Monday, November 29, 2010

How to embroider puff designs or 3D Puff designs

Net Digitizing also offers you puffy foam designs.
We do get a lot of inquiries as to how to go about embroidering puffy foam. I have listed the answers and the method below.

What is puffy foam embroidery?
Puffy foam normally consists of a square piece of foam 2-3mm thick which, when embroidered over gives a puffed or a 3d look to your design.
How do I sew a puffy foam embroidery design?

In addition to stitch counts using puffy-foam being higher than those of regular designs, the procedure itself unfolds in a slightly different manner. Everything flat gets sewn first, the machine is then stopped while a piece of puffy foam similar in color to the applicable thread color is laid on top of the fabric, the machine is restarted and sews over the foam. A normal sharp-point needle perforates the foam while the thread loops over the top of it. The excess foam is removed when the design is complete. Each color of thread in the design element is handled the same way. The foam edges can subsequently be cleaned up using a heat gun in the trimming process.

Here is a step by step guide.
·        Get a design that has been digitized for puff not just any design works with puff. A puff design consists of specially digitized areas where you would want a raised effect.
·        When you are running this design, Sew out the design as usual till you come to the point where you want to “puff” your embroidery – We generally provide a layout guideline in running stitch for this
·        Stop the machine and lay the foam on top of the guide stitches
·        When you start the machine ideally the next part of the design should consist of tacking stitches which would sew and hold the foam down. These tacking stitches will generally also provide a fine outline around the puff foam area. This outline makes fine perforations in the foam to allow you to tear off the excess foam.
·        Now stop the machine and tear off the excess foam
·        Complete the rest of the embroidery

Tips from the experts
Use appropriate backing
Puffy Foam works best on designs that feature either a satin-stitch edge or underlay techniques that will perforate the foam prior to stitching the top layer. Not all machine and/or design cards are appropriate for Puffy Foam. These designs normally run well on stable fabrics like Caps , Bags etc however when running the designs on softer and stretchy fabrics please use a heavier backing of your choice. Do a test sample first.
Make sure you have a file that’s digitized for puffy foam
Some designs may just have a portion of them “puffed” Always refer to the design sheet for the foam placement.
 Generally designs can have a stitch guideline then a stop to place the puff, then a zig zag tack down on the puffy foam followed by a outline )  followed by  a stop again. (To enable you to tear the puffy foam)
Threads & Shreds
Try and match the thread & foam color as much as possible
When tearing away the foam pay attention to the corners
After the satin stitch if you see some shreds of foam sticking out you can melt them with the burst of a steam iron (Again test this first coz if you touch the iron to the foam you will have a right mess)
Any more areas that “peak” through the stitches can be tucked in with a pin or your fingernail.

You can download a few nice puffy foam designs from
Click on the free embroidery designs link and choose puffy foam designs category
Give me a shout if you need any help on this.
We use foam from "Madeira" 


  1. The digitizing technique for 3D Foam is in similar to digitizing for appliqué, as placement guide, tack and cover stitching are needed. The main difference is that the cover stitch is also used to cut the foam, and therefore is usually a high-density Satin stitch...

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