We will talk about tips for defining facial details in embroidery designs. Defining facial details uses the same principles as painting, coloring or applying make-up. Think about the foundation or base color, then the blush, highlighting and shading. The difference will be using embroidery threads. It may seem daunting to decide which colors of embroidery threads to use; however, we have some tips and thread suggestions to help.
First, we want to begin with the foundation or base. What is the main color of the face, hands, arms, etc.? If the main color is dark, then use light brown and beige colors for the blush, highlighting and shading. And maybe only use a highlighting color. If the main color is light, use pinks for the blush and highlighting and darker color for shading.
In this example above, the embroidery design is from the Quilt Nation Applique Set #1063 from Embroider Shoppe. The contour of the stitches from the digitizing is also another element of defining facial details. Owner, Zandra Shaw, shared this example in the April 15, 2021, Facebook Live with Eileen Roche. The thread colors and numbers indicated on the photo are from the Exquisite Skin Tone Thread Assortment also featured in the same Facebook Live with Eileen Roche. You can watch it here.
The Exquisite Skin Tone Thread Assortment features twelve 40 wt. embroidery threads in darks, mediums and lights perfect for blending and layering to create a realistic face. So, in the photo above, the base color is #501 Beige, a lighter base color. Therefore, pink is best for the blush, #306 Pueblo Pink, and the highlight color is #376 Petal Pink. The highlight color is the ears and neck area. The shade color is darker, #146 Sienna to give the contrast for the nose.
In these examples above, also from the Quilt Nation Applique Set #1063, the lady holding the pincushion features Exquisite #146 Sienna thread color for the base color and the lady with the flower in her hair features Exquisite #2518 French Beige for the base color. So, we can see the difference in the darker color face with the beige blush, highlight and shade colors, and the medium color face with pink for the blush.
In this example, again, also from the Quilt Nation Applique Set #1063, we can see a lighter embroidery thread for the base color with pinks for the blush, highlighting and shading.
Lastly, in following these tips and threads, you will have beautiful, defining stitched faces. Remember, it’s like applying make-up, coloring and painting., using four colors. Look for the well-digitized designs and experiment with those fabulous thread colors!