Sunday, June 24, 2012

Colette Patterns Embroidery Project

I woke up yesterday completely INSPIRED.  Yes, in all caps.  It had been a rough week at work followed by a rougher Friday night at home and I had gone to bed completely exhausted and over it.  I woke up before 8:00 on Saturday morning with sewing on my mind--I had to get going.  It was one of those forceful, you must do this now feelings, and I had to give in.

I've really been exploring hand embroidery lately (by "exploring," I mean, doing what I want and not always doing it correctly, because I'm too lazy to learn) and, despite the two dresses I have cut out and ready to sew, I've been focused on hand embroidery.  I can do it while watching TV and I'm not all bent over my sewing machine until 1 AM because of it.  It's relaxing.  Even though I love love love to sew, sometimes you need a change of pace!

Anyway, so I woke up yesterday knowing what my next project would be: embroidered versions of all the Colette patterns I own.  I think I own eight, plus the book, and most have line drawings on the front cover (except Chantilly, which is still the old watercolor version).  Line drawings are perfect for embroidery.  Why hadn't I considered this before?

After we ran our errands, I took my patterns up to Staples, where a very exhausted, annoyed employee helped me copy and enlarge them.  Most are enlarged by 200%, though Peony is smaller because, for whatever reason, at 200% it wouldn't fit on the page correctly.  Ninety cents later, I was ready to start.

Embroidered Jasmine on Timeless Treasures quilting cotton 

The best part is I was able to use all scraps for this project, meaning I didn't have to cut into a FQ or anything.  I just went through my overflowing scrap box and found the fabrics that best fit each pattern.  That was difficult: you have an idea in your mind and your fabric doesn't always fit what you wanted, but you have to make it work.

Because I'm a total beginner, each of the finished projects has some sort of issue, meaning they aren't embroidered perfectly.  This is a bummer, because I'm also a perfectionist, but it's something I just have to get over.  I think I still did a pretty okay job, regardless.

Embroidered Rooibos on Stof quilting cotton

All in all, it took me the better part of a day to finish all of them, counting from gathering supplies and tracing to ironing the last project and packing it up for the night.  There were definitely times where I thought, "What am I doing again?  And why?" but this wasn't a weeklong to-do; it was something I worked on while watching TV and talking to Nick.  It wasn't never-ending.  It's over now.

Embroidered Peony on a vintage pillowcase

Each one has a completely different look, which is something I'd work on if I ever did this again.  I rarely buy complete lines of fabrics, so my fabrics don't always coordinate.  I also wanted to match each pattern with a fabric that seemed to work well with the lines, that I could see it in if I were to sew it together.

Embroidered Macaron on Anna Maria Horner quilting cotton

Am I treating this too much like actual art?  Probably.  It isn't!  It was just a fun project.

Embroidered Iris on Rashida Coleman-Hale quilting cotton

Unfortunately, I have nowhere to hang them right now, and also don't have enough hoops to frame them.  I figure I'll hang onto them until I have a sewing room, and then I'll put them on the walls.

Embroidered Beignet on Denyse Schmidt quilting cotton

I'm sure the embroidery experts out there are cringing at my French knots.  To that, I say "pbbt."  I just taught myself (thanks to the Sublime Stitching tutorial) how to do it!  Give me a break, uptight weirdos.  (Just kidding, I want to be you someday.)

Embroidered Violet on unknown quilting cotton
So it's over and I guess I have to go back to sewing now!  It was super fun though.  It makes me want to look for more "unknown" embroidery patterns--things that aren't typically used as, or aren't drawn specifically for, hand embroidery.  It kinda bums me out that I have to pack these away, but we just don't have the wall space for them, and I know they'll be hung up soon enough somewhere else.

Finally, I'd like to thank Eleanor, as seen in that last picture--she always made sure I knew where my needle and floss where, she weighted down my fabrics as I was tracing them, and she photobombed the hell out of me.  Thanks, cat.


  1. What a fabulous idea! They are going to dress up your sewing room nicely.

    1. Thank you! I think so too. I can't wait to have somewhere to display them!

  2. These are gorgeous, and what a great way to showcase the Colette patterns; other than making the garments obviously. I love the different fabric remnants you've used too, it makes each piece really individual. :-)

    1. Thank you! It was so hard trying to figure out which fabric went with which pattern--I had fabrics in piles all over the floor, just trying to match them up!

  3. What a great idea! As a fan of Colette patterns I DO appreciate your inspiration. Very, Very cool. Don't forget Sorbetto!

    1. Thank you! Ah yes, Sorbetto! I'll have to add that one in :D

  4. Aw, the shorts are too cute!

    1. Thanks! I liked those too. I also can't wait to make a pair!


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