I’ve been really hooked on the idea of embroidery as embellishment lately, and the swirling drops in graduated colours shown above (from a DIY kit) were the perfect match for me. I practised the crewel embroidery technique with the kit first as the lovely thick wooly threads included weren’t colour-fast, so they were hardly appropos for something to wear’n'wash!
I came across the vintage McCall’s pattern 6130 on Etsy a while back (it even comes with pattern pieces for the cute little bow and belt!) and I’m yet to come across a woven princess seamed blouse pattern I like the idea of more. After rather a LOT of fitting adjustments (I’m still in amazement at how tiny the waist was in ratio to the bust and hips, and how those side darts pointed up towards my chin initially instead of the bust point – fallout from the bullet-bra’s of yesteryear, no doubt) and making the bateau neckline slightly wider – I’m happy with the end result.
For the embroidery, I simply transferred a slightly curvier translation of the drops outline onto my fabric, embroidered then cut it out (After a lousy first attempt I realised you need the tension that comes from having your fabric secure all around the embroidery ring, rather than having an already cut piece in there, which yielded a pretty messy result).
I really love the the textural aspect of linen (making it perfect for embroidering) – but its proclivity for wrinkling and creasing has always kept me at bay. After reading about Marina’s gorgeous linen panel dress and how she underlined it to minimise this, I pulled out the silk organza and got busy. I chose the linen to match the ‘neutrals’ on my colour wheel – very cool because I’d never normally choose a fabric in this shade (although I can always be found swooning over earthy toned textural linens in fabric stores) and it makes a perfect backdrop for the red and pink droplets.
I even catch-stitched the seams down with silk thread, couture style, because I liked the inside pictures of Marina’s dress so much. I was more than a bit worried about fraying from normal wear so I also used some fray-check too. Mostly I was just too lazy to use the standard rayon seam binding treatment. The linen also had a really pretty striped selvedge which I kept for around the sleeves.
I really loved being able to veg on the couch with my beau at the end of a long work day (unfortunately for me all my work days are long at the moment), switch off mentally and slowly work through embroidering this. Especially as the weather has been SO dreary of late. It was definitely sewing for the soul.