Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Anatomy of a Silk Shaded Embroidery

Last spring, I traveled to San Francisco to complete my fourth and final module of the Certificated Course of the Royal School of Needlework. I had already done this module with poor results so when they offered to allow me the privilege of re-doing my silk shading, I jumped on it. I would like to report that I received the grade I was hoping for, but I didn't. All in all, I'm happy to be finished and ready to move on to the next adventure.

This course is held bi-yearly in San Francisco at the Forever Embroidery Studio. Each module, or area of study, lasts ten days. The stitching below represents my work from ten full days of stitching.

I chose this bluebell as the flower I would stitch.
Once the outlines are painted on and pick stitched in place, stitching can commence. Always work from background to foreground.


After tackling the small blue petals, I decided to change colors and work on the leaves.

Now I can really see the flower take shape. I'm beginning to see the light at the end.

This section was quite tricky as the order of the petals change slightly so stitching is a bit disorganized.

Very little room remaining with which to tie on and off. Looks like I'm going to finish today after all.

Last petal.

Finished design.

This is my method of keeping track of thread colors. After a while, they all look the same color.
Mounting is a critical step which can be quite daunting. I decided to record my corners because I can never remember how I did them.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Millefiori Part 2

I can't believe I remembered to photograph my work in progress. Usually, I'm so enthralled in the process, I totally forget. Here's how the project progressed:

Every project I create begins with a detailed sketch. Call it the "blueprint" if you will. Most often, the idea comes many months before the sewing begins, so documentation is critical to achieving my vision.

To create the bound buttonholes, small squares of the contrasting fabric were marked with the exact size of the buttonhole. The squares were placed onto the right side of the jacket, carefully aligning the tiny dots of the fabrics. Placing the buttonholes even a fraction off will be accentuated because of the dots in the fabric.

Once the squares are aligned and pinned in place, machine stitch around the rectangle of the buttonholes with 1.5mm stitch length, over-stitching it twice. Be precise.

Note the position of the collar as it sits around the neckline. Clips at intervals will prevent puckering once the lining is attached.

This photo illustrated the concept of the hidden placket. Once the buttons are attached and the laps in place, the placket will be hidden inside a pleat. Very cool, but a drafting nightmare.

I wanted to show the placket of the dress in this photo. At the last minute, I decided to eliminate the edge-stitching along the tucks. The pockets and belt are shown here prior to embroidery.

This is the ensemble just prior to embellishments.
Notice the adorable cap sleeves with keyhole opening. This sleeve is outlined in mini piping and lined. A tiny bias binding finishes the sleeve. A .25" gap was purposely left on the sleeve to allow room for the embroidery.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Classic Children's Sewing at La Broderie Bayou Retreat

I've been neglecting my blog for the past six months, but not neglecting my work. It's time to play catch up and the best way to begin is where we left off.

La Broderie Bayou, usually held in Avery Island, Louisiana was held last June in my New Orleans studio. It was a huge success! The project, usually a hand-sewn embroidery item, was modified to feature machine sewing and classic European-style children's wear. Techniques included bound buttonhole, hidden placket pleats, piping, and some hand embroidery techniques. The project is entitled "Millifiori" and it features a dress and matching jacket in sizes 2-3-4-5-6-8.

Although I didn't take many photos of my participants, I did manage to snap a few of the completed project and some step-by-steps, which will be featured in another post.

The flowers were made using a custom die for my Accuquilt die cutting machine.
The little pockets feature a contrasting band embellished with hand embroidered cast-on flowers (tutorial to follow).
This classically styled Empire waist dress features keyhole sleeves, edged in piping, knife pleats, detached belt and hand stitched running stitching along edges.
Close-up view of the sleeve clearly shows the peek-a-boo opening and hand embroidered flowers (tutorial to follow) with running stitches along the piped edges. The sleeve is banded with tiny bias binding.

The coat features felt flower applique on lapel and hand embroidered flowers on the pocket. This fabric is lined pique from Fabric Finders.

This detachable belt is embellished with wool flower appliques.

Classic children's sewing at its best!