Thursday, September 08, 2011

adventures in embroidery

So, remember how I was all inspired by pretty embroidered things a couple of weeks ago? And how I got these lovely threads at the haberdashery? Well, I've been busy with my needle and thread since then - mostly stitching in the fabric, although admittedly my stitches are sometime a bit over-enthusiastic and I've ended up stabbing myself in the finger/thumb more than once or twice. I should probably think about actually using one of my thimbles for the intended protective purpose instead of displaying them as decorative items (yet another piece of evidence that I am, in fact, an old lady inside)!

This is a picture of the denim dress that I decided to embellish, before I got started....

A perfectly lovely dress which I got as present last year but
I thought I'd quite like to jazz it up a bit. Before I started embroidering I removed the cap sleeves because as pretty as they are, they were restricting my arm movements. No help at all if I need to gesture wildly, so off they went.

I decided that seeing as this was my first proper foray into the world of decorative embroidery (having previously only ventured as far as the basic chain stitch), that I should keep it simple and go for a nice bold-yet-simple design. I saw a nice blouse on ebay with embroidery around the neck that I really liked. Sadly it got sold before I saved the photo. A swift searcharoo brings up this blouse which is the most similar thing I can find. What I liked were the blocks of stitched colour going all around the neck (the original one I saw only had one round of stitching instead of 4 but you can get the idea from this picture)...

This blouse is available to buy here . This photo is from the ebay shop of this seller.

A look inside my big book of embroidery knowledge tolds me that the stitch I wanted to learn for this technique is called Basic Satin Stitch. I had 10 different colours of thread which I laid out in advance, spacing out the yellows, reds and oranges and trying not to put clashy things next to each other and then I started embroidering around the neck, with stitches about a thumb-width wide in sections about an inch long. I could have probably marked out the area first with pen or tailers chalk to make the measurements a bit more accurate, but this worked well enough for a
few lazy evenings' work on the sofa. I went all around the neck like so....

It wasn't all plain sailing. I got a bit lacsidasical with where I was putting my needle whilst changing threads and instead of leaning over to the coffee table every time to stash it in my trusty pin cushion, I might have stuck it into the sofa cushion. I say might have because, sure enough, at some point along the way after I had stood up to do something and sat back down again, the pin was nowhere to be seen. I searched for a good fifteen minutes, under the sofa, on the floor nearby, amongst the cushions, on my clothes but it was, errrr, gone (hopefully for good. hopefully not to return when some unwitting person sits on the sofa one day. oops). Another lesson in using sewing things for their intended purposes. I had to go and buy another embroidery needle at that point. Having no spare time to wander to the haberdashery I bought these bizarre cheap needles from the junk shop round the corner instead (for only £1)...

I'll be prepared for all sail and sack sewing emergencies now!

I promptly snapped the first one I tried from the small packet at the top in half (how's that for extreme embroidery?) Finally, however, I found a suitable replacement - the carpet needle!! - and my lovely stitches continued to grow.

Once I had finished the neckline, I was pleased with my stitches but I decided that I wanted MORE EMBROIDERY JOY on the dress, so I also stitched (slightly thinner) panels onto the pockets...

And then even teenier tinier stitches onto a denim loop on the front of the dress

And here, without further ado is the finished and transformed dress!

(One slightly awkward pose and a close up of the stitchy goodness)

I'm really pleased with how it turned out and I'll definitely be embroidering something else in the future.I might replace the original buttons if I find some in matching colours but for now I'm going to enjoy wearing my lovely colourful one-of-a-kind dress with all the things red, orange, pink and mustardy yellow things in my wardrobe!


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