Friday, June 9, 2017

Early 18th c. Elasticated Garters - Part 1 - Embroidery

...70hr later...

Well, these took a while. And they aren't even assembled, yet! I've been squeezing the embroidery in-between work, which has been busy (good for the self-employed entrepreneur! But bad for said entrepreneur's hobby projects.)

I put in the last French knot this afternoon, after stitching up the last leaves during a phone call with my Pumm!

The inspiration for this embroidery came from the below image from Ackermann's Repository. I believe this is from about 1827 (according to the site I found it on, which has since expired; a reverse Google image search has not turned up any info.) It's a bit late for what I'll be wearing it with, but it caught my fancy. (It seemed important to pick a design I really loved in order to actually stick it out for 70+ hours of work.)

This project began after my Grams gifted me with a couple large boxes of hand-embroidery thread; I couldn't resist doing something with them! With this thread I stitched the stems, flowers, and French knots. For the leaves, I needed something a little less "fuzzy", so I used a slender machine embroidery thread. 

The fabric is a very thin silk satin from this wedding dress I made a while back, from which I had a few scraps remaining. I reinforced it with cotton batiste for stabilization, basting the two layers together roughly along the lines the garter would be cut. To get an even width for the embroidery swirls, I pulled the image in to Illustrator and spaced it along a 10" rectangle, and then printed it out.

As you can see in the picture below, I used the print as reference and sketched with pencil the core swirls and stems. I knew that once I had these down, I could just freehand the other elements in thread. 

The stitches used are four; in the order they were stitched: stem stitch for the green stem, lazy daisy stitch (pretttty sure this is a fairly modern stitch, whoops. It is kind of a variation on a chain stitch, though?) for the flowers, satin stitch for the leaves and stem highlight, and French knots for the burgundy flower centers and the taupe dots marching alongside the stem. 

These are going to make such pretty undies! Now I just have to figure out the actual garter assembly and hope that I actually have enough fabric for the other half of each garter. 


  1. Gorgeous embroidery! I am much looking to seeing how your garters turn out. :)

    1. Thanks! I am thinking I MIGHT try to make a clasp myself, we'll see if that works out.