Following on from my last post and Sian’s comments, I have been adding hand and free machine stitching to the digitised design to break it up and make the overall effect more interesting.
Revisiting the sample – I have added hand stitches in metallic thread in places across the knots and in some of the spaces, and some beads on the top centre knot. I am thinking that I could use beads to create a focal point on the front and let the handstitching stray around the whole dress. You can also see that on this sample I tried machining some larger scale knots in black on black with various threads, matt, shiny and metallic. Oddly enough, they show up more in the photograph than in real life.
How to decorate the large areas of black velvet – this is the back of the sample so you can see the lines clearly on the white interfacing. I decided to use the triskele as it is another common motif and has lots of movement, so it contrasts with the knotwork. I have drawn it overlapping randomly and machined from the back with a variegated metallic thread. I was having one of those days when I made this sample and managed first to forget to reverse the design, so they were spiralling anti-clockwise on the front (not good) and then applied the vilene to the right side of the fabric and stitched it (really not good), and finally tried stitching, as I often do, with the darning foot on and feed dogs up which left marks all over the velvet (bad). But we got there in the end. I chose a coloured metallic thread as the black ones disappeared into the pile, and this will give the dress a bit of sparkle. I will probably leave the black parts of the sleeves plain so it is not overpowering, but I will leave them until last and then decide.
Back left of bodice to see overall effect - I have cut it with large seam allowances (growing space) so the knotwork will be against the zip when it is made up and the shawl will cover most of the black.
Detail of back - the camera is having all sorts of trouble with the dark background and reflective threads, but hopefully you can see the little bit of handstitching on the knotwork.
Photo 5 and 6
I used Spoonflower to print a length of cotton/silk with a greatly enlarged image of knotwork, stitched green on green, to use for the lining, pleats and shawl. The closeness of the colours just gives an overall texture. When I held it against the bodice back, I felt the green was a bit too light (more fresh spring green than emerald), so I have tried overdyeing a sample, which is on the left of photo 6, and I prefer this colour, so I will dye the length.
Drawing for knotwork on skirt panels.
Digitised version (ignore the colours for now)