Shadow work for the Grace Font

Last year I created the Grace font which has proved very popular, with the option of dainty flowers, so I thought I should complete it by creating lower case letters and numbers so you have more choice when creating an embroidery with letters. Did you know that these pretty fonts stitch out as shadow work? Let me show you how easy it is!

The most important factor in whether any embroidery design can be given the shadow work treatment is whether or not the element which you will use for the “shadow” has an outline of stitches around it. If it does then it is suitable for this subtle look which is embroidered out on sheer fabric so the “shadow” shows underneath the fabric.

In the sample above I have taken my initials and arranged them in my embroidery software. I moved the flowers around so that they looked balanced. Then when I was happy with the result I colour sorted the edited design. I made sure that all the “shadow” work stitched out first. On first sorting the colours this did not happen automatically because I have overlapped the letters. It is important that you stitch this out on just your hooped stabiliser, before adding the sheer fabric.

From experience I have found that it is essential to make the colour of the thread underneath much darker than the result you are seeking. Your fabric will tone down the colour as you can see in these two photos. Pop the proposed spool of thread underneath your fabric to see how the colour will change. I stitched out the first colour, the base of the shadow work, on Sulky Soft n sheer stabiliser. After this colour has been embroidered the sheer fabric is laid over the top. It needs to be secured by either temporary adhesive spray, pins (well out of the way of the stitch area) and/or basting stitches.

Here you can see the beginning of the outline stitches.

The first flowers are now being stitched out.

When your embroidery is complete it is crucial to finish it off carefully. If you have used a cut away stabiliser you should use the correct scissors, like applique ones, to prevent spoiling the fabric.

Notice how I place the blunt rounded blade under the fabric, keeping the pointed edge above so it cannot cut the sheer fabric. Once the stabiliser is all trimmed away the embroidery can be pressed from the back.

If you don’t want to cut away the stabiliser then I thought you could opt for a wash away stabiliser, but that would not work as the stitches behind the fabric would fall apart. My stitch out was on cotton batiste using Sulky Rayon Mine gold 1025, Ecru 1082, Light avocado 1209 & Gentle rain 1824 using a Schmetz top stitch 80/12 needle. The Grace font lower case will be released today and includes number 0-9 and a question and exclamation mark. The set will be available at an introductory price of $16 for a week!

Happy hoopings from Hazel

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13 Responses to Shadow work for the Grace Font

  1. susan says:


  2. pixey says:

    This is so informative. I never thought of doing it that way. Of course I have never done shadow work either. So thank you so very much for showing us how you did this. I so appreciate this knowledge.

    • gracefulembroidery says:

      I have to confess that I learned how to do shadow work from Pamela Cox, when I went to visit her last year, so the credit must go to her. She has done similar work the ribbons in Floribunda’s Serenade. However the designs in the Pamela’s Joy cannot be given shadow work treatment as the ribbons do not have outlines around them, but the designs in Royal Heirloom do!

  3. Beautiful. I will have to give this a try.

  4. Great tutorial and learn’t something new today. Thank you for showing us the shadow work. On my bucket list to try. Beautiful work

  5. Monica Powell says:

    That is wonderful Hazel – I love shadow work and this is just so pretty – thank you for the information. This is just so beautiful and delicate. .

    • gracefulembroidery says:

      I was so delighted with the results I started to think about the next shadow work embroidery, but it will have to wait until the New Year. Digitising for Christmas now. Watch this space

  6. Mary Ann Wilson says:

    I love, love, love it!

  7. Dianne says:

    Goodness, Hazel, that is beautiful, and something I would not have thought of.
    Thank you for the tutorial!

  8. Sally-Ann says:

    wonderful Hazel, I endorse every word said above……love it!

  9. Carol Ann Todd says:

    Thank you for a great tutorial. It certainly seems easier than it looks.

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