Having lost 60 pounds during my recovery, and now leaving our apartment to go places (to the Verizon store for a cell phone battery replacement Friday, a memorial service downtown Saturday, a Baltimore Symphony concert Sunday), I need a whole new wardrobe. In the spring I bought warm-weather clothing. Now I’m having fun choosing cold-weather clothing for the new me—115 pounds, size 6. I’ve already received a shipment from Marketplace India. Here I’ll show you one outfit I bought and what I’ve done with it. From the catalog:
The appliquéd petals had raw edges. Naturally, even when gently washed, the edges frayed. Maybe that’s the look the designer intended, or maybe she didn’t know that the fabric would fray.
It looked like this:
Ignore the colors. The true colors appear in the catalog copy. I just wanted to show you the frayed edges.
I decided to turn the edges under. You can see that the petals have already been stitched in place with running stitches. I wanted to get a hem at the edge of those stitches. The technique I planned to use is called needleturn appliqué. There’s a good tutorial on this technique here. As you can see in the tutorial, the pieces to be appliquéd are free and they have nice clear edges. I had loose threads around already attached pieces.
Needleturning simply did not work. I could not capture the threads and tuck them under with my needle. So I resorted to my embroidery scissors.
After painstakingly pushing a few threads underneath, I stitched them down with tiny invisible stitches. Since I couldn’t bring the needle UP through the frayed threads, I had to use stab, rather than sewing, stitch. After one or two stitches, it was back to the scissors.
I pushed a few more threads under with my scissors.
Bringing the needle up just outside the turned-under edge, I took a tiny stitch down through it. I was working with magnifying lenses.
It took 12 hours to hem all the raw edges in this manner. Here’s the result.
Now the motifs, the petals, really pop out. But I was unable to stop there. You see, I plan to wear this outfit to the Charlestown Gala. So I added beads to outline each petal.
At Flickr you can see the embellished top enlarged by clicking on this image.
And here’s a detail, slightly closer, so you can get a better look at the beaded outlines.
Although I didn’t keep track of the hours spent beading, I think it must have been around 12 hours, as well.
Now it’s back to shopping the Deva and Lands’ End catalogs.
More new clothes to come.