Saturday, 14 April 2012

Tova, embroidered

I thought about dyeing my Tova top, but to use natural dyes you apparently have to boil cotton fabric for a couple of hours to "scour" it. That would have shrunk my top disastrously. I suppose I could have just bought a pack of Dylon, because I've been told it's not that toxic - I don't think it has that symbol on it with the dead fish and the dead tree (I can't bring myself to buy anything with that on). But I asked my mum to add some embroidery to the front inset instead. I chose some threads from a bundle of half-used skeins that I got on Ebay a while ago. Then I picked the stitches from a book Mother has, drew the lines on the fabric, and gave it to her to sew. Didn't she make a nice job of it? I was so pleased when I got it back! We agreed that we might share out the designing and stitching like this again.
I thought it was best to have the embroidery on the outside edges of the inset rather than along the placket, because of the way the neck falls open. The design's deliberately not precisely symmetrical.
The stitches are back stitch, feather stitch (which the book said was traditional on English smocks, so seemed appropriate), French knots, and Danish knots. My mum used two strands of cotton and stitched very delicately to avoid pulling the fine fabric.
I'm entering this in Rae's Spring Top Sewalong, so - horrible! - I had to get a photo of myself wearing the top. I'm not a person who feels at home on that side of the camera. I just don't even know how to look "natural"; as soon as the lens is pointed at me a kind of appalled tension and awkwardness takes hold. (Or maybe I always look like that...?) Posing is so embarrassing - maybe even worse than having to look at yourself in the mirror with someone observing. Readers, have any of you managed to overcome this problem? What's your secret? It's such a relief that headless photographs seem to be entirely acceptable in the sewing blog world!

18 comments:

  1. It looks lovely! The embroidery is such a nice touch!

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  2. So, so beautiful. I love the "free- hand look" of the embroidery. You and your mom certainly seems like a very fruitful combination and I hope to see more soon!
    With the photography I cant help you, I am well over 40 (ouch!) and are still combating this "fear of photography"
    Are the lilacs in bloom in the kingdom yet?
    Regards from K in Oslo

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    1. I used to live in a house with a garden full of huge lilac trees, but there aren't any round here so I can't tell you! The forsythia's still going, though, and they don't usually overlap for very long.

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  3. Well done! Give Julie a high-five for her beautiful handiwork too :)

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    1. Tlell! What a lovely surprise to see you here! x

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  4. It's just wonderful. I love the way it finished up.

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  5. What a lovely top! I just saw it on Rae's blog and had to come over and check it out more closely! You did a wonderful job, and your mother's embroidery is superb! Now I'm going back to vote for it! :)

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  6. Oh! I just looked at your profile and realized you're the Nina who comments on Jess's blog! Fancy meeting you here! ;) (Has your mum made you that Hipster yet? ;) )

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    1. Hi Grandma G, nice to see you here! Good point, now that the embroidery's done I reckon I'll start cracking the whip on that 2-Zip Hipster! Actually, the outer pieces have been cut for months but I can't choose a lining fabric or find the right zips - crafting supplies are harder to come by on this side of the pond... Thanks for your vote!

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  7. Beautiful job sewing the top! and the embroidery is just the perfect detail :-)

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    1. Thank you, Geninne! Your embroidered linen top is gorgeous too.

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  8. Congratulations on your win! I just knew it!! :)

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  9. It looks lovely, placing the embroidery on the outside edge was a brilliant idea.
    I'm afraid I'm totally with you on the being photographed problem, so I don't have any secrets to share.

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  10. I´m so glad to see this tunic as a winner!! I voted for it so congratulations. The pattern is lovely and popular but the embroidery is the wow factor.
    Beautiful blog too.
    María

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  11. I love this top both with and without the embroidery. Both you and your mom did a great job. May I ask where you bought your beautiful fabric?

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    1. Ciao Silvia! Good question... I bought the organic cotton muslin a few years ago, so I'm not 100% sure. I think I got it from www.greenfibres.com, but I can't see any muslin on their site now. They do have some plain voile (http://www.greenfibres.com/product/90/82906/soft-voile-organic-cotton.html), and that might be the same stuff because mine was extra wide like that. I think www.organiccotton.biz also have organic muslin and voile available. Both of those are UK shops but I think they offer international shipping. Thanks for your comment!

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