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Mending with embroidery

Life with baby is lovely, but there's not much time for sewing. I did manage to make one shirt, and I got started on another one (also a shorts muslin for my dad!), but it's pretty slow going.

This is actually a post about craftiness and mending stuff rather than sewing a garment. I buy ready to wear from time to time, especially for the more flowy/looser style of tops which I like wearing but don't really enjoy sewing as I don't find them challenging enough. Still, buying ready to wear can sometimes have its downfalls, as was with this top: it's a very lightweight viscose, but after wearing it for a while it became a bit threadbare in the front. I kept it on my dress form for months - from June to September, when I finally decided what I wanted to do to mend it.

I always figured embroidery would probably be the best option, and I pinned a lot of stuff that I liked. As an aside, I don't normally use pintrest, since I don't see the purpose in just pinning random stuff and their email spam is quite bothersome. But it worked for this project because I knew I wanted something abstract and non-cutesy and there are a bunch of examples on there. In the end I used a pattern from the Doodle stitching book which I used to learn embroidery.

The pattern I chose is the fireworks pattern, which is pretty simple embroidery: it only uses french knots and the satin stitch.

Since the material on my blouse is a bit flimsy and see through, and I didn't have any of this clear wash away stabilizer that everyone uses (not sure where you get that in Switzerland, I looked but couldn't find any for sale - I'll order some from Amazon next time I'm in the US), I ended up improvising and using pro-sheer Elegance fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. I also think that using interfacing helps reinforce the threadbare section more than if I had just used embroidery, but the core reason I used it is that I didn't have the right stuff.

What I did was cut a large enough area to fit my hoop, and I did the embroidery before fusing the interfacing. When I was done, because the interfacing would be visible from the outside, I cut it around the embroidery in a circle, and I fused it. I then cut another interfacing piece, with rounded edges, and I fused that on top, so the spider-web like lines between the knots don't drag.

This is what it looked like from the outside. It's not the best, but the best I could do when I didn't have wash-away stabilizer.

And here it is on the dress form. The actual threadbare bit was close to the center of the "big" firework, and was covered up by a section of satin-stitch embroidery:

I'm not super happy with the fact that the interfacing is visible, but I didn't really have another choice. I think it can look passable, and since it's only on the lower side, not so in your face anyway - what do you think? Does this look awful and home-made-patched-together after the fact? Or can I wear it out in public?


  1. I think it's very clever! Probably when you wear the top the interfacing is not as noticeable. I have been toying with the idea of adding embroidery to a garment - you have inspired me.

    1. Thank you. Wait until you see my (second!) shirt, I took the idea of French knots and went with it. I only managed to finish the collar so far, but it really looks great. I'm looking forward to see what you come up with!

  2. Looks nice! I'm not sure wash away stabilised would have helped you here as you might still need some support for the embroidery after sewing it to stop it becoming wrinkly. Otherwise maybe the cutaway stuff that is sometimes found on t-shirt embroidery?

    In any case, definitely wearable!

    1. Thanks :) Because the design is dots and circles, I really wanted something that would fuse or disappear - I have some of the tshirt stuff already, but the problem that I see with it is that whatever is left over around the embroidery after finishing will basically be quite floppy inside and that will drive me crazy.

  3. Glad to hear things are going well for you. The top looks more than wearable to me.

    1. Thank you! Good luck with your little one!


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