Fringing Around With Machine Embroidery

Making fringe using the embroidery machine opens up some unique three-dimensional opportunities for all kinds of projects from art quilts to embroidery on clothing. And it is so easy to do!

There are designs in every genre that incorporate this fringe technique. You will find everything from sophisticated flowers with fringed centers to adorable appliqué fringed animals.

Piece of Pink and Orange Embroidery with Fringe

Let me show you how easy it is to do machine embroidery with fringe, and I’ll give you a few links so you can start shopping for designs.

The basic structure of machine embroidery fringe is created with a very wide satin stitch of up to about 10 mm. The wide satin stitch is then anchored on one side with a narrower running stitch, satin stitch, or a fill. When the embroidery is complete, it is turned over to the back side of the stitching, and the bobbin stitches are clipped close to the anchor stitches, about 1/8″ from the anchor stitches. The remaining bobbin thread is removed by plucking it out with fingers or blunt tweezers. The embroidery is turned to the right side and the satin stitches are pulled to the top to create the fringe.

Note: You will find varying instructions for making fringe. Some suggest having the tension balanced top and bottom for the wide satin stitch,  and other instructions will tell you to leave the tension in the regular embroidery machine default. For the work shown below, I used the tension in the default. My preference is for a cutaway stabilizer, but if used carefully, a tear-away stabilizer would also work. I used a 40 wt polyester thread, but a nice 40 wt cotton or rayon thread would also work as well.

Below is a photo tutorial of the steps I used in creating a “flower” made as an appliqué circle that is fringed around the edge. I have added this as a FREE pattern on Craftsy so that you can try out this technique for yourself.

Fabric with Appliqué atop Embroidered Circle

Step 1:

Stitch the placement line for the appliqué circle.

Sewing Tool Fusing Appliqué and Fabric

Step 2:

Fuse the appliqué circle inside the placement line.

Machine Stitching Around Colorful Appliqué

Step 3:

Stitch the wide satin around the appliqué shape.

View of Back of Embroidered Fabric

Step 4:

Stitch the inner anchor stitches and turn to the back and clip the bobbin stitches.

Metal Object Pulling Stitches Loose from Piece of Embroidery

Step 5:

After bobbin stitches are removed, use a blunt object to pull the fringe to the top.

Finished Embroidered Piece with Fringe

Step 6:

Ready to be spritzed with water and fluffed.

You will see that the fringe has a slight crease in the edges where it was attached to the bobbin thread. You can spritz the fringed threads with water and fluff and it will remove that crease, and you will have a beautiful appliqué “flower.” Many projects use the fringe for the flower center. Some designs use fringe as animal “fur” while others use the fringe as accents such as water under a pirate ship or grass in a meadow.

Ready to begin? Explore some wonderful fringed projects from many different sites that sell machine embroidery:

To discover other unique techniques you can easily create with your embroidery machine, check out Craftsy’s online machine embroidery classes.

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One Response to “Fringing Around With Machine Embroidery”

    Thank you for the clear explanation. I’ve never bothered to try to find out how to do this because it looked like it would be way too complication. It is amazingly simple to achieve.