Friday, May 22, 2015

An Embroidered Stomacher

So, do you remember that pink plaid pet en l'air that I started some time back and picked up again recently? I know I haven't updated on it in a while, but the thing is nearly complete! It took a bit of finagling since I didn't have any more fabric available, but I managed to finish the thing.

Except the stomacher. I did not have enough fabric for that. I had planned a simple comprere front with a button closure, but the scraps left over were literally little inch-wide squares that were totally useless. I was stumped for a while, having no idea what to do, so I threw the thing into the corner so it could think about what it's done.

Thankfully, some friends suggested that I make an embroidered stomacher to go with it, which seemed like the perfect solution! They were bountiful throughout the 18thC, and there are lots of surviving examples. I like to think that embroidering plain stomachers was a way to pass the time on an idle afternoon, but I'm sure the majority were made professionally. (Seriously, embroidered cushions were a way to pass the time, and I'd much rather have a fun accessory than a new cushion!)

After a bit of poking around, I chose this stomacher to copy.

It has some nice bright pinks in there that will compliment the pink of the pet, but it also has lots of other colors in it, so it could definitely be used with other gowns, as well. I'm excited at the thought of having a stomacher that can be paired with lots of different outfits!

The original is listed as cotton with silk embroidery, but I'm using a cream linen for mine, with cotton embroideries. I started work on the stomacher on the 13 hour plane ride back from Germany, where I accomplished much less than I anticipated. Seriously, I thought I was a much faster embroiderer than I'm turning out to be.

35 hours later, I had this much finished.

Look at all those French knots! I've always been rather intimidated by French knots, so I needed to conquer them for this project. They are everywhere on this stomacher - the green flower and its brown band are entirely made up of knots, there are little yellow knots on all the stems, and the center of each flower is a cluster of knots. I couldn't complete this project without learning them. And I'm so glad I have! They're so satisfying to make, and they look so spiffy!

I have used long and short satin stitch, regular satin stitch, stem stitch, back stitch, and French Knots on this creature so far. I'm really pleased with my satin stitch, as it's become progressively neater as the project has gone on, which makes me more confident about tackling the embroidered men's suit that I want to make.

At this point, I have considerably more finished than in these photos, but I haven't taken pictures yet. The entire top monster flower is finished, which on its own took almost 60 hours to complete! That thing accounts for about half the design, so I feel like I'm in the home stretch now. I've completed the fern leaf on the left side, and have moved on to the flowers on the right center. I'm hoping to have all the embroidery finished by the end of the weekend, and then I can assemble the rest of it!

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