I’m done! I spent all weekend embroidering the sash, and, boy, was that a trial. I started Saturday, and I can’t remember the last day I said “f**k” quite so often. Machine embroidery is tough! And metallic thread doesn’t make it any easier — even winding the bobbin was a pain in the ass! The thread would break or the metallic part would shred off. I was using the Sulky brand and had heard this was a better quality metallic thread, so maybe it was my machine that was off. Just kept having problems, had to rip out countless stitches, stopped and started constantly. It was beyond frustrating — I just don’t have the words to describe how pissy this embroidery was. This part was definitely the most challenging costume project I’ve ever taken on.
Then, after I’d spent all day working on it and was about a third of the way through the design on the first streamer, I ran out of thread!!! I was about to burst a blood vessel, plus it was too late to go to the store, so I gave up for the day. Decided to go running, and the three-mile route really cleared my head (not to mention lessened my back ache). This must have been my first experience of Runner’s High, because, when I returned, I glanced over at the table where the embroidery was laid out next to the pattern — and I realized it looked pretty good. Not perfect by a mile, but nice.
Next day, I bought more thread (plus buttons for the overgown). Everything went ten times more smoothly on Sunday. It’s like I hit a wall on Saturday, and then broke clean through it on Sunday. I finished the first streamer and liked it so much, I decided to embroider the second one. Originally, I thought I might only do one streamer, the front one, since the back one doesn’t show as much. I’m more of a lazy costumer than a perfectionist ;-). But the embroidery was going so well, I felt like I had the hang of it. Thus, the second streamer came out much better than the first, and I used it as the front streamer.
I even figured out how to make some of the small curly bits of the design on the machine, so there was no need for hand-embroidery. To do this, I made a few wide, sideways stitches and stopped at the far side of the sideways stitch. Then I set the stitch width a little narrower and made the end-point of the curl, narrowing the stitch width a smidge more as I went. I also discovered the trick to tapering a line of machine embroidery down from wide to narrow (as on the very top of the design). The key is to stop in the center of the wide area, then adjust the stitch width a tiny bit. Repeat this every dozen or so stitches. This will narrow the stitch smoothly. If you don’t stop in the center or you adjust the stitch width too much, you’ll get a jaggy, stair-stepped effect.
I interfaced and sewed up the sash belt and streamers, then attached them all together. Sewed in the hooks, added silver knot buttons to the bodice, and the whole thing was done! Also I got an email notice from UPS that says my wig will arrive the day before BayCon. Still don’t have anything for the circlet, but otherwise, this costume is complete!