my crazy life

Archive for the tag “embroidery”


I’m sure by now it’s clear that I like to put at least a little bit of embroidery on everything that I make. You know, how in TV crime shows the villain always has a “signature”, that kind of thing I guess.

Well in any case, I’ve fallen in love with chain stitch embroidery. I’m total pants at a satin stitch and I haven’t the patience for most of the other stitches, so its either straight stitch/back stitch or chain stitch.

And now I’m trying to decide if I want to try tambour. It looks really amazing and seems easy, but I can’t seem to find any tambour needles/how to. Any suggestions?


Merida Update: Sept 28

I finished the embroidery on the sleeve cuffs for my Princess Merida costume. Technically speaking there isn’t any embroidery as far as I can tell from movie stills, but since it is on the underdress and will never be seen, I feel alright making it super pretty.

I cannot take credit for the embroidery designs, I found the border design from The Blackwork Embroidery Archives.

And the Monogram, I found at NeedlenThread.


For the underdress and gown, I will be using the same pattern as my previous medieval styled gowns.The biggest difference will be the sleeves, and I hope to have enough time to make period accurate medieval shoes, but we will see.

Steampunk Madness

Okay, so my computer is on the last leg of its pathetic life, so pictures and posts may be sparse for a bit. In any case, I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to get stuff done for a steampunk convention next month.

Here’s my list:
Finish embroidery on my fish corset
A jacket/coat for my friend
Corset and skirt for another friend
Steampunk nurses outfit with kilted skirt for me
Natural form skirt and shirtwaist for me as well

Not to mention all of the random things that keep adding up.
So I’ll post pictures once they’re done.


Glutton for punishment

So I finished a bright blue underbust corset with an orange fish embroidered on it:

The Original Fish: Mr. Gustav

And I’m thinking of adding more fish to the panels, just for more of an effect. Here’s the corset finished, although the lighting doesn’t really like the orange colour.

I’m thinking of doing the other fish in an art nouveau style, as that’s kind of what the first fish looks like.

These are just a couple sketches of possible fish. I’m thinking of putting them on the very back end panels and one on the opposite panel to the original fish.

Luckily, I’m going camping over Memorial day, which will give me plenty of time to get this finished.



The light at the end of the tunnel

Okay, so I finished the Hell Dress. For the most part. I’ve still got a bunch of embroidery to do on the wool surcoat, and I think I might take in the sides on the raspberry silk dress as it’s a bit roomier than I anticipated. (And now that I look at it again, the sleeves look rather baggy, I may take them in a bit as well.)  I’ll do a full post on it later, when the embroidery is done for sure.


Sideless Surcoat

So I’m working on a sideless surcoat yeah? I mentioned it in regards to silk facings.  In any case I’m using the blue wool I bought at the same time as that terrible plaid fabric of misfortune.

The dress sans facings, hemmings or trimmings. and one set of gores. . .

I’ve affectionately named this one the Hell Dress, simply because it makes my friends giggle and on account of it being referenced as the “Gates of Hell” by medieval priests. I’m planning on doing some kind of embroidery around the neckline and armholes, just to give it some kind of “prettiness factor”.

I know I'm not the best embroiderer in the world, but I was thinking with something simple, it shouldn't be too hard. I'm leaning toward the design in the middle.

Finished. Sort of…

So I finished the shirt.  Kind of… I really wanted to do the detailing on the collar as well, but there just wasn’t time and I got impatient.

The finished shirt

The original undershirt to this sweater had a whooole bunch of pintucks. But I’m not that ambitious and I kinda hate pintucks, so I left them off. Eventually I’ll come back and put the detailing on the collar too, but for now I’m happy with the way it is.

The finished sleeve cuffs.

I absolutely love the sleeves though. 🙂

In progress….

So, after a lot of experimentation with honeycomb smocking on this design, I decided that it would not be very affective for a cuff and collar on a shirt. Bummer. But I was determined to have a nice white shirt with red detailing, so I fell back on Plan B. I had a really nice sweater/jumper with a false white shirt underneath.

Kinda like this, but much cuter with a Mandarin collar and buttons.

I got it almost four years ago in a second hand store in Texas and has been my favorite shirt ever since. Because it was my favorite shirt, that left it to the perils of the washing machine and dryer more frequently than the rest of the shirts in my closet. As a result, the sleeves were starting to thin, and the white shirt parts were no longer white, but more of a blue-grey-ish color from the washing. So with a heavy heart, I cut it apart and am currently in the process of remaking this beloved shirt. As such I thought it a good opportunity to put red detailing on the sleeve cuffs and collar.

I love Blackwork embroidery. It’s timeless and simple while looking elegant and engaging. Since the smocking didn’t turn out, I turned to blackwork, or in this case scarletwork.

This is the pattern I chose from the Blackwork Embroidery Archives.

The sleee cuff. On the top you can see where I haven't removed the waste canvas yet.

I’ve managed to finish the sleeve cuffs and I was going to start the collar tonight, but I got a pleasant surprise in the mail. (Well not really a surprise since I ordered it, but it was nice to get it today.

18th Century Embroidery Techniques

I’m not an embroiderer. At all. But I will attempt my best at all of these techniques because I really really really really really really want to be able to embroider. So I shall practice till my fingers are covered with holes.

The very old steampunk outfit.

So, long backstory here, way back in May, my friend and I decided it would be fun to make steampunk inspired outfits for Halloween. As my friend does not sew (although she does possess a very nice Bernina machine I am jealous of) I offered to design and sew them.

In order to make everything easier, we picked a general pattern to base ours on. We picked Simplicity pattern 2172

Simplicity 2172

It’s not my favorite pattern in the world, it’s kind of plain, it has fitting issues, and honestly, it’s a costume. But it worked for what we were doing.  I used a red striped silk taffeta and due to budgetary restraints, brown poly-shantung for mine, and simple blue, black and jester print for my friend. So now that I’ve bored you with the details, on to the pictures.


First the petticoat I wrote about earlier.

The finished petticoat

Next the skirt. As you can see I pulled up the front section to show the petticoat and shortened the skirt to mid-calf ( which by the way meant shortening the pattern by about a foot. Yes I’m that short.)


And the rest of the ensemble. I changed the sleeves and made the overall coat shorter as well.

I wish I had photos of my friend’s dress, since I think it’s so much prettier than mine, but I’ll have to convince her to bring it back for a photoshoot sometime.

Overall, it’s not my favorite best dress ever, but I think it works

This isn’t my favorite picture of me wearing the dress, but I guess it will have to do.



A pretty pretty petticoat

So, my friend and I decided to make steampunk costumes for Halloween. Crazy I know, but I figured why not. Coincidentally, I finished both dresses way before I started this blog, but just a couple weeks ago I decided to make a very pretty petticoat for my dress.

The finished petticoat

I used  The Dreamstress’s drawstring petticoat tutorial  and her cord gathering tutorial which were wonderful AAAND, I was crazy enough to want an embroidered ruffle. . .

My flash is terrible, but the embroidery is soo pretty

The embroidery took me nearly two weeks and I only embroidered the front part because it was taking too long (also its historically accurate for petticoats to be made from super nice fabric and/or embroidered only in the front section to save on money).

But now it looks so nice, it was totally worth it.  What do you think?


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