Dance Top Picks

Embroidery Blog

4 Secrets to Stitching Realistic Embroidery

Looking to create realistic embroidery? All you have to do is pay attention to some basic guidelines and you can be stitching embroidery that is so stunning, it will make you look twice.

1. Take a lesson from nature

My Grandpuppy

Photo via Craftsy member Just Pat

We are surrounded by beautiful subjects. Take lots of photos. They will be useful references.Craftsy member Just Pat used a medium-weight stabilizer and 40 wt. rayon thread to create this adorable embroidered pup. She traced out the design from a photo and filled in with stitches, which were all techniques she learned in the Craftsy class Free-Motion Machine Embroidery.

2. Pay special attention to shading

Moms flowers freehand machine embroidery

Photo via Craftsy member JMBlair

Craftsy member JMBlair makes great use of shading techniques in her floral piece Mom’s Flowers above.

My pumpkin

Photo via Craftsy member serna 

In nature, leaves are not just one shade of green, as Craftsy member serna successfully captured in her My Pumpkin piece above. Everything we see is made up of many color variations depending on the lighting, texture, and season, so shading is something to keep in mind when stitching realistic embroidery. 

3. Accent with ink

Spring Hare

Photo via Craftsy member Teddymaker

Shading can be further enhanced with the addition of pencils and inks. Craftsy member Teddymaker created this stunning Spring Hare using Inktense pencils on her fabric and accenting with a lot of thread, which were techniques she learned while enrolled in Thread Art.

Rainens horse

Photo via Craftsy member grannydo4me 

And Craftsy member grannydo4me used Prisma colored pencils and black marker to accent her beautiful horse portrait. She also used two variegated threads, which created seamless shading in her thread painting.

4. Make it your own

Little Bird

Photo via Craftsy member QuiltzbytheSea 

This Little Bird, created by Craftsy member QuiltzbytheSea while enrolled in the Craftsy Class Machine Embroidery, Hand-Stitched Looks, is so realistic it appears as though it could sing; it is really quite amazing to think it was essentially stitched with free-hand machine embroidery.

Embroidered bird wall hanging

Photo via Craftsy member serna

Here, Craftsy member serna took the project one step further and added a real branch to hang her Gift for a Friend wall hanging. Even the fringe looks like nesting material.

Princess Rosebud

Photo via Craftsy member patticole 

Thread Art student patticole embellished the background as well as the subject matter. She took a faint pink, tone-on-tone fabric that had had sentimental meaning, quilted the rose outlines, and highlighted them with colored pencil. The resulting portrait is exquisite.

Don’t be afraid to give realistic embroidery a try. Follow these tips, e patient, take your time and stop when it looks right!

Create your most marvelous embroidery pieces yet!

machine embroidery, hand-stitched looks

Create realistic embroidery and enjoy lifetime access to online video lessons from fiber artist Terry White.Enroll Now »


Vicki A. Jones

I love this type of sewing. I am going to start but I have to wait a couple weeks. I can hardly wait. Love it, Love it, Love it!!!!

Debbie Henry

Be sure to post photos for us Vicki!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Reply