June '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 9 2 0 P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 9 EMBROIDERY Erich's Embellishments E r i c h C a m p b e l l Retro Reproduction WORKING TO CREATE AN UNREFINED EMBROIDERY LOOK ROUGH AND READY Any casual observer of traditional em- broidery knows that hand-stitching can be some of the finest, most painstakingly executed work created in thread. Even so, the typical perception of hand work char- acterizes it as crude, albeit effective repre- sentation of a given subject. The usual cus- tomer asking to emulate hand embroidery isn't after masterwork so much as a rustic, simple execution. Though the crisp and W hen a customer asks for a hand-worked look, whether it's to reproduce designs from a set of vintage linens, to create a bohemian-chic folk-embroidery 'peasant blouse' neckline, or to simply add a rustic air to their conventional decorated ap- parel, they often imagine similar qualities. There's a common conception these customers share: a sense of something less refined than our usual embroidery; a roughness that betrays authenticity, born of subtle flaws and simple materials. Through clever digitizing and oc- casionally swapping our usual polyester thread for something less polished, we can create looks that satisfy that desire for homespun decoration. By identifying stylistic cues and discussing how we can evoke them, we'll be able to create everything from reproduction hand embroidery to folk-inspired pieces that go beyond recreating retro work, letting us break new ground in the way we fill space with stitches. Above and opposite: This piece of vintage counted cross work is one I had brought to me as an exemplar for reproduction. It boasts both thick, rough threads and obvious flaws rendered by the original stitcher as the 'crosses' are not only unevenly sized, but on this material without an obvious coarse weave, are not spaced evenly, making lines occasionally look broken and disconnected. This rustic piece is a good example of what many customers mean when they say 'hand-embroidered.' (All images courtesy the author)

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