Friday, March 31, 2017

The Embroidered Stomacher - Finished!

It's been quite some time since I started this project. It's been languishing in the UFO pile for a while, asking to be finished, but I never just sat down and got it done. I've had quite a bit of down time recently as I wait for a new job to start up, so I decided it was finally time to go back and finish it!

The last time I looked at the project, the embroidery had been finished, but that was where I had stopped. There was still quite a bit to do, as I had chosen a rather involved piece to try and copy. I was planning to simplify the original a bit, though - I didn't like the little dinky tabs at the bottom, so I was definitely going to leave those off, and I wanted to simplify the shape of the bottom to bring it forward a couple of decades (the original is dated 1730s - 40s) and make it appropriate for the more 1760s-ish wardrobe I have.

The first thing I had to do was cut out lining for the main section. I used a less-fine linen for the lining since it wouldn't be showing.

I bound the edges of the main section with narrow bias tape to finish the raw edges without losing any width. 

Next I needed to create the side sections. I had previously cut out a second copy of the main section from my fine linen, but I didn't have any more left, so I had to improvise a little. I cut out another copy of the main section for the rougher linen, and then I cut the fine linen and the rough linen copy in half to create the side sections. I stitched the rough linen to the fine linen, right sides together, turned them out, and pressed them.

The original stomacher had gold trim on it, but for some reason, I thought it was tarnished silver, so I bought a silver braided trim to use on mine. I don't know why I thought that because the original is clearly a dark gold, but for whatever reason, silver stuck in my head. That's part of the reason it took me forever to find a trim I liked, too. It's so hard to find a metallic trim that doesn't look tacky or plastic-y! This one combined a dark grey fabric braid with a tiny bit of metallic trim, so it didn't look outrageously modern or plastic.

I pinned the trim along the edge of the flaps and along the top and bottom edges of the main section, and sewed it down by hand.

Once that was done, I added the line of stitching on the outside of the trim, just under half an inch from the edge of the trim. On the original this line was actually functional and secured the side section to the main body, but the main part of my stomacher was so narrow that I wasn't going to be able to maintain a straight line while stitching the sections together, so my stitching is purely decorative. I did a simple backstitch by hand.

The most time consuming part (after the embroidery) was adding the eyelets. There are twelve on each side, one inch apart, and they are only a quarter inch wide so they fit between the stitching and the trim. I used a jewelry jump ring as reinforcement for the hole and stitched around with a whip stitch.

I didn't take any pictures of it, but I stitched the sides to the main section by whip stitching the lining of the sides to the bias tape edging the main section. After that, I turned in the edges of the side section and stitched them closed, and added tabs to the edges.

As you can see, the shape changed quite a bit once I turned in the edges. I actually had to trim down the side sections because the top of the stomacher ended up super wide, which changed the overall shape of the piece. But, that's okay with me. I'm still really happy with how it turned out.

Once it was all assembled, all that remained was to lace the silver cording through the eyelets. Since the cording is rather elastic, I had to pin the stomacher to the ironing board cover so it wouldn't draw the sides together while I was lacing it.

And it's finished! I'm so happy to be able to scratch this off my list of UFOs, and I finally have a functional stomacher! I can't wait to wear this with a gown. I think it will be a really versatile piece that I'll be able to wear with a lot of different things.


  1. That is stunning. I love the embroidery work; I've never attempted a piece that detailed.

    1. Thank you! I've been trying to work more embroidered pieces into my wardrobe. It's also the perfect thing to work on after work while watching TV. :)