Tuesday, December 22, 2015

not a UFO*

in which our plucky heroine completes a long long project...

... back in July I began a complicated project of embellishing a dress, not for me but for a dear friend. The plans were to use handstitched reverse applique, in the Alabama Chanin style, to add colorful borders to a plain black eShakti dress. It is a lot more difficult to to embellishment on a RTW garment than on the nice flat pieces of homemade clothing, before they are assembled. About 42 hours of handwork later, spread out over months, the dress embellishment is completed.

The project began with my designing the neckline, and after consultation redesigning, cutting the stencil, and applying it, and then painting the neckline motifs. Then I also added small motifs to the sleeve cuffs, which were quite a challenge to stencil and embroider. Over time, all the scrolling vinework on the neckline was stitched, and the centers of the pattern cut away to show the green jersey underneath the black.

Then a related motif was created for decorating the hemline: black rabbits surrounded by foliage... It took almost as long to complete the hemline embellishment as it did for the neckline, which makes sense, as it covered a similar area. Had we chosen to extend the decoration all round the skirt hem edge, it would have looked even more splendid, but taken at least another 40 hours or probably more. There is a reason the Alabama Chanin garments cost what they do - handwork takes time!

needle and thread and thimble and a whole lot of hours...


The hemline embellishment covers almost a quarter of the circumference of the hem, and is surprisingly difficult to photograph well.


December SMART goals
1 charter painted plinth casters bag to Goodwill
2 fabrics keyring shed door rings bag to Goodwill
3 Elizabethan shirt
garlic planted -
4 party cookery flowerbulbs planted -
5 reverse applique RTW dress salad table planted -
6 - squirrelproofing -
7 - - -
8 - - -
9 - - -
10 - - -
11 - - -
12 - - -

*UFO = UnFinished Object


  1. The dress is simply beautiful! The rabbit hem border is simply brilliant! Well done!!!

  2. What a lovely embellished detail. Well done!