Black and White Impact

Black and White Impact

Getting Started

Before beginning your graphic presentation, read the tips to get started.

Pattern & Fabric Selection

  • High contrast embroidery calls for a solid base fabric and a pattern with uncluttered lines. Avoid fabrics that are busy or have high visual texture. Linen, silk noil or crepe are good choices. Be sure that the selected fabric has enough body to support the embroidery.
  • Fusible interfacing adds body to finer fabrics, extending fabric options. Test to be sure the interfacing doesn’t significantly alter the fabric hand or drape.
  • Select a pattern that invokes a slightly retro feel and keeps with the nature of the graphic embroidery. Look for garment areas to position the embroidery. Be sure to test-fit the pattern to avoid unpleasant placement surprises. Pin embroidery templates to the test-fit garment to audition placement.

Design Selection

  • Look for airy, decorative embroidery elements that can be combined to create a large accent area.
  • Avoid heavy filled-in motifs as they can become visually heavy when stitched in one thread color.
  • Use stitch-editing software to remove filled areas or portions of designs to create light and airy designs.
  • Decrease a design's density at the machine or in software by enlarging it, if needed, to improve compatibility between designs and fashion fabric. Use embroidery software to preview a design that has multiple colors as a monochromatic design. Test-stitch the designs on the selected fabric before embroidering on the project.

Tread Details

  • To avoid any bobbin thread peaking though the front, use the same thread in both needle and bobbin. If the garment area to be embroidered can be viewed from both the fabric right and wrong sides, balance the tension between the needle and bobbin thread.
  • In addition to creating a design arrangement along the front opening, look for additional areas to add details. Consider topstitching, beading or buttons to match the embroidery. Use contrasting topstitching sparingly to avoid the garment looking like it's "outlined." For best results when topstitching, be sure to use a fresh topstitching needle.

B and W Impact Image

Take a picture
of the embroidery
arrangement to help
you remember
the layout.


  • Wrap dress pattern (such as New Look 6674)
  • Fabric and notions according to pattern envelope, plus 1 ⁄2 yard of fabric for selfbinding instead of pre-packaged binding
  • Paper-release adhesive water-soluble stabilizer
  • Embroidery, bobbin and sewing thread
  • Removable marker
  • Edgestitch foot
  • Embroidery designs of your choice

Fabric & Embroidery Preparation

  • Cut out the pattern pieces from fashion fabric following the pattern layout.
  • Serge or otherwise finish the hem edge of all dress pieces and each wrap section edge that requires a hem. Press along the serged edge; press again to form a narrow finished hem and pin.
  • Print or stitch templates of the embroidery designs. Use the templates to audition placement and position along the dress overlap and front lower edge until satisfied with an arrangement.


  • Adhere water-soluble stabilizer to the dress overlap wrong side.
  • Use design templates to mark the embroidery location on the skirt. Hoop with the first design centered.
  • Embroider the design. Re-hoop as needed to complete the arrangement.
  • Remove the excess stabilizer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Allow the fabric to dry completely.
  • Press from the wrong side on a well padded surface to prevent flattening the embroidery.


  • Clean-finish the back seam allowances.
  • Construct the bodice following the pattern guidesheet. To substitute a selfbinding:
  • Cut 11 ⁄4"-wide bias strips. Serge or otherwise finish one bias long edge.
  • Right sides together, sew the binding raw edge to the dress raw edge. Press lightly to shape the bias around the curved edges.
  • Turn the bias to the garment wrong side. Press the finished edge under, and sew following the pattern guidesheet.
  • When the construction is complete, topstitch along the collar, arm and front openings with thread that matches the embroidery. For more definition, use a triple straight stitch. Use the guide on an edgestitch foot to keep the stitching line an even distance from the garment edge.
  • Press well from the wrong side.

Jennifer Gigas travels and teaches as an Education
Consultant for Bernina of America. Her work has
appeared in a variety of sewing and embroidery related

Designs: Bernina, Classic Swiss Designs Collection

Appeared in:

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This is certainly an elegant and classy sun dress! I like the idea of adding the well placed embroidery. And I just happen to have this wonderful design collection--it's well worth the price paid!


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