Here at Sew House Seven, we are always thinking of new ways to level up our new makes or to give existing garments a second life. One wonderful way to do this is with hand-stitched details. We are fortunate enough to live in the same city as the talented cross stitcher Zoe from Junebug and Darlin so a collaboration felt natural. We love a flowy, romantic embroidered top and knew that Zoe's beautiful cross stitch designs would be a perfect pairing with some of our patterns. She created a versatile, beginner friendly cross stitch pattern for the Romey Gathered Dress & Top and the Remy Raglan. Of course, you can adapt the pattern to any woven garment you like. The pattern is offered as an individual pdf pattern or included with a supply kit. The pattern and kit are available now on the Sew House Seven website (details below).
• 14-count waste canvas
• 2 needles (one for lightweight linens and one for medium weight cottons)
• 3 skeins of DMC embroidery floss (Ecru, 783 gold, 844 grey)
• 1 instruction booklet in PDF format featuring hand-drawn directions for every step
Peggy's Notes for Beginners:
I hadn't cross stitched since I was a teenager (a looooong time ago). I remembered that it was pretty easy and so I didn't anticipate any problems with this project and was maybe a little overly confident. I don't want to make this out to be difficult because it isn't. However, I had never used waste canvas before or cross stitched on a garment. This novice has a few tips for some of you before starting.
1. I highly urge anyone who hasn't cross stitched before or who hasn't cross stitched with waste canvas on a garment before to do a practice run before starting on your actual garment. I foolishly jumped right in and ended up taking out the front portion of my cross stitching and doing it over again. I got the hang of it after a short while but wished that I had taken the time to practice on a scrap before working on my Romey top. You can try just a portion of the pattern on a swatch (preferably the same fabric you plan on using for your garment) or try this free sample pattern.
2. Make sure you have good lighting. Zoe of Junebug and Darlin is a pro cross stitcher and she did the first half of my top. I then took it with me to a sewing getaway with friends to finish up the other side. We were hand stitching in a poorly lit room and I had the most difficult time seeing the squares of the off-white waste canvas on my white linen fabric even though I had my reading glasses and a lamp. Needless to say, I didn't do the best job of it. When I pulled out the waste canvas threads to see the finished front, it was pretty laughable as a supposedly mirrored half next to Zoe's perfect other half. I took out the stitching and took the project with me on a road trip to try again. This time I sat in the front seat of our van with the natural light from the window and had no difficulties at all seeing the squares on the waste canvas.
3. Be very gentle and patient when you are pulling out the threads of your waste canvas. For some reason, I thought that you just added water to the canvas and it disintegrated. Nope! You dampen it and then carefully pull each thread of the waste canvas out. At first it seemed like a lot of work and the threads were difficult to pull out. Once you pull out some of the threads, the cloth starts to loosen up and the process moves along much more quickly and easily.
4. If you are anything like me, once you make one garment with this pattern and technique, you will want to make another and get creative with it. I'm already dreaming of some other sleeve border ideas and maybe using two or three colors next time. Have fun and enjoy some handwork. It really does make your handmade garment even more special - like an heirloom piece.