Leaf Shapes for Embroidery – Adding Dimension

Today I would like to teach you how padded shapes can be used to add a subtle dimension (or an air of luxury) to an otherwise ordinary design.


On page 80 of my Ribbon Embroidery and Stumpwork book, the Arum Lily leaf was padded with one layer of felt.

RES Embroidered.psd

How to make padded leaf shapes




Trace the shape of a leaf (similar to the leaves below) onto tracing paper.

2 Leaf shapes

1 Trace leaf shapes

Pin or staple the tracing paper onto a felt block (green or white felt is good) and cut along the edge of the leaf.

Secure the felt shape onto your design with tiny stab stitches along the edge of the felt.

3 Cover the felt shape

Use one or two strands of green silk or cotton thread and satin stitch to cover the felt as follows:

– Start at the tip of the leaf and make a detached chain stitch (lazy daisy stitch) to form a neat tip.

3A  Cover the felt shapeDetached chain

– Then proceed with satin stitch packing the stitches close together to cover the felt.


3 Cover the felt shapeSatinstitch

Hint: Angle the needle towards the leaf when you insert it to the back of your work.  Tuck in the felt as you stitch. This will help to form a neat edge.

Refer to the picture above as a guide.


 Add a central vein with the same colour thread (two strands) and use split stitch working through all the layers.


4 Add the central veinSplit stitch

Make the stem in detached buttonhole stitch. Use two strands of the same green thread.

5 The Arum flower

Detached buttonhole or blanket stitch

1. Make a long straight stitch to form the stem.

2. Come up at either end of the stem and cover the stitch with blanket/buttonhole stitch, working under and over the thread. Do not take the needle to the back of your work until the thread is covered.


Next time I will show you how to make the Arum Lily.

 5 The Arum flower

Enjoy the rest of your day…. it’s nearly weekend! It is 30 degrees Celsius here today, so I am sending everybody in the cold parts of the world the hottest African sunshine to warm you up.


Till next time

Happy stitching



5 thoughts on “Leaf Shapes for Embroidery – Adding Dimension”

  1. Thank you so much for the lesson! The felt adds such a nice dimension to the picture. I have not embroidered in many years, but I found your web site when looking into it again, and I am totally enchanted and inspired by your work. As soon as I can, I am getting your book as I want so much to make lovely works even a tiny bit as beautiful as yours!

  2. Hi Di, thank you so much for the lesson- I can’t wait to start my new project!



  3. Thank you so much for this tutorial. You make it look so easy! Your work is beautiful! Thank you for sharing!

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