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How-to

An Interesting Embellishment Technique

Oct 22, 2013
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It’s unusual to see a type of embellishment not seen before. Imagine my surprise when my students and I came across a new one to all of us in a recent class.

One of my students, Marcia Skall, found this lovely embellished silk dupioni at Satin Moon in San Francisco, and I loved the way it was decorated. Follow along as I show you how it was made, so that you can re-create this beautiful flower embellishment.

Silk georgette flowers in varying sizes were sprinkled across the dupioni.

The back of the fabric shows the machine stitching clearly.

I decided to open one of the flowers to see how it was formed.

I started by removing the dozen or so wooden beads at the center.

Then, I took apart the machine stitching at the flower’s center and started pulling back the strip of silk georgette.

A strip of silk georgette, cut on the cross-grain, had been machine-stitched to the dupioni with undulating stitches to form the flower petals.

A large flower takes a cross-grain strip of silk georgette, about 1 inch wide and about 6 inches long. It is sewn into a circle with slight undulations in the stitching that form the shape of the petals.

Simply overlap the georgette strip ends after the circle is stitched with the raw edge folded to the inside. Notice the fold at the bottom of the photograph.

The georgette is pulled gently to the flower’s center and stitched into place. This is where you can appreciate that silk georgette is the perfect fabric for this treatment; it’s prepleated, and its texture gives lovely dimension to the flowers.

Finally, add the small wooden beads to the center of the flower. How charming!

Have you ever taken apart an embellishment to learn how it was made? Have you come across a similar embellishment before? If so, were you able to re-create it? If you plan on using this technique, to which garments would you apply it?

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  1. User avater BJ_sews_on April 16th

    Thank you for sharing. I like that it would be a fairly quick way to embellish something. It took confidence to use the machine to sew it... that sounds like my kind of challenge.

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  4. User avater Blenchi October 26th

    You might like the book 'The Art of Manipulating Fabric' by Colette Wolff. Lots of great embellishment techniques among which appliqued yo-yos, which you can use to create this kind of embellishment. Have fun.

  5. scrubble4 October 25th

    Thank you this is brilliant. I am assuming you sew the fabric from the right side of the garment fabric. If it is sewn from the underside, I'd like a bit more instruction. I would think brocades and such heavy fabrics would create a spectacular large flower embellishments on the upper back of a jacket. Sparkly additions could also be added if desired. I am looking forward to playing with this idea. thanks for sharing. I will also be looking at embellishments on clothes in high end second hand stores.

  6. SusanKhalje October 23rd

    To RKR - actually, it is machine sewn - pretty rough stitching, but it's definitely by machine. The beads were sewn on last, by hand, but the rest is machine.

  7. User avater user-2592692 October 23rd

    I will definitely use this idea many times. Want to make a dressing gown with these petals flowing around the hem. Because the item must be washable I will use crinkled cotton batiste for the petals to get texture. Thank you for sharing.

  8. rkr4cds1 October 23rd

    'That' - - is MACHINE sewn?? Excuse me, but all I see is a hand-sewn running st. What part is the machined work... Perhaps in gray to match the background?

  9. user-2021636 October 23rd

    So pretty! I shall file this away in the 'to make in the future' file - I can see this on an evening jacket, perhaps echoed along the hem of a matching skirt? I love anything that takes a garment out of the ordinary.

    Oh, and Ooch, is this what you meant? http://www.linda-matthews.com/decorative-stitch-art-lace/ It's another brilliant idea!

  10. User avater user-2270844 October 23rd

    Thanks Susan,
    The stitching around the perimeter looks to be continuous with the radial line of stitching leading into the centre. So I'm guessing they sewed the perimeter and with the thread still attached, gathered the material up, stitched in to the centre, then sewed around the centre attaching all the folds of the petals. Then presumably the wooden beads are sewed on as a separate step? Perhaps this is what you have already said and I'm just stating the bleeding obvious. Thanks for showing this technique.

  11. seniorslugger October 22nd

    Love, love this idea, will definite be using it. Soooo many applications.

  12. SusanKhalje October 22nd

    Hadn't thought of prints - I also think an array of colors would be pretty, too......really pale pastels......

  13. mjz October 22nd

    I really like this. It's simple and not labor-intensive. You could use lots of different fabrics - including prints. Thanks!

  14. SusanKhalje October 22nd

    To Ooch - Yes, I suppose I could have done this step by step, but hopefully the post gives enough information to inspire you to play around a little bit. Any of these techniques are just starting points - size will vary, the fabric the flowers are made with will vary (though I do think the silk georgette is a pretty good choice - all those little pleats are built in for you).
    And another nice feature of having the beads in the middle was that when I pressed the fabric (right side down), they lifted it away from the ironing board, so the flowers stayed sort of fluffy - otherwise they'd have flattened out.

  15. User avater Ooch October 22nd

    I can see where that would come in handy in several applications. T-shirts, sweatshirts...just about anything.
    However, I do have a question. I'm trying to find instructions to make sewing machine lace with the decorative stitches on my machine. I briefly saw it on a web site and now I can't remember where. I do remember that they used "heat away" stabilizer and started stitching on the hem or edge of the project with the stabilizer underneath. I embroider a lot of pillow cases and would love to try this technique and see if I can make it look crocheted. Any suggestions or instructions?

  16. User avater ca2james October 22nd

    This is an unusual technique that yields attractive results.

    I would have preferred to know how to recreate it via a step-by-step guide instead of just seeing it partly undone.

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