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shadow work technique


The shadow work technique is embroidered mainly on a transparent or semi-transparent fabric such as organdy or fine cotton veil.

You just have to embroider very tight Herringbone stitches on the back side of the fabric.

It may seem complicated at first, but in fact it’s very simple.


This project is embroidered on white organdy and DMC Color Variations  cotton 4045 and 4124, all with 2 threads.


You can download the pattern of this chrysanthemum HERE.


Unlike the traditional way of doing shadow work, after several personal achievements, I came to the conclusion that it is easier to work on the right side of the fabric as for any normal embroidery rather than on the opposite side.

So, you will find below the shadow work made in my own way …



I first copy the pattern on a water-soluble material, here Soluvlies 321 brand Vlieseline.

I then fixed it on my fabric (not under).

Starting at the tip of a petal on the right side, I embroidered very small back stitches alternately on one edge and then on the other of the pattern. In this way, on the back of the fabric, the thread passes from one side to the other and thus automatically forms a Herringbone stitch!

Here is the backside for a finished petal.

Here is the right side for some finished petals.

Here on the backside, the same group of petals completed.

After laying the embroidery under lukewarm water to remove the Soluvlies, you can see the finished work.

I embroidered the simple lines of the petals, the stem and the leaves with back stitch of the same size as the stitches that form the full petals.

And here is the reverse of the completed work.

We must be very careful to finish the threads very clean because with the transparency of the fabric every little detail is visible.

To finish the threads of the petals with herringbone stitch, it is absolutely necessary to pass them under the edge of the pattern, near the back stitches and absolutely not in the center of the surface, which would be visible on the right side.