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Canvas work necklace and a white floaty linen dress.

My latest make at my embroidery class is this canvas work necklace. I joined an embroidery group about a year ago. My first make an embroidered crazy patchwork bag wasn’t something I would have chosen to make but I learnt a lot in different ways by making it.

Since this bag I have embraced all new techniques whether they are inspiring to me or not. I know I will learn something from everything I do. There is such a vast variety of techniques within the world of embroidery that I feel like I want to try everything. Canvas work again wasn’t high on my wish list of techniques to learn. I was not sure whether this neat perfect type of embroidery was really for me. However I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed doing this. I liked working small and the rhythmic repetition of canvas work stitches was quite meditating.

My ambition for learning embroidery is to add embellishment to clothing as well as creating textile jewellery. This little canvas work piece seemed to lend itself well to becoming a pendant. I stitched the rows with this end result in mind. It was fun trying out lots of different canvas work stitches. All the stitches I tried were easy to do with the aid of a useful technique book and some guidance in class.

I found The Bead shop online for the chain, beads and metal tassels. The addition of a few tiny silver beads bought the silver element into the design. I used a small piece of batting to pad the back and some flat curtain weights to give the piece some weight. Then I folded the edges in and backed it with a scrap of cotton fabric.

After finishing the necklace I had the romantic notion of an off white linen trapeze dress. That does perhaps sound a bit decadent…. to create a dress for a necklace!! The truth is I had made this pattern for a dark grey shorter length linen trapeze dress ( I will share soon). With the sun beaming down and the first dress feeling like a success story I thought I would go for it. This along with sometimes its good to try something that you just fancy doing!

I weighed up the pros and cons of making this dress and decided if I don’t wear it I can shorten it to the same length as the grey one which I will definitely wear. This one does feel amazing to wear, floaty and free! I am definitely channeling my inner earth mother in this dress. The thing is I haven’t actually worn it yet. But..there is a but! It has been so hot anything with sleeves or heavier than super light weight has just felt too warm to wear. Even if it does look as though it would be right at home in some far flung over heated corner of the globe it is quite warm to wear. Now the weather has cooled a bit I will see if it does make it out of the wardrobe!

I loved working with this linen fabric. The sleeves molded effortlessly into the armholes and the neckline pressed like a dream.

The hem is faced with a deep self facing which is my favorite method for full curved hems. I hand finished this to keep the smooth clean lines uninterrupted by stitch lines. A very satisfying duo of makes if a little frivolous!

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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