TheSecretCostumier - Embroidery book review
Ready & waiting

Sew hot, sew lazy…

    I did it again. After having so much fun during Me-Made-May, connecting with lovely bloggers and setting myself goals for the 10 days without any disruption, I kind of burned out. I wish I could say I’ve been in a beautiful sandy beach with no internet connection and no need to even think about making clothes, but I wasn’t. Sure I’ve been busy with work and seeing people, but I’ve also done my fair bit of lying in bed pinning for hours. One of my resolutions this year was to post content more consistently AND not to worry too much if I fail. So I’m trying to just take my time, chill out and try to figure out why I’m blogging in the first place and how to move forward.

    Until I get there, let me show you this little book I picked on a marvellous Saturday afternoon, from the bookstalls under Waterloo Bridge for a fiver. This is the kind of book  that you don’t even know you need, but you realize that you have to have it the moment you hold it in your hands.

   It’s called Design for Embroidery – The Fine Art Approach, and it is what it says on the tin, and then some. I have a soft spot for embroidery since my Grandma was a real talent when it came to the pretty famous Buzsaki embroidery, and I’m a sucker for the contemporary versions too, but the techniques displayed are not the main reason I like this book. I’m a lot more drawn to the design development demonstrated through the projects. (Click on the images to make them larger.)

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TheSecretCostumier - embroidery

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The book is divided into 3 sections:

  • Concepts (1.Shape, 2.Line, 3. Colour, 4.Texture, 5.Pattern, 6. Form),
  • Application (7.Large Scale Works from paintings 8. Large Scale Works from photographs),
  • Threads, Equipment and Techniques (9. Threads, 10. Equipment, 11.How to enlarge a design, 12. Finishing).

I think this approach could be applied to using any kind of inspiration and turning it into all kinds of different techniques and garments. There is a broad range of examples of inspiration, techniques and projects which makes me look at places for ideas where I wouldn’t have thought to look before.

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This wedding veil tutorial below, takes you from sketching the design, and cutting out the patterns to sewing it on the veil. I probably bought the book because even though it was written 16 years ago, I think this veil, and the most of the projects, still look pretty modern.

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Surely this guy’s hairstyle gives the era away, but I couldn’t resist showing you this patchwork waistcoat. I would probably make something more practical with this technique, but it’s a great idea and it’s really neatly done as well.

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TheSecretCostumier - embroidery9

    Is it just me and the unusually hot London summer, or do all of you tend to abandon ‘da machine’ for a chance to sit in a rooftop bar for hours to catch the last rays of the sun? Do you have any sewing related activities when the heat related procrastination kicks in and you just can’t be asked to make a mess?  (You guys are more than welcome to not help me justify my laziness, but it would really make those hours spent on Pinterest pretending to be creative much sweeter… ) 😉


Inspiration #3 – Embellished sneakers

   Well, hello again! Long time no posting… I was stressing myself with the idea of writing a post explaining my disappearance, but hey! It’s a new year, so I decided to save us all from a lengthy explanation, and just put something up that I’m working on.

   Especially because in spite of Life getting in the way of blogging, I still managed to start sewing a dress for my mum, tried out a different pattern cutting technique, made a really fancy skirt for my sister for a wedding, sew myself another velvet skirt, corrected some mistakes on my handmade winter coat, made a tailor’s ham, and began refashioning this pair of sneakers.

TheSecretCostumier - Inspiration #3 - Embellished sneakers

TheSecretCostumier - Inspiration #3 - Embellished sneakers    I bought them in Primark, and asked a former boyfriend to draw something on it, as he is a very good painter (in my humble opinion), and since I woke up listening to Sade’s ‘Moon and the Sky that morning, I very creatively asked him to draw just that. You know, the Moon and the sky!? Looking at the result, you must be questioning my ability to judge his drawing skills, but believe me, I was disappointed by his quick solution too… Fast forward about 2 years, and here I am: without the bf, with a huge interest developed in embroidery (see the evidence here), and one shoe already pimped up. So here are the ideas that I found inspiring AND doable.

Image sources from top, anti-clockwise: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

TheSecretCostumier - Inspiration #3 - Embellished sneakers

Take a peak of the almost finished shoe, resting on my lap as I am working on it. I will post a tutorial of the process soon, in case anyone’s interested! Now that I kind of established a method of doing it I am hoping to finish it by Spring. Just kidding. I’m not in a rush…