bespoke, bespoke gift, Black and white, Commission, craft, Embroideress, embroidery, handmade, lace, Liberty, needlework, renaissance cutwork, RSN, sewing, stitch, textiles, Trestles, Wedding, wedding present, wedding sampler
My first Commission, my first truly independent lovely commission as an embroideress. A very lovely lady who is a regular in the delicatessen that I have worked in for the last three years as a way of making ends meet for university approached me. She had seen some of my work from my end of university collection in particular my black collar. So quite out of the blue she approached me to create a bespoke sentimental piece for a wedding that she would be attending. The wedding was for her best friends daughter so it was intended as a very personalised memorable gift.
It was an absolutely incredible commission to work on I was given a very loose brief. Simply that it was for a wedding and that she desired it to be bespoke, personal, not to twee and a very gorgeous small but beautiful piece. My client basically said to me I loved your work just design what you like and we will take it from there.
So I put my thinking cap on and started designing. At the moment I have a real love for the technique Renaissance cutwork especially combined with translucent silk organza. I wanted the piece to be very small the edge being intricately worked with the cutwork and then the couples initials monogrammed in the centre. I came up with several different designs all featuring a floral theme for the border. One of my designs also featured a similar floral design to my black collar from my graduating collection. I just love it so much I had to throw it, in there. I didn’t want the piece to be typically wedding for example creamy ivory colours, as in my opinion I think wedding couples must get so much wedding tat that they really don’t want, and will be in the charity shop bag or the attic the month after. I wanted to create something sentimental of the occasion but dramatically beautiful, a timeless piece that could be displayed around the house forever and be treasured.
I met up with my client for tea and a spot of tapas, a lovely relaxed environment to show and discuss my designs. It was so wonderful to have someone not in connection with me oohing and ahhing over my designs. She loved all the designs; in the end she picked one and only had a few minor alterations to make to the design. Luckily for me it was my favourite too, which makes it so much more enjoyable.
I had roughly about three weeks to make the piece; the first stage was framing up the silk organza and transferring the design onto the fabric. This technique does give an absolutely beautiful dramatic finish but I can confess it is the most tedious repetitive boring technique ever. It is very easy; if you know how to do the stitches it just takes the patience of a saint quite literally. Which to be honest I don’t have radio 4 stories and harry potter tapes and the occasional film got me through the boredom. Although I think with out my family telling me to get back to work every time I skulked onto the computer did help an awful lot. Also I haven’t got my own set of trestles yet which are the embroiders most desired vital tool. So I had to make do with kitchen chairs.
In simple terms these are the steps of this technique.
1. Firstly you outline the whole design with running stitch, inside line and outside line.
2. Then the bars. Starting from the left you make four long loose stitches across the gap marked, then you buttonhole over these loose threads creating bars which are attached to either side of the fabric about to be cut away.
3. Then you have to buttonhole around the whole design sewing over the ends of the bars. Buttonhole stitch is truly the most gorgeous stitch ever; I currently have a stitch crush on it. It is a truly wonderful stitch as this whole process enables you to cut fabric away right next to it and it will not fray. It is fantastic if you wanted to create a scalloped edge to something.
This photo shows the buttonhole stitch gradually covering the whole design.
4. Finally I used stem stitch to do the extra details on the leaves and flowers and to sew the monograms, and sweet petite French knots to finish off the flowers. The monograms were designed with a growing rose vine intertwining the two letters making that magical romantic bond for Katie and David.
5. Then the completely terrifying stage that involves no sewing. This is the stage where you have to cut it out, and one little wrong slip could make the whole piece ruined. Such a scary part of the work. This time it was made even scarier and nerve racking by my teenage brother Noah who is at the stage where he finds it delightful to make loud noises and jump out on people and I think his favourite hobby at the moment to annoy me. So the whole time I was even more on edge, but had warned him if he disturbed me I would literally murder him build a time machine and zoom back to prehistoric times and feed him to the dinosaurs. Which seemed to work thankfully.
Now with the embroidery completed I handed the piece over to my lovely client. We then went to the picture framers to have a consultation. It was quite hard to convey what I wanted and meant as I think the sales lady was thinking I meant a tapestry or cross-stitch. She started talking about gluing or stretching it eeeeek definitely not. So in the end I said that I would mount the piece as it was just becoming too complicated and I definitely didn’t want it to be ruined by someone who wanted to glue it. So I mounted it on a big piece of foam board so that the framers could cut it down to the size my client wanted. My client and I decided on a Black simple box frame, with a white background. Very simple elegant combination of black and white. It took about a week to be framed, the finished results is stunning I am so pleased with my work, framing the piece makes it look so professional, almost makes me find it hard to believe that I created this beauty. And it is so lovely to think that my artwork is somewhere in the country lovingly appreciated in a complete strangers household makes me feel like a professional.