February 1, 2013

a dress for M (part 2)

our palette of silk thread
the muslin text piece hanging up to dry 
beginning the dress at last!

a detail of the shoulder
the finished product!
Back to the studio I went, with her chosen final design and thread palette, ready to start a test piece on muslin. It was an extra step, but I felt it was important to actually do a sample on muslin for her with a few different embroidery stitches and color options so she could see how the design would look before I began working on the actual dress.

For the test piece, I experimented with a few stitches - running, split, backstitch and a variation on the Florentine stitch (not the gobelin stitch, as I had originally written) - as well as a few different color compositions. At this point, I was working with the actual silk thread she had picked out from Purl Soho (the most beautiful yarn shop in the city). It was a 3-ply twisted silk thread made by Trebizond which comes in a stunning range of colors. Silk thread is generally colorfast (meaning the dye will not run when exposed to water) and lightfast (will not change color when exposed to light), which is most important when you want your work to last over time and when making something wearable that will need to be washed many times.

Still a bit nervous about making a wearable piece (my first!),  I hand-washed the test piece in a little Woolite and let it soak for a bit, then hung it up to dry in my bathroom (see image above). I had to be absolutely sure the dye wouldn't run, and luckily, it didn't! So I ironed the muslin and brought it to her for our second design meeting, where we discussed the various stitch options and color compositions. She loved how the test looked, choosing split stitch for all the line work and color option #1 (see part 1 of this post). Finally, all the decisions were made, materials were purchased, and it was time to make that first stitch onto her dress.

I was nervous to poke that first hole, but once I started working, I really enjoyed creating something specifically for someone,  with their style and personality in mind. By the time I was finished with the hand embroidery (the project took roughly 15 hours total), I couldn't wait to deliver the dress to her and see her reaction. The look on her face! She was thrilled. And I was so happy (and proud) that something I created had brought her such joy.

{Note: This is the second post about this project.  Missed the first one? Read it here.} 

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