I’m so excited to reveal the final pictures of this extensive piece of work: my embroidered linen dress!
After a busy year of sewing in 2019, making 27 pieces, I decided to be more thoughtful and artistic with my 2020 projects, making less but but more beautiful items. I spent hours upon hours upon hours working on the embroidery of this design, and I couldn’t have even dreamed it up without the use of my Husqvarna Viking Epic 980q. Although this machine is considered a sewing machine and not an embroidery machine, it comes with over 70 decorative stitches that allowed me to mix and match different combinations of stitches to find the look that best suited this dress.
I used a combination of scallop satin stitches, eyelet circles, and decorative dot and star running stitches to create a mixed embroidered piece inspired by this Zimmermann dress. I experimented with a ton of stitches before landing on my final ones, and then had to decide a placement and color layout, and finally embroider the entire piece with stabilizer. As this was my first time using decorative stitches for this much embroidery, I wasn’t sure what the right stabilizer to use was. I did the sleeves first and used a more traditional mid-weight cut away stabilizer. The result was beautiful, but cutting around all of those stitches was a bit crazy, so I knew I couldn’t use the same weight for the rest of my dress. Plus, the thicker stabilizer added shape and support to the fabric which was actually perfect for the sleeve, but I needed a light-weight tear away for the remainder of the dress so that it would have movement and flow. The tear away was just as easy to sew and much easier to remove, but it was nice to experiment with both types to see different results!
The most important aspect of this embroidered linen dress is that it had to fit my growing baby bump as well as my postpartum body. Otherwise I should not have been spending such an insane amount of time on it! Therefore I went with a tent-like shape that could easily be cinched in with an embroidered belt, and made sure the ruffle and sleeve shape were balanced enough to work with my 25 week belly.
I made the pattern myself off of my draped slopers (I show you how to make your own here and here), and added extra fullness and length to the front and back in order to accommodate my chest and bump. The one tricky aspect was the hem. I kept it even which means that when I wear it with a bump, it’s a little shorter in front, but when I eventually wear it without a bump the hemline should lie even.
At first the pattern was extremely straightforward and dare I say, easy? But after making one sleeve mockup I realized I wanted to add an extra element of detail to really punch up the design, hence the entredeux trim I inserted. I ended up cutting up my sleeve and bodice patterns into 3 pieces each in order to insert the entredeux, which complicated the sewing more but made it a million times more beautiful! I would use this trim again in a second as I think it really elevates the design and makes it look more couture. I bought the entredeux from a seller on etsy, but you can find it at most major online trim stores.
The Final Pictures
Wearing this dress was easy and comfortable, but shooting it proved to be quite tricky! I wanted to get detail shots as well as overall/ambiance shots while I was traveling in Morocco, and I think in some pictures the background (while exquisite) take away from the details in the dress. I happened to shoot one picture of the dress on my mannequin at home (without a bump) so you can see more of the general shape and details without as much background noise.
I LOVED wearing this embroidered linen dress. I felt completely unique and sexy, something hard to accomplish as a pregnant woman. I am also so proud of the work I put into it and how beautifully it turned out, that I am inspired to take the time to create even more showstopping pieces in the next year. I have so many ideas now that I know more of the capabilities of my Husqvarna Viking Epic 980q that I can’t wait to work on my next project!