Creative articles about embroidery

Free embroidery design to create stump work lace leaves. By Carolyn Sinclair

leaf trials

One of the features that I liked when version 7 of Designer Plus arrived was the stump work feature which gave us the ability to add wire to our designs. I created these leaves for the second of two classes, which I taught my regular group, on the use of wire and embroidery software. I hope this encourages you to use the stump work feature in Version 7 of Designer Plus.

To accesses the zipped EXP fill for the above leaf click here leaf random line fill 3 colours

If you would like to try this leaf with out putting the wire in or with wire covered with stitch around the edge I have included a leaf with a continuous outline. click here leaf with continuous outline

The files are both EXP and zipped so to unzip them just right click on the file and select unzip. It was the only way I could put stitch files into the Blog!

The monthly class that I teach is very mixed with various versions of software, mostly Version 6 and 7 but I have one V5 lady!  She  is going to upgrade to V8 which will make life easier.

What makes it even more challenging is that some of the group have been coming regularly for nearly 8 years and are getting very expert now, but we regularly have complete beginners join us. Then there are of course peoples varying computer skills, computers that decide to upgrade at inconvenient moments, and as we all know our embroidery machines just decide to play us up sometimes!!! We laugh a lot!!!!

Stumpwork was included in Version 7 but as some of the group did not have this feature I taught everyone how to do it manually. If you would like to try this design I hope the pictures will help. It took many hours of experimenting before I got it right!


Watersoluble stabaliser

Embroidery thread; variegated is wonderful

24 gauge or .5mm coloured wire , this is a good source –  and they export

Scotch tape or sellotape

Small pointed scissors

Wire cutters

Small rounded pliers for bending the wire at the top of leaf.


Hoop the stabiliser. The outline stitches first

outline stitched

The lace fills stitch next. This the easy bit!

lace fill fully stitched

Cut a piece of wire approximately 20cms long and using small pieces of scotch tape attach as shown in photo following the placement line of the internal line on the right of the design as the leaf is stitched in the hoop

wire placed ready to sew

wire in place ready to sew

Using the foot pedal to control the stitching speed and fingers to gently hold the wire in place start stitching very slowly the satin stitch which will cover the wire.

sewing wire in place 1

Try to avoid stitching over the tape and remove the tape as you work. Small pointed scissors are also very useful for holding the wire in place.

sewing wire in place 2sewing wire in place 3








The machine will stop at the end of the first wire. Trim the wire with wire cutters as close as possible to the stitching.


trimming wire

If you want a stem, leave the wire at the base of the leaf.

Using the same process as for the first wire place the second wire along the placement line again holding place with small pieces of scotch tape. Stitch down.

second wire in place

Remove tape as you stitch and trim the wire when finished. I decided to just have one thickness of wire as the stem, so trimmed one of the wires at the base of the leaf. This also makes things easier when stitching down the outline wire.

second wire sewn in

The outline starts stitching at the base of the leaf to the right of the first wire line but you need to overlap the outline wire so I started this wire on the left of the leave base. Sorry forgot to photograph that, but looking at this photo shows were the outline finishes. Hope it helps!

As before with the scotch tape carefully manipulate the wire around the outline of the leaf and stick in place.

trim wire ends

Using fine pliers bend the wire around the top of the leaf and use plenty of scotch tape to hold in place.

point of leaf

Sew wire down removing tape and using fingers and scissor points to hold in place. At the base of the leaf I found that it sewed over the stem without a problem and over the overlapping wires as well.

Trim excess wire with pliers.

trim wire ends

Before removing finished leaf from hoop cut some of the stabiliser away as to ensure the continuous sewing of the lace part of the design I placed connecting lines of straight stitch between each area. These lines need to cut away before dissolving the stabiliser.

trimming threadsTrim any thread ends as well.

trimming water soluble

Wash away the stabiliser and the leaf is finished. I found it best to not leave the leaf in the water too long as that kept a bit of stiffness in the lace edges.

If you want to practice sewing wire down with a satin stitch before trying this design just set your machine to sewing mode, select satin stitch and practice. Because we can control our Bernina machines when in embroidery mode as well as sewing mode with the foot pedal it means that both hands are free to hold the wire in place.

If you have any problems or the explications are not clear post a comment and I will try to help.



Free embroidery design: lace leaves

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  • ramonawirth EditEditing comments on the BERNINA blog is only possible after logging in with a blog user account. Sign up now or create a user account if you do not have one yet.

    Dear Carolyn, This is wonderfull, and I love that you meet up with other creatives and teach them regularily!Thank you for providing us with a file. I was always curious about stomp work and wanted to try and see how it works, so now I am very eager to try!

  • Amy Cooper EditEditing comments on the BERNINA blog is only possible after logging in with a blog user account. Sign up now or create a user account if you do not have one yet.

    Hi Carolyn, I loved your work. Thanks for the step by step guide and resources provided. Here is another place where you could get quality machine embroidery designs. Hope you would love them.

  • jerry hawkins EditEditing comments on the BERNINA blog is only possible after logging in with a blog user account. Sign up now or create a user account if you do not have one yet.

    I am searching for Batman embroidery design. then I read your blog, Your stumpwork lacework is really nice. please Keeps updating blogs for embroidery design

  • eCommerce EditEditing comments on the BERNINA blog is only possible after logging in with a blog user account. Sign up now or create a user account if you do not have one yet.

    Dear Sirs,

    I write to you this email because nobody replies to my information request via your online form or via your twitter account.

    I am looking for the user manual of the Bernina 1630 (English or German would be ok).
    I don’t need it in paper print, a pdf sent to me by email would be perfect.

    It would be so much easier for users like us to have all manuals posted online in your website. Information like this would be very useful for your customer base.

    Thanks, regards,

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