Brazilian embroidery is another wonderful three dimensional embroidery style that can add even more artist flare to your designs. The technique gets its name from the rayon thread it uses, which was largely manufactured in Brazil.
With all that thread being made, there was nothing left to do but stitch and embroidery patterns began popping up all over the country. Floral designs were a favorite and popular stitches were given a new twist.
Be sure to watch the video at the end of the article.
Use the Correct Thread
If it isn't done in rayon, it isn't Brazilian embroidery. Rayon thread's sheen and smoothness are what gives the designs and colors used in this style of embroidery their vibrancy.
Rayon was developed as a low cost version to silk thread and, like silk, is finer in diameter. Using raised stitches was a natural solution to flat designs that this thread produced. Brazilian artwork literally jumps off the fabric and explodes with color from this easy dye thread.
Stitches to Use in Brazilian Embroidery
If you can knot it, you can use it in this technique. The Bullion stitch is the defining stitch used in Brazilian embroidery but any knot will do well. Knowing the couching and leaf stitches are also a must.
The Trick is in the Twist
Originally, the rayon thread that was used in Brazilian embroidery was made by twisting the fibers in a "Z" shape unlike other threads that are made with an "S" twist. This is not always the case now but it is important to know the difference.
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To get the fiber plies to lay correctly and to prevent untwisting the thread and creating a frazzled mess, you must wrap the thread around the needle in a counter clockwise direction.
If you notice that your threads appear to be unraveling, it is because of this mis-directed wrap. Breaking the clockwise wrap habit requires some concentration until you get a rhythm going.
Most rayon threads today are made with a "S" twist but if you see the "Z" twist noted on the package or see your threads coming apart, just change the direction of your wrap around the needle.
Use the Right Needle
For knotted stitches, especially ones used in Brazilian embroidery where many wraps can be taken, use a Milliners needle. These needles have a long straight shaft and don't widen at the eye. This makes them both easier to load a number of wraps as well as allow the needle to be pulled through fabric even with a volume of thread.
Free Brazilian Design Downloads
Don't miss out on the PDF downloads at Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery International Guild. They are small designs but are fabulous to add to any embroidery piece. Adding a little dimension to your work can make your treasurers come alive and make you feel like the true artist you are.