Embroidery on clothes

A couple of links I came across this week with embroidery used in fun and interesting ways on garments. As you probably know by now: I love hand-embroidery on clothing for two reasons. First, it's a reminder that a living person's real hands made the garment. And second, when I pick up something I'd embroidered, I remember where I was, and what was going on around me during the time I stitched it. Like a few summers ago, when I made this blouse:



The embroidery is from the Cabbage Rose Fancy embroidery pattern set, and the blouse is a simple Róza (here's the Róza top & dress sewing pattern in my shop). The girls and I were staying at our summer house by Lake Balaton, and I remember the sunlight through the trees in the late afternoons when I sat down to stitch for a while. The girls and their cousins ran around in the garden, snacking on fruits we'd set out. Every time I look at this blouse I also think of a dear friend who stayed with us a lot that summer. Anyway, on to the links! Have you seen the first issue of Seamwork magazine, freshly launched by Colette Patterns? What an exciting new venture! The first issue comes with a lovely free snowflakes embroidery pattern (entirely appropriate for the chilly damp weather we're having around these parts), along with a tutorial to embroider the snowflakes along the hemline of a skirt or a dress like the Dahlia:




The patterns can be executed with very easy stitches like chain back stitch, stem stitch, or chain stitch. A great way to dip your toes into embroidery, without needing a lot of know-how to do it. Looks like the patterns would stitch up pretty fast too. It lends a festive seasonal touch to a simple LBD, and does so with elegance and a touch of folksy style. Speaking of folksy, what about this fascinating dress from the 1920s:




I found it at the Dreamstress, who called it "peasant chic" (I must steal that moniker). Today no one would consider the sleeves or waistline flattering, or for that matter practical in everyday life. But I love the color, the fabric, the pleating of the skirt, the neckline, the waist treatment, and (of course!) the embroidery. One more thing: notice how both dresses use only white thread for the embroidery? This works particularly well on clothing, turning a folkwear-inspired piece into something more versatile that you can pair more easily with other garments in your wardrobe. Using one color of thread on an entire design is also a good way to make embroidering a bit easier: you don't have to worry about choosing colors, or switching between threads quite so often. What do you think? Do you prefer colorful or monochrome embroidery?

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