Puffy Foam Embroidery

By Kathy Jones - Last updated: Thursday, June 12, 2008 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

puffy_foam_scarecrow Would you believe this adorable scarecrow is a simple appliqué design combined with puffy fill underneath the clothing? A combination of appliqué and puffy foam creates unique one-of-a-kind designs that you cannot achieve with just embroidery. The fabric choices rather than large embroidery fills allow you to embroider unusual and outstanding designs.

Puffy foam embroidery is created by satin stitching over thin, flexible foam. The machine needle penetrates the foam as the satin stitches cover and encase a precise shape. This raises the design, completely hiding the base fabric and making the embroidered areas stand out. The excess foam is gently torn away when the design is completed.

Embroidery or craft foam is available in several colours in 1.5 mm, 2 mm, 3 mm and 4 mm thicknesses and is made of ethylene vinyl acetate. This product is flammable and disintegrates when subjected to dry cleaning solvents but is machine washable and dryable, nontoxic and can withstand the heat of a medium-hot iron. Do not iron directly on the foam itself, but always with a protective cover over it.

While thick foam raises a design more than thin foam, it also increases thread and needle breakage and usually requires the use of 30-weight thread for proper coverage. Thicker foam also will stiffen the base fabric more than thin foam and requires the stability of heavy fabric, such as denim. 2 mm foam is the easiest to work with when using puffy foam with embroidery.

How to embroider with puffy foam

Where can you use puffy foam? Monograms are ideal designs for puffy foam. A combination of embossing and monograms is also a good project. Wall hangings, decorative quilts, garments, anywhere a design could be enhanced by adding a bit of puffy foam.

When embroidering on garments, because foam naturally adds stiffness to an embroidery design area, select the placement carefully, especially on garments. To prevent fabric distortion or stretch on medium weight fabrics apply lightweight fusible tricot interfacing to the reverse side of the fabric before embroidering.

If you wish more information on digitizing not only applique designs, but also digitizing for puffy foam, I do have a tutorial , Applique – a Story in Fabric and Stitches, including full instructions to digitize the adorable scarecrow shown at the beginning of this article as well as several other digitizing tutorials. Any or all of these tutorials will help you enhance your digitizing skills or help you along the road to learning how to digitize with Embird Studio.


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