3D embroidery appliqué

3D embroidery appliqué

3D embroidery consists in giving volume to the embroidery to create a three-dimensional effect.

3D embroidery can be done with thread embroidery, using tear-off foam or wadding and following few simple but precise digitizing techniques. Often, a final finishing is required to be done by hand, to remove any parts of foam getting out from the thread. Hence, technique and experience are essential for optimal result.

If you want to replace the thread embroidery with applications, with a laser bridge the work is done quickly and you can create truly unique processes in less time!

Steps to 3D appliqué

The work can be done into two steps:

  1. stitch and cut the material that will give the 3D effect, usually foam or wadding
  2. sew and cut of the material being applied. For this, you can range from synthetic fabric, to natural fabric, micro-fiber, leather or eco-leather (i.e. in automotive sector).

When you draw the design, take into account the thickness of the filling material and how flexible the application material will be.

Here are some examples of 3D appliqué cut with the GMI laserbridge system, made with wadding, minimal thickness, and with 3mm foam.

Practical tips

When drawing the designs, we recommend starting keeping fairly large margin between the sewing and the cutting. Always make some tests on the machine, then you will know if you can reduce the distance until you achieve the desired effect.

The thickness of the foam affects the distance between the cutting line of the foam and the cutting line of the appliqué material.

In the end, choose whether the cut of the application must be covered with column stitches or left unfinished.

To receive information on both 3D thread embroidery and 3D embroidery with laser applications, contact us.

Reverse appliqué

The reverse appliqué differs from the classic one which is sewn over the garment, because it appears from below the fabric or garment to be decorated.

With this technique you can get multiple effects and you can easily play with transparencies. You can create inlays of lace or of fabric of any texture.

How is the reverse embroidered appliqué created?

You have to think in the opposite way to the classic application, that is, first the application is fixed and cut and then the base garment / fabric is laid and cut.


Here is an example of a sequence of operations:

1- place the fabric that will appear in the inlay on the support material

2- sew the the inlay material (eg lace)

3- cut with the laser bridge

4- lay down the fabric or garment and make another boundary sew

5- cut the fabric inside the seam, taking care not to damage the underlying material.

You can apply this decorative technique to any fabric and leather material.

In the case of genuine leather or non-homogeneous materials, we advice to protect the underlying material. You can place a sheet of aluminum or aluminum coupled with paper, between the base material (negative application) and the overlying material to be cut.

For a cleaner tear, we recommend making on the protective state, a seam with a very short stitch and slightly larger than the cut that will be performed later.

After sewing and before laying the top fabric, the protective part outside the cut must be removed. After cutting the inlay, it will be very easy to remove the remaining protection, because it will have been “sawn” from the short embroidery stitches.

The technique is refined. It requires a minimum of care in finding the cutting parameters suitable for the materials to be cut.

GMI staff can give the necessary support to quickly obtain excellent results. Click here.

laser appliqué

Laser embroidery techniques: the clean edge

One of the most important advantages of the “laser bridge” cutting system installed on embroidery machines is that the laser works in register with the embroidery machine. That is, the design will reproduced exactly as it was created.

This means that it is not necessary to:

  • create stitches that act as reference for laying the appliqué
  • cover the edges of the application with N-stitches to “hide” the inaccuracy of the hand-made cut and the reference stitches.

In the jargon of Italian embroiderers, the fact of leaving the edges of the appliqué visible, ie not covered by another thread, saw the birth of the term “clean cut”.

Clean laser cut embroidery appliqué give more competitive advantages:

  • save cover embroidery stitches , the time of the designer to create them and the working time of the embroidery machine
  • create highly profitable designs, because applications with clean cut edges, with articulated shapes or composed of many small pieces, are carried out at an industrial level only with a laser bridge system

Using other techniques such as cutting the appliqués out of the embroidery machine and following sewing in the machine, the above benefits are not achieved.

How to get quality embroidery appliqué

However, appliqué with clean cut edges have a downside: for best results, the embroidery stitches that fix the appliqué must be equidistant from the cut edge. This is achieved both by carefully taking care of the creation of the embroidery + laser file, and by choosing quality machinery. In addition, the machines and the laser bridge must be constantly in register.

For this purpose, GMI has developed two systems to ensure optimal results:

  • LS1 automatic calibration systems, to be installed on embroidery machines
  • the Vision system for GMI Moda Laserbridge laser bridges. See this video.
  • Stilista 3 laser driver PLUS software that control the laser machine. With this software the operatore can move single cuts on single heads, to get top precise cuts.

Further, to get optimal results, it is very important to choose the parameters of cut suitable for the type of process and material. To simplify the choice of cutting parameters, we have implemented in the laser control software, Stilista3, the pre-set parameters specific for Kiss-cutting. Start from this, it will be of great help!

In the next gallery you can see works that combine embroidery with “clean” cut appliqué, even with overlapping appliqué.

Which materials?

If you are not bound in the use of specific materials, we recommend investing some of your time to reflect on the type of design you will create and the materials you will use.

Ask your self these questions:

  • does the application material let the light through?
  • is the application material homogeneous?

If the answer is yes to one or both questions, PROBABLY you will have to interpose a protective material, such as aluminium foil, between the base fabric and the application.

