Sunday, August 08, 2010

Dres Me Up: detail

I was asked about the detail stitching for the "Dress Me Up" hand embroidery.  I realized that I had rather glossed over the first dress in the previous post, so I am rectifying that situation now. :-)

The pattern provides full-sized drawings that must be transferred to the background fabric.  I used a regular pencil and a light box.  Since I'm only doing each dress once, this isn't too bad.  I'd hate to need to do multiples of the dress this way though!

For the outline stitching, one such stitch is a stem/outline stitch.  I've never been able to satisfactorily do this stitch ... the curves just do not come out nicely.  However, a while ago, I discovered the most WONDERFUL cheat!  (pirates loves cheats!): the whipped back-stitch!  Yes, you end up going over the same real estate twice, but for me, the awesome results are well worth it!  I'm doing both the back-stitch and whip stitch in 2 plies of black floss.

Do a standard back-stitch on the design line.  When you reach the end, bring your needle & thread back up to the face of the fabric.  Now, whip *each* back-stitch with the same thread, ending up back at the beginning.  You can re-thread with a tapestry needle (blunt tip) so that the whipping process is easier, but I'm too lazy to do that, so I'm just careful that I don't catch any of the back-stitch threads with my embroidery needle.  (As a variant, you can whip the back-stitch with a contrasting thread for a candy cane effect.)

The result looks like a beautiful and narrow cord.  Absolutely AWESOME.

Then, comes the dress details ... in the first dress, it's polka dots.  I did these with a variation of the padded satin stitch: outline each dot with a back-stitch and loosely fill the interior space with running stitches.  The running stitch provides the padding so when you do the final satin stitch over the back-stitches, the interior of the satin stitches don't collapse into the interior of the design.  I did the polka dots in 2 plies of purple floss.

Another detail is the French Knots at the base of the mannequin. They were done with 1 ply of purple floss.

I'm now working on dress 3.  (I had done dress 2 on a white tone-on-tone background fabric for comparison purposes.  Dress 2 has the most lovely detailed flowers, stitched in 2 colors of floss.  It took FOREVER to stitch them  and I just did NOT want to attack that dress again so soon .. so I'm doing dress 3 now.)  You can see that I'm working on the back-stitch of the dress/mannequin outline.  When I finish the back-stitching, I'll do the whip stitch.

The skirt for dress 3 poses a decision problem for me.  It may be a little difficult to see in the picture, but there are a lot of small lines on the skirt.  These are the leaves.  The flowers are a bunch of French knots (I didn't draw them on the fabric; I just know they are there) "inside" the leaves. 

My problem?  I can certainly do all the French knots for a flower cluster together.  But .. when it comes time to stitch the next flower cluster ... do  I tie off each cluster separately ... and have the tails possibly as a show through?  OR do I "drag" the thread from one cluster to the next ... and have that connecting thread possibly show through?

One solution I thought of was to not do French Knots at all, but use teeny-tiny seed beads, stitched on with polyester monofilament thread.  It would certainly be strong enough and not show through at all!

Do any of my Dear Readers have a suggestion for the French Knot conundrum?  :-)

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