Josephine's Amazing Gowns posted on March 10 2015 in 19th century fashion, Exhibitions, french embroidery, haute couture embroidery 3 Comments

While I was in Paris last month, I happened to hear about and catch one of the last few days of an exhibition held by the illustrious fabric house Maison Prelle on the fashions worn and favored by Napoleon's elegant first wife, Josephine.  The house is tucked discreetly above a court yard of a building off the Place des Victoires and had some of the most beautiful fabrics I've ever seen.  The objects on the special exhibition also were dazzlingly embroidered and I was particularly touched by the dedication of their unnamed creators to a high level of craftsmanship, as exemplified by one perfectly even stitch after another.  I hope you enjoy these photos!

Josephine in Jacque Louis David's painting of Napoleon's Coronation

A court gown with a lavender embroidered train

The gorgeous train


Josephine's shoes (I think)

White gowns draped with cashmere shawls with Indian motifs, deemed then the perfect accompaniment to the empire gowns


A final look at Josephine in the surroundings of Malmaison, her beloved estate outside of Paris



Happy Valentine's Day! posted on February 14 2015 in french embroidery, haute couture embroidery




Chanel Spring 2015 Haute Couture posted on February 03 2015 in Chanel, french embroidery, haute couture embroidery


I seem to post an awful lot from the Chanel haute couture collections, but each season they seem to consistently turn out a ravishing flurry of haute couture embroideries! Below are some pics from last week's Spring 2015 collection.  To me, the pics (especially the first several) conjure  psychedelic garden grown by aliens that love tropical colors lightyears from now!

A gloriously colorful bolero

The outfit

Pansies.  It would be cool to compare this with the pansies in Phase VII of Japanese Embroidery!

A skirt dripping with crimson petals

A skirt of a field of poppies (?)




The Bride (I read that the train/skirt took 15 petite mains 1 month to complete!)



Summing up 2014 posted on December 30 2014 in Chinese embroidery, french embroidery, haute couture embroidery, Japanese Embroidery 2 Comments

For the last post of 2014, I thought I would share with you images of the projects I completed in the last year.
Hope you like the photos!  I have some cool projects planned for next year, so hopefully I will be able to get them done as well. 

Eternal Grace (Phase VI Design from the Japanese Embroidery Center)

Eternal Grace (Full View)

Reproduction of 18th Century Pattern

A Paradise Catcher


Reproduction of 18th Century Pattern

Detail of Cuff



A Wheel Motif

Giverny Top and Red Organza Skirt

Flower Bouquet (Phase I Design from the Japanese Embroidery Center)

Interior Shot

 Last Project of the year.  Phase VII design from the Japanese Embroidery Center. I will post about this in the New Year once it comes back from the framer!




Wedding Part II: My New Project! posted on November 06 2014 in french embroidery, haute couture embroidery, Lesage, weddings, Yves St Laurent

This past Saturday I attended the lovely wedding of my family friend at a seaside resort in Hawaii. Under blue skies and swaying palm trees, she and her fiancé said their vows and my family and I were delighted to be part of the event! 


For this event, I attempted a new challenge: embroider and make my own dress for a formal event. The embroidery design on the front bodice came from an embroidery course that I took at Lesage, a school in Paris. The design is called "Giverny," after Monet's garden, and depicts blooming red poppies in a lush green garden. Here's a shot of the embroidery:

Shortly after the course, I came across this picture online from an old Yves St. Laurent collection and instantly fell in love with it.

Since I didn't think I could improve upon the design, I decided to try to replicate it, with a lot of guidance from my sewing teacher Ute, and I think in general it worked out!

On the beach after the ceremony

At our table with the lovely Coco Pai!

Here are a few other snaps from the production process:

The design was intended to be a rectangular shaped painting (you can see the black lines above).  I adjusted the upper part of the design to allow for the shoulder straps and arm holes.  The poppies are embroidered with red silk organza and little red and black beads.  

The assembled top prior to binding the bottom edge.  I mounted the embroidery on top of sheer blue organza and a medium blue crepe de chine that were flat felled as one piece.  The back was the same blue organza over crepe de chine.  


 After the wedding.  The skirt was red silk dupioni with a sheer red organza overskirt.  The waistband has a double bow made out of the same materials.   

Finally, just for fun:  

Claude Monet- Poppy Fields

Poppies in front of Monet's house in Giverny