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Crazy Quilting block

Technique Tuesday - 3D Designs

Kathryn Bost


Here at Anita, we pride ourselves on always trying to make embroidery as simple as possible, so anyone from brand new embroiders to seasoned pros can confidently dive in to any project they are interested in. Our In-The-Hoop system is a way we make embroidery projects a breeze since most of the construction takes place all in the hoop! How we've done this for three dimensional (3D) designs is by specially digitizing the files to include placement and tacking stitches you'll need to construct the elements with your machine. This removes guess work and unnecessary hand-sewing to save you time, materials, and frustrations!

How To make 3d pieces

Two hoop process

As shown above, designs that are 3D generally require two or more hoopings, while some collections, like Anita's Express 3D Butterflies and Dragonflies or Signature Series Volume 2 Butterflies, can be hand-tacked onto any collection! The individual elements will get stitched out first, on either Tear-Away or Wash-Away stabilizer. After, these parts will be tacked together in further hoopings. You will then place your freestanding elements onto your stitched design to create the finished piece!

3D elements are a major part of Anita Goodesign founder Stephen Wilson's studio artwork. He can often be found looming over large canvases, meticulously gluing hundreds of pieces by hand. He brings his personal love and fascination of 3D art to Anita with his Signature Series collections, which feature files for 3D butterflies, flowers, and birds.

"Clothing, quilts, table runners, Christmas ornaments, monograms—the list can go on forever, but they all have one thing in common: they are flat. That’s not to say you cannot create beautiful items this way, because you can—and most certainly have! But what about creating dimensional projects or embroidering on surfaces that are not fabric?" -Stephen Wilson

Stephen Wilson applying 3d elements

Think outside the box

Get creative and try adding pieces from 3D collections into others! Below is a combination of two collections: Secret Garden and Butterflies Special Edition. You can see how adding the 3D butterflies onto the quilt block brings the whole project to life!

Combination of quilt block and 3d butterflies

Looking for a 3D embroidery project?

Check out some of these collections below!