment with machine shadow work tho proved to be a success in which I am well pleased!
Shadow work embroidery created by machine on Pima knit
For thicker knits, such as Pima, you have to work a little differently to get the same effect. I did the under-stitching in a darker shade thread than I did the outline stitching. I also used the same color thread in the bobbin for the under stitching, which helped to give more color to the shadow portion of the design. For the outline stitching, I used a color that matched closely to the blue trim on the gown. I was very pleased with the end result!
Machine shadow work takes a fraction of the time to work by machine as opposed to creating by hand and it's a great alternative to those with busy lifestyles! It's also a sweet addition to using it on knits!
I also have another little tip for the inside of the garment. I don't like threads hanging loose or anything to be "scratchy" in any way for a baby's garment. I am a huge fan of using "german interfacing" in my sewing projects and it has come in very handy to use to fuse to the underside of embroidery to keep the back side of the embroidery soft and smooth next to a baby's delicate skin. This trick works well for kids and adults who don't like the feel of the underside of embroidery next to their skin! When using it on knits, make sure you cut the piece of german interfacing just a tad bigger than the design and in the shape of the design so that the knit can still somewhat stretch.
German Interfacing on inside over design
Southern Stitches has a large selection of all kinds of machine shadow work designs; baby designs, holiday designs, and even monograms! The rocking horse design shown will be available soon as part of a new collection coming soon!

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