Embroidered bed linen

Embroidery_1While sewing is my favourite pastime, I love all types of crafting. So when my friends were thinking about how to personalise some bed linen as a wedding present I jumped at the chance to try my hand at some embroidery. While I’ve done embroidery occasionally (my last project, my brother’s birthday shirt) I never tackled a big embroidery project. So this was the perfect opportunity. I knew I wanted to keep it relatively traditional, to give it a trousseau feel.

While brainstorming with a friend, we realised that the initials of the bride and groom (a C and a G) could be combined in a symbol of two intertwined wedding rings together with the family name and the date of the wedding. Around this symbol I wanted to cross-stitch a flower heart. After some searching on Pinterest I settled on a pattern of a heart of different coloured flowers, which I found here (this blog has a lot of gorgeous patterns). To stabilise the fabric, I ironed on some light weight interfacing to the back . I transferred the pattern to some millimetre paper and decided to just keep it on top and stitch through it. This worked well and was actually really fun. I loved seeing the colours come together. The only issue was that the oversized bed linen was a lot of fabric to handle. Also it was white and I was afraid to get it dirty. As the embroidery was at the open end of the duvet cover, it was easy to access and I decided to put the rest of the cover in a fabric tote to keep it clean and out of the way.  Once I was done I tied all the ends (the back looked pretty messy with all the different colours) and carefully removed the paper with some tweezers. This was quite tricky at times, because I had printed the millimetre grid on some normal printer paper, which was probably to thick for the purpose, but it worked out alright.

Embroidery_2Embroidery_3Embroidery_4Embroidery_5For the two pillow cases I went with the initials again in a simple cross-stitch pattern. I found one where the G and the C were both based on the same base shape. The whole alphabet is available here. I omitted the squiggles (is that actually a word?) and embroidered them the same way as I had the flower heart.

Embroidery_6Finally I moved on to the trickiest bit, the wedding ring logo. I wanted it to look neat, and clearly to read. This time I decided to transfer the shape with a washable trick marker directly onto the fabric. With a thinner blue embroidery thread and enough patience I filled in the shape. When I was done I erased the markings the best I could with some water. For some reason the blue colour always reappeared in a different place again. I could probably have avoided that by putting the linen in the wash but I really didn’t want to wash, dry and iron the thing.

Embroidery_7I love how it all turned out. I probably spent around 10 hours on it, but I didn’t mind doing it at all (finally a perfect excuse to binge-watch Velvet). I like how meditative the repetitiveness of embroidery is. And it sure does give a plain set of bed linen a lovely personal touch. I’m already scheming what I could embroider next. Maybe some bold florals on a summer top?



Tea House Dress

I am so excited to show you this one! Sometimes a pattern and a fabric just click and result in the perfect garment.

Tea Room Dress_01Apologies for the weird colours and facial expressions in these photos. The British weather for the last week decided to stay as grim as the mood around here after the EU referendum. Very weird times to be living in the UK right now. Nevertheless I wanted to get this blogged, something colourful and joyful. For some reason I had this vision of shooting this in a jungle (I seem to be too strongly influenced by the cool Australian bloggers out there). An actual jungle is quite hard to come by here in the UK, but just around the corner we have some green wilderness which had to do. I even had to wade through stinging nettles and thistles to get there, that’s how determined I was to get my jungle shot. I quite like how the pictures turned out. Not as exotic as a real jungle but still  a nice scenery.

Tea Room Dress_03

Tea Room Dress_02Let’s start with the fabric. When I first saw this nani IRO double gauze fabric from a few seasons back (available in another colourway here), I completely fell in love. The pattern and the colours just spoke to me. I don’t wear a lot of bold patterns though and was not exactly sure how it would fit in my wardrobe, so I didn’t buy it immediately. But it haunted me, and over Christmas, with a push from my mother, I finally decided to place an order for some Japanese fabrics from Miss Matatabi. With several weddings coming up, I knew I had the perfect occasions to wear this print.

I was super excited when the fabric arrived. It was as gorgeous as I hoped it to be. My original plan had been to make an Inari T-Dress from it, after seeing some lovely versions made from the same fabric. However, after an only mildly successful attempt at the Inari, I wanted to explore other options. One of the first things that I did when the fabric arrived, was to drape it over my dressform and I realised I needed to make something more drapey and feminine with it. I browsed Pinterest and looked through my pattern stash but nothing seemed to fit. I was already sketching some designs to develop my own pattern, when I saw the announcement for the Tea House Dress by Sew House Seven. Again I fell in love and knew immediately that it would be the perfect dress pattern for my nani IRO, which was still patiently sitting in my stash . So I immediately snatched the pattern up and got to work. The main challenge here was to squeeze the dress out of the fabric that I had. Even though I had bought 3 m of the fabric, the fabric width of only 106 cm meant that I barely could fit my pattern pieces on the fabric. I wanted to have a hem length somewhere between view B and E to have it at knee-length. I thus cut view B in size 6 for the top, grading out to  size 10 at the hips, using the hem length of size 20. It just about fit, leaving no room; however, for pattern matching. With the print being very irregular, this doesn’t really matter though.

I made version B with the sashes caught in the front facing. The construction was super straight forward and quick (I love dresses that don’t need fastenings!). The instructions are very thorough and clear and the pattern is drafted well to ensure a professional finish. The neckline is finished with a facing which I stitched down by hand to give it a clean look. The hem is just finished with a double fold.

The only thing that I would change construction-wise is to clip the neckline facing in more places next time before folding it in. The instructions tell you to clip at the V and once each side, which in my case resulted in a slightly distorted V-line.

In terms of design, the only change (other than lengthening the hem) was to even out the hem. The pattern pieces and the photos of the finished garment suggest that the front hem is supposed to be slightly shorter than the back hem. I decided to hem it all at the same length which meant shaving off some fabric at the back hem.

Tea Room Dress_04Tea Room Dress_05Tea Room Dress_06Tea Room Dress_07Tea Room Dress_08Overall I am very happy with the final garment. The fit of the top is spot-on. The neckline has a lovely shape and I love the sleeves (which give it a slightly Japanese vibe). Around the hips, I might add a little bit more ease next time. The double gauze gives the skirt some structure and makes it look more A-line than in the product photos, emphasised by the triangular front piece. In the belly area there is a little bit of fabric pooling, which makes me look slightly pregnant, but as I am planing to wear the tie in the front, it’s covered up anyway.

My favourite details of the dress are of course the pockets and the sashes. The pockets are huge and quite prominent as they stick out a little when the sash is tied. I do love them as a feature and they will come in particularly handy for the upcoming weddings. I always struggle to find a purse that goes well with my dresses and as much as I love clutches, they are not very practical. The sashes help to make the dress look very feminine and I love how the cinched-in waist gives the back some blouseiness, which looks rather cool.

Tea Room Dress_09You can see, I am really happy with this dress. Let the wedding season commence!Tea Room Dress_10