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Entries in embroidery (2)


My first waistcoat

I know I haven't been posting whole lot for a while. I've still been making stuff, just not being ever so good at getting around to photos. 

This is a waistcoat I made some point last Winter. 


It's a Burda Style pattern for a 'Steampunk' waistcoat. It was a muslin really, made to check the fit and the sizing and test for difficult bits etc. The outer material is a reasonably stiff, almost linen-like material that I got given by a friend who was having a clear out, and I have a horrible feeling I may now match her curtains! Still, the advice I've seen is to make a muslin from material you might actually wear, on the off-chance that it all works out well, and this one pretty much has.

I lined it with the end of the numbers fabric that I used to make this shirt from.


I didn't have enough fabric left to make sure it all ended up the right way up, but I really like having that fabric there where only I can see it. This is both the first tailored thing I've made, and the first lined piece of clothing I've made. And the first time I've used interfacing, to get the collar to stand up properly. I'm quite pleased that the lining went pretty well. The bit I'm not entirely happy with is the join at the bottom - I ended up doing that by hand because I wasn't really sure how to do it. Maybe next time. 

Because the back was a bit plain and I wanted to, I added some decoration with embroidery.


I've kept it pretty simple - it's just circles, and I've varied the embroidery stitch. Three different colours, I ended up not loving the teal-on-teal effect as much as I thought I would, so more navy and yellow. I could probably have carried on for a while further, but I wanted to get the bottom sewn up and needed to finish the embroidery before I could. 


So that just left the buttons. There are 12 buttons on this top, so they matter. I was tempted to go for big buttons, but when I saw these they just leapt. Brass is not normally my colour, I normally go for silver, but with the teal I thought they would really work and I'm very pleased with the outcome. I had to do the buttonholes without the use of the magical buttonholing attachment on my sewing machine too, because it was just not working at all. I'm not sure what was up with it. Rather chuffed with getting them to look that neat, if I'm honest. 

So, a muslin that didn't really end up being one. I did tweak the fit quite a bit - took a lot off the width to make it fitted and across the shoulders - but I probably could have added a little bit to the length. The colour and shape does look a bit Star Trek if I do the entire thing up, but I don't very often. I found it very easy to wear last winter for work, and all told am very pleased with the result! 


Esoteric embroidery

Before I even start to explain this project, I should preface it with something of a warning. Even Clarkie, who is reasonably used to me by now, looked askance at me and suggested this was a bit weird. But there's a peculiar sort of logic to it, honest! It all starts with Target...

See, we tend to buy the majority of our clothes in the States. Stuff is cheaper over there, and we have the time to do clothes shopping properly. This includes our underwear, which we buy in multipacks in Target. Neither of us has particularly fancy taste in underwear, but there is a set of reasonably strict criteria for me at least: boy shorts for cycling (no seams in awkward places), low-rise bikini otherwise, preferably no pastel colours, not white. Clarkie has her own set of criteria. This time, for whatever reason, we both alighted on the same multipack, and neither of us could see any alternatives we liked. 

Now, I am prepared to share a great many things with Clarkie, but there are some barriers to us sharing clothes. So we ended up with two sets of matching pants* (and various other non-matching bits and pieces) and came home. As I was sorting the laundry one day, I started thinking about how it would be great if there were an easier way to distinguish the two sets.

I thought about marking them with the fabric pen I own, and then remembered that the last time I used it I ended up with an ugly pair of socks I didn't want to wear, and if I'd wanted ugly there were other sets of pants I could have bought. 

Then for some reason, I thought about embroidery. Now, I don't have a long history with embroidery. I can chainstitch, but the embroidery threads I have are left over from making friendship bands way back when. So I'm not entirely sure where that idea came from. But once it arrived, well, it stuck. I thought I could chainstitch flowers on my set. So I started with the orange pair.

Orange pants, green flower

And frankly, I got bored with chainstich and flowers from there. I googled embroidery patterns, and my eyes were opened to the myriad possibilities. I stumbled across new stitches... And almost before I knew it, the dark blue pair ended up with a robot head on the back right. 

Blue pants, grey robot

(Mmmmm... Split stitch and some french knots.)

We were watching the Winter Olympics at the time. These next two pairs are therefore now my Sochi pants.

Grey pants, rainbow

Those french knots aren't quite as regular as I'd planned. Still, the effect was what I'd hoped. And I'm really rather pleased with the rainbow. 

By this time I'd got into the colour of the pants dictating what should be on them. The next pair was bright pink, and in homage to the small pink tank I once knitted... Well...

Pink tank pants

After I finished those I had a day off ill, catching up on some of the programs I've recorded that Clarkie isn't so interested in. One of which happened to be the embroidery episode of the Fabric of Britain. Split stitch took on a whole new significance. The next pair of pants were turquoise, which I chose to interpret as sky blue. 

Turquoise pants, yellow sunshine

Why yes, that is on the back of the pants. I couldn't resist.

That left just one more pair. A purple pair. I couldn't think of a relevant item. I googled purple, and got flowers. But then, from out of left field (further out than embroidering your pants, if you can believe it), there was a purple cow amongst the flowers. I was sunk. The next problem was drawing a simple enough cow that I could embroider it. Oh, and then actually doing the needlework.

Purple pants, cow

I'm kind of pleased with it, although I do think I over-stretched slightly with that one. Although, as Clarkie kept pointing out as I was muttering over it, it is just a pair of pants. 

So, I now have a set of seven pairs of decorated pants. I have to say, I'm actually rather pleased with them. And sorting the laundry is much, much easier now...


*Please note, I am English, pants does not mean trousers.