Ice & Fire Ball

For this event I was cast as Cersei and needed an outfit stat! I took the red surcoat and found the scraps of fabric to make a set of sleeves & belt. The belt is made from a few layers of horse hair. I added an embroidered rampant lion on the sleeves to tie into the Lannister family.

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photo ©2015 Jean Martin

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Starry Nite corset: emb. sample w/ piping

I’m working through some of the sample embroideries by testing them in different threads.


The one satin stitch star will be nixed because the design ended up too heavy. The one star pattern doesn’t work well in the metallic thread but is fine in the others. The tiny fleck of a star needs to have a stitch added because the cutting mechanism pulls the last stitch out so it needs to be anchored. All in all I’m happy with the results thus far. I can’t wait to actually make the corset!

This shows a very fine piping but I’m thinking of doing something more chunky so it will be more like ribs of metallic gray running down the corset.

Red Silk Wedding dress: fabrics

This gown was completed and delivered last week. I hope she enjoyed wearing it on her big day: 10/31/2008. Here follows the beginning of the dress diary:

Starting out my client knew she wanted a red wedding dress. She had examples of heavily ruched and pleated dresses as well as with some gorgeous 1950s dresses. Another gown in her examples featured a decorative petticoat that was intentionally showing. We decided the dress would definitely be knee-calf length with a decorative petticoat and a pleated bodice. We poured over pieces of fabric and lace in my workroom.

These are an example of the general idea of what was going to be sourced for the dress:

Of course the color would have to be the exact right “shade” for her complexion and taste. And the lace or embroidered netting needed to be light and airy not heavy or crocheted.
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Rene’s bodice progress

Now this bodice has been a bodice of DOOM! It has a extreme like for oily substances and will find any oil in a room and suck it up. I’ve watched Rene very carefully and neatly work on her bodice and get oil on it over and over again.

Portion of back with completed embroidery:

Front with embroidery partially waiting whip stitching:

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Embroidery continued…

Rene sent me a progress photo of the hand-sewn embroidery :) The front will take longer as some mystery spots appeared on the front portion of the bodice. She has re-done the front and I re-drew the front patterning for her.

Back section:

Another row of black velvet ribbon will be stitched on underneath the embroidery. Isn’t she doing a lovely job? Yum!

Embroidery Design

Rene asked me to adapt an embroidery design for her bodice by making a continuous design that would be curved around the top edge. The inspiration source was only a small section so I had to fill in the details and warp it to fit a curved surface. It was done free-hand in chalk and cleaned up in a second pass with blue washable marker.

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18th century suit: stripe waistcoat inprogress

I’ve started going through all the photos I took of the wedding garments in progress and decided some might be nice to share. Here is one showing how I cut out the shape of the pocket I wanted and drew on the lines to match the fabric below to be able to easily pattern match when cutting.

You can see the white chalk marking the buttonholes and the placement of the embroidery designs. Everything was chalked and then the embroidery was done prior to cutting the fabric.

Testing an embroidery design

It is always worth doing a mock-up of any design plan so you can catch potential problems. In this case, I planned some embroidery to match a design on the trim chosen by a client:

It was a good thought but in practice it failed. Or as my husband would smirk and say “it is made of fail”. From down the hall, the clever matching design just looks like polka dots! Now we weren’t looking for polka dots on the collar so this design element has been scraped.

Spider Mid-bust corset

This is a mid-bust Victorian corset made from peach shot with green dupioni silk, interlining, and a coutil strength layer. It features some machine embroidery and a free-hand embroidered spider on the one side. A very classy corset with a hint of halloween. The busk panel and binding are in a black silk taffeta. The peach/green shimmer of the silk really gives it an eerie glow.

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