Want a chenille finish but don’t have the right attachment? Dominic Bunce of embroidery digitiser David Sharp demonstrates how a combination of Burmilana thread and foam can be used instead

Chenille is something we are seeing more and more of in the UK. To produce a chenille patch, you need a specialist attachment for your embroidery machine, or an independent machine that works with chenille, plus a design suited to this fabric.

The chenille-style patch was created for the brand The Nineties

Working with Riyaz Omarji from Rialto Designs, David Sharp was asked to create a chenille-style patch, similar to the letterman jackets seen in the US, for the brand The Nineties. We have the equipment to produce these patches, but the design has long skinny letters that don’t lend themselves to the process, so we had to come up with an alternative.

We have developed a unique technique, using the woollen Madeira thread, Burmilana, with black Madeira Classic 40 for the border outline. By using Burmilana thread you can achieve a look similar to that of chenille thanks to the thread being approximately three times thicker than regular thread. It is important to change your needle, as the standard 75/11 needles are not usable with the thicker thread – we used 100/16 needles.

The beauty of this design is that it can be adjusted for use on regular, flat embroidery, or raised 3D embroidery, using Madeira Hard Bodybuilder foam. The 3D effect requires an adjustment of the stitch density for the satin border – from 0.4mm to 0.17mm – and the column width of the satin must be slightly wider – in this case, 4mm was used.

With Burmilana thread, no underlay is required, nor is any underlay used for the 3D satin stitches, which helps add to the raised look.

Flat embroidery using Burmilana thread for a chenille look

This technique uses the stipple stem stitch in Wilcom e4.5 software; together with the thicker thread, it not only produces an unusual finish, but also saves approximately 18,000 stitches compared to a standard tatami fill. It isn’t used very often in commercial embroidery, but lends itself particularly well to working with this thicker thread.

The flat version of the patch measured 248mm by 285mm, and had a stitch count of 62,167 with five trims, and a run time of around 70 minutes. The 3D version was the same size, had a stitch count of 83,839 and a run time of approximately 110 minutes.