Tuesday, 2 August 2016

A Dress Transformed... With Only Three Stitches And A Moment Of Time.

When you see a large piece of fabric, be it a coat, table cloth or big cushion covered in embroidery do you immediately think: "wow that must have taken for ever!" Well sometimes it does. Some intricate and complex embroideries do indeed take a long time, but not all. It is quite possible to achieve a beautiful effect without all that much work. It all depends on what type of stitch you choose, what design you choose and what colours you choose.


I'd like to share this example of a dress I finished recently because it did not take long at all. In total about 2 weeks of stitching about half an hour each night and a little more on weekends, but by no means hours and hours on end. So that's about 8-10 hours. The time is relative here. This may seem like a long time to some or like a very quick project to others. It depends on how much time you have available AND... most importantly what value you would get out of a project like this.

It's not enough to count the number of hours and decide if you would or wouldn't tackle a project. You really have to ask yourself what you would get out of it. You could easily spend 8-10 hours (or more!) embroidering a table runner that only comes out at christmas time and no one even notices your handi work! Or you could choose somehting that takes less time but has a greater impact in your life. For me, I love clothes. Wearing this dress brings me so much joy. It's unique, no one else has one like this and I've put on it my favourite colour combinations. So to me, the 8-10 hours spent on it brought great value. A big return on time invested.

I urge you to look for value in all your chosen projects. Ask yourself (in Marie Kondo style) "will this bring me joy?"

For this dress the most important factors I took into consideration were:

  1. Colours. Colours can create 100 x more impact than some fancy embroidery stitch. Choose your favourites, go for big contrasts, popping colours, light threads on dark fabrics.
  2. Easy stitches. I like to stitch quickly and not labour over 1000 tiny french knotts to cover an area of a coin in 2 hours. For the dress I used the herringbone stitch for all the flowers, the stem stitch for all the line work and the leaf stitch for all the leaves. That's it.
A word about the herringbone stitch. The link above will take you to Mary Corbett's site where I send all my students for improving technical skills. This is a gerat stitch to get to know because it will serve you as a filling stitch in so many ways. When you're practising it, try going in curves, filling outlines areas and tightening the stitches. Get your sampler out and practice. You'll see that Mary makes the stitches quite far apart but you can play with the distances and achieve all sorts of effects.

I will soon be posting a lesson on how to do flowers like these in a herringbone stitch.

The main message here is this; ask yourself what value you will get out of a chosen project. Do not jump into something just because it looks amazing on Pinterest. Will you use it, wear it, display it in your home? We don't spend anywhere near enough time questioning our motivations before going ahead with all kinds of projects. And thus we waste time later and waste materials when we don't finish things. Keep things simple for yourself, be realistic with your time and use your favourite colours.

With love and creative freedom!
Kasia :)

P.S. Do you embroider your clothes? What do you love about clothes decorated in embroidery? Please leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you!


  1. "Did you do that"?
    That is the question I hear so often when wearing my embroidered clothes. It gives me the opportunity to smile, glow, feel good about myself and be just downright happy!

    1. it's a lovely feeling isn't' it Jo? Wonderful that you get so much joy out of your craft.

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