Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How Shall I Embroider My Yellow Shawl?

Over Thanksgiving I went back to Iowa to visit my parents, who were in the process of moving to a new house after almost 30 years.  Not surprisingly, I came back with many long-forgotten treasures from my childhood, and random fabric sources.  One such treasure was this 18 x 90" strip of yellow cotton:

I used this piece of fabric as a shawl, and it became a vital part of my dress-up wardrobe when I wanted to play Gypsies with my younger sisters.  (The Hunchback of Notre Dame came out when I was 11, and I became fascinated by gypsies for a while.)  It was never hemmed, just had a short fringe from where it had been torn along the grain to create the rectangle.

I have decided to incorporate this unassuming yellow shawl into my grown-up costume wardrobe, as well.  First it needs to be washed, as in the intervening years it has developed a few stains and acquired several black animal hairs - both from my old dog, Chewie, and my current cat, Jazz.

Maybe I shouldn't let her use a box of fabrics as a bed...
To prepare the fabric for washing, I have hemmed it by hand to prevent further fraying of the edges.  This has given me a chance to hone my hand-sewing skills, and I also think it gives a nicer edge than machine-sewing.

This photo - without flash - shows the truest color. 
Next I plan to hone my embroidery skills!  I want to make this shawl my Embellish project for the Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge.  The deadline for this project is February 25, and I wanted to get a head start since embroidery is very time-consuming.  But first I need to decide what color(s) to embroider!

I was originally thinking a floral pattern similar to this, in red and green:

But now I'm leaning more towards all black embroidery for a more dramatic effect.  Maybe some leafy vines like this:

My plan is to focus the majority of the design along both short ends, with a smaller border running along one long edge.  I'm thinking it'll look something like this when I'm finished:

What do you think, oh blogosphere?  What color(s) and design should I choose?  Leave me a comment with your suggestions!


  1. I think mainly black with some small juicy colour accents would look very good. Red and green perhaps? Regency embroidery patterns might work well for the pattern placement you have in mind. I would use it as an outline or inspiration though and choose some simpler and quicker line stitches. There is a lot of embroidery to be done and 25th February is very close. Such embroidery is on my to do list since I have found those patterns on EKDuncan blog. http://www.ekduncan.com/2011/10/regency-era-needlework-patterns-from_12.html Looking forward to the new posts and updates. Lori_N

  2. What a wonderful source! Thank you so much!

  3. Black embroidery would be lovely.

  4. Yeah, I think I am leaning more towards black. I love the monochromatic look, and it would be wearable with more things that way.