Ongoing Projects – April 2015

There is so much going on in the studio right now, but I don’t feel like I have very much to show for it. Here are a few of the things keeping me busy.

For one, I’m working through a massive studio de-stashing.  I’m moving this summer into a smaller space, and I’m finally admitting I’m never going to turn some of this fabric into anything.  Luckily, some of it has already found new homes, and I can’t wait to see what people make.

More borders went up in the shop this month. I tried out my first promo code on FB, and sold all but one of the sample pockets in stock. I also finished a custom ordered fichu.  I think it turned out wonderfully, and really enjoyed the project.  It’s with Design #RR104, made with a hemmed edge instead of with scalloped cutwork.


I’m also learning a LOT about the new digitizing software I am using, and found a really helpful resource for one on one learning. I’m so excited about all the possibilities ahead once I pick up speed.  For now, I’m working on a button – yes, one single button from an 18th century suit in the collection at the Met.

To give you some insight about how this process works, here is a brief overview of what I am doing.  First, I have to pick a design, one with enough detail to replicate. Then I create vector artwork that can be imported into a digitizing program. Sometimes it takes a few edits back and forth to get things digitized.

Once I have a digital embroidery file, there is usually a lot of editing to bring it up to my standards, each edit followed by a test stitch out.  Once I’m happy with it, I send it out to my pattern testers to make sure it works on a wide variety of machines.  I strive to make the embroidery look as hand made as possible, but it always takes some compromises.

For example, check out these two stitch outs. The first one is my very first test after digitizing. It’s not horrible, but it has that flat, modern look I really dislike for a period design. The leaves are tiny little stitches instead of a few long stitches like in the original.  Also, the machine really did not like so many colors in the center of the rose, so it’s tight and you lose a lot of definition.




So I lengthened stitches, swapped colors around, combined a few areas, tested and retested, and came up with this sample. It’s still not perfect. Something is causing the fabric to scrunch, and I’m not sure if it’s machine tension or a wonky hoop. I need to work on defining the shape of the rose now that I took out some of the colors. I also think it might look better with the buds a single color so the threads lay in long, smooth lines, even if it means sacrificing some of the detail in the original.  There is only so much room on a 1″ button, after all. However, I am a lot happier with the little leaves in the wreath, and I like the border, so it’s not too far off.




The button is planned to be a freebie available to newsletter subscribers, so I’ll let you know when it is completed. If you’re already on the newsletter, I’ll send out a link to the download so you won’t miss out.  I also have a giveaway planned (more details soon!) so this is a great time to follow us on Facebook or share with friends you think might be interested in what I’m doing.

I have more projects in the works for this spring, including full items and not just borders.  The big ones are a Regency waistcoat, a seaside gown, and an 18th c. pocketbook. It all takes so much longer than I think it should, but the results always seem worth it to me in the end.

For fun in my downtime I’ve been working on some scrumptious mulberry linen that is going to be my first completely hand sewn outfit, hopefully finished in time for Costume College and then Williamsburg in October.  So far I have the petticoat constructed, minus a waistband, and am working on a flounce for the hem.  Then I’ll be making a matching jacket with ruffled/pleated trim.  I think the simple solid color should show off an embroidered apron and fichu nicely, so I guess I better put a set on the list for myself!



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