3D Embroidery

3D Embroidery |by Jessee Maloney|

Hello!!! Jessee here from an Art School Dropout‘s life, with a fun free embroidery download and the little story behind it.

I was approached a few months back by the team with an idea to make a traditional red & blue 3D embroidery with my own little twist. I of course said “YES! That sounds like fun!” before really thinking through how 3D drawings are made.

Before sitting down and actually doodling something, I researched, a lot. Lucky for me it was during the flu season, so I had a lot of time to look at examples, learn about angles, perspective and try and truly figure out the art of 3D linework all while stuck on my couch. There was way more to it than I ever imagined, and I may have become a bit frustrated with the math. This might not have been the right project for me.

Instead of giving up though, I decided to view this as an experiment, and that meant that I needed to do some tests. I ordered two sets of 3D glasses online, one was the cheap cardboard ones with blue and red lenses, and the second pair resembled Ray-Ban’s and had cyan and red lenses.

I drew up a few simple geometric drawings, scanned them in and started playing with them in Illustrator. I would switch back and forth between my prescription glasses and my 3D glasses to see my progress.

I really wish they made 3D reading glasses!! Please someone make that happen.

I also tested different line lengths and if solid shapes would work. In the end I found a 1mm line in true cyan and true red worked the best, and yielded a design that truly popped off the screen.

Now to decide on the actual design…

3D Embroidery

I of course went to my comfort zone since I had been out of it for so long. I have this thing about objects that say “Home Sweet Home”. I’m not entirely sure where this obsession comes from, but I just love making things that say that. I especially love making them in slightly unusual ways, like say a 3D embroidery!

I drew the letters and flourishes from scratch, kind of in a doodle like style, and cleaned it up in Illustrator. I wanted it to still look like something out of a sketchbook, so the edges are all a little wobbly still. To create the 3D look, I just duplicated the design, changed the color, opacity, moved it around, and messed with the angles slightly, all while wearing the glasses. It was truly trial and error. You won’t believe how many times I brought my laptop over to my husband and daughter to have them test it out too.

3D Embroidery

Once I was happy with my design, I imported the vector image (saved as a .svg file) in to the 6D Design Creator software. I chose the “Load a Vector Image…” option and continued from there. This ended up also being a trial and error situation because I noticed if I only stuck to the cyan and red colors, the 3D look was gone. I had to add in the third color that was created when the slightly translucent cyan and red overlapped. It was a greyish plum color. Once I factored that in, the picture “popped” once again.

3D Embroidery

From here I tested out what type of stitches to use, and I found a thin satin stitch looked best and allowed for that third color to properly be used. The only downfall to this was it created a lot of stitches and I couldn’t combine all of the color changes because of layering. Two things I really couldn’t get around, but if you look at the example photo, you’ll see that it is totally worth it.

3D Embroidery

As you can see, there is only three thread colors, but six thread changes. It’s all about the layering.

3D Embroidery

After reading all of this, I bet you can imagine how happy I was to stitch out my final “Home Sweet Home” piece! It was a long time coming for something so simple looking. I just sat there and watched it, I couldn’t help it.

3D Embroidery3D Embroidery

The second the embroidery was complete, I took it out of the hoop and taped it to the wall to test it out. I found that as long as I stand 3 feet away, the words totally pop off the fabric. The piece was just too big to stand closer.

3D Embroidery

Since I was happy with the results, I decided to assemble it in to a simple fabric banner with some added SF101 woven interfacing inside to help give it form.


There you have it! My completed Home Sweet Home banner in the traditional 3D look. I think I may make a little pocket to hold the 3D glasses next to it, so anyone who wants to see it “pop”, can!

I also figured I put in all this work to learn everything, so why not offer up the file as a free download? Sound good? It is a bit large, and it best suited for a 360mmx200mm hoop or bigger. If you do make one of these, please share the photos with us! They are fun to see and it helps encourage me to try new things more.

Download Embroidery File

Thank you for stopping by today, and I can’t wait to show you next months project. It’s another learning experience for me, and I really love sharing my process with you all.

JESSEE MALONEY Art School Dropout
I have spent almost my entire adult life as an indie business owner and maker, 12 years to be exact. Most of my time was spent dabbling in cast plastic jewelry, mix media accessories, 3D printing, laser cutting, embroidering and assembling vinyl pouches and much much more. It wasn’t until 2014 that I decided to jump in, head first, in to quilting. Now it’s pretty much all I do!

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  1. Pingback: The Sewing Party: Home Sweet Home 3D Embroidered Banner | an Art School Dropout's life

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