Why is protection needed in some cases? Because the laser beam is made of light which, at a certain concentration, heats the surface with which it comes into contact. If it encounters a homogeneous and resistant material, its energy is exhausted on that material. Otherwise, if it encounters less thick areas or areas with holes, its energy will affectt the underlying material.

Some materials, such as cotton and wool, are not suitable for “clean cutting” because the edges cannot weld, as is the case with fabrics containing synthetic fibers.

Nevertheless, even with materials composed of cotton fibers you can create interesting effects, without covering the edges. We will talk about it in the next article. In order not to lose it, subscribe to our newsletter.

GMI Academy: embroidery laser decoration

New section: techniques (and tricks) of laser embroidery decoration

Today we inaugurate a new section that will illustrate the laser embroidery decoration techniques. In particular, we will focus on those that can be made with a laser bridge cutting system installed on embroidery machines.

Our aim is to make an overview of possible processes that can be carried out with a GMI laser bridge system. We will give you ideas to create unique embroideries with great added value. We will reveal some small “tricks” to get optimal results and we will show photos of works made with the GMI Moda Laserbridge system.

We will talk about different laser embroidery decoration techniques, like:

  • embroidered appliqué,
  • laser cutting
  • laser etching
  • photographic engraving
  • bleaching
  • embossing/debossing effects
  • laser cutting of natural leather and much more.

Each month, we will publish a new article that will introduce a laser embroidery technique with related photos or videos.

Beyond the information you can read in our articles, any time our customers can ask for the support to our team of technicians and experts.

Don’t miss any of the articles in this section and other news, subscribe now to our newsletter.

Finally, we leave you with a small gallery of laser embroidery processes taken from our archives. Some are now 20 years old but still amaze many embroiderers.

embroidery laser

In this regard, we would like to thank the embroiderers who from the beginning believed in the vision of Arrigo Battiston. He is the owner of GMI and creator, in 2000, of the first laser bridge cutting system for embroidery machines.

Laser carpet embroidery stitch

Another way to tufting stitch: the laser

The tufting stitch, also called velvet stitch, turkish stitch or fluffy, is a particular work that allows you to make three-dimensional embroidery and soft to the touch, as if you were touching the velvet.

This is a highly sought after technique, also appreciated by high fashion brands, which can be made directly on fabric, denim, leather or even on patches.

The traditional technique

Typically, the tufting stitch is made with specialized embroidery machines. After each penetration of the needle, a noose is formed. A special tufting device cuts the threads at very high speeds, so that two free ends emerge. By cutting these rings, the thread protrudes from the support creating the effect of a shaved lawn. The thread can also be cut by hand with an electric razor.

This process requires experienced and careful operators.

GMI offers an innovative solution

As an alternative to the traditional technique, the threads cutting phase can be done by laser, with the GMI laser bridge mounted on the embroidery machine. The work will be faster, more precise and above all it will be possible to realize large embroideries with tufting stitches.

GMI provides all its experience to embroiderers courses on laser embroidery techniques.

For more information on the vekvet stitch technique and other laser embroidery techniques that can be achieved with a GMI laser system, contact us.

The advantages of production control for embroidery companies.

Production control is one of the main componentsto be taken into consideration when it comes to efficiency and optimization ofproduction times.

In today’s manufacturing companies, which have to contend with strong internal and external competition and with a market that requires quality and shorter delivery times, need to implement strategies to make production as efficient as possible. 

Not only the modern production lines, but also the older ones, suitably equipped with sensors, together with specially designed software, allow thiscontrol.

Why production control should be implemented in your factory?

Let’s see at the case of the embroidery companies and the solution studied by GMI.

The GMI Manager system (link on page 4.0) makes it possible:

  • the transmission of embroidery files via the company network to embroidery machines of any brand and model, with USB or serial port
  • the monitoring of production data for each individual embroidery machine and each order
  • the real-time status of the machines (running, not running, stopped with error, etc.)
  • the collection of production data, that can be used for costs control

At a glance, you can see the state of production (which machines are working, which are faulty and which are stopped without work). All the data collected by the system are displayed in dynamic and customizable graphs, which immediately reveal unexpected events or deviations of production with respect to programming, allowing an immediate reaction.

The production data can be accessed, through password access, from the productionmanager via the web from any device (PC, laptop, smarthpone, etc.).


  • Real-time control of the production
  • Control the correct functioning of the machines
  • Management of the orderd progress
  • Verification of the quantities produced
  • Control of product costs, with automatic generation of estimates based on historical data
  • Production planning

Read all the benefits here

All this translates into increased production efficiency and optimization of production times / costs.

GMI embroidery production control system is easy to implement, contact us for a free consultation: tel: 0438556299 – Contact us

Studio Auriga,Tajima dealer, is the new GMI partner

On November 4th 2015 GMI and Studio Auriga signed a distribution and collaboration agreement.

The staff of the Tajima distributor was formed for the sale, installation and service of GMI laser bridge systems, on the Italian territory. Moreover, GMI contributes to develop Aurilaser: laser device applicable to Tajima embroidery machines heads.

“We are proud to be working with a leading company in the embroidery industry, which believes in the potential of GMI laser technology applied to the world of industrial embroidery”, Arrigo Battiston, owner of GMI srl.