I made another test piece with a dark blue brocade (with modern roses). I designed a collar of silver silk with red and blue silk embroidery. The intent of this was to test our my patterning skills, my embroidery skills and to create a backup outfit just in case I didn't get the final one done in time. In the end, the Lovely Iglasia wore the backup and we looked fantastic!
The embroidery was a simple design based on some of the pottery I'd been working on. I started by tracing my collar pattern onto the silk using a washable marker pen. I included a seam allowance and then free-handed the design. Once I was happy with the design, I simply tensioned it using a cane hoop and split stitched my way around each of the symbols and created
Once the embroidery was complete. I cut out the pattern with my sharpest scissors and sealed the edges very carefully with Fray Blocker. This made the edges a little crispy but it was worth the effort to ensure that the applique doesn't fray and lift of the dress.
I'm aware that many of the extant images show the collar crossing the shoulder tip however I'm not very good with attaching sleeves so wanted to leave my options open. As a result, the collar just kisses the sleeve seam. I pinned it down and then sewed in the lining. The meant the collar and front opening would be as tidy as possible. I then folded the rest of the seam allowance under, and invisi-stitched the whole thing down.
Buttons for the dress were created by wrapping silver coloured ripple beads in the same colour silk thread. A small bead was used as an anchor and I created a pin with my trusty long nose pliers.
Here I am in the finished dress feeling quite smug about what my limited sewing skills can produce. I quite like how fitted this dress is to my bust without being restrictive. These photos also made me decide to wear a lighter coloured under-tunic on the day as the black sleeves don't contrast well.
The key challenges with this collar revolved around finding a way to stop the silk from fraying. Fray Blocker works but needs to be applied with a brush or toothpick otherwise too much and it'll leech into the silk and darken / stiffen it. Silk that's been saturated in Fraw-blocker won't be easy to puncture with a sewing needle so it's importing to ensure it doesn't take up all of your seam allowance.