Sunday, September 5, 2010

Qabbeh and The Bethany Dress

All sewers have projects that remain unfinished for one reason or another. When Folkwear patterns reintroduced The Bethany Dress to celebrate their 30 year anniversary (2006), I thought I would make it for display at my booth at the Creativ Festival that year.  Four years later, I stumbled on the incomplete project (while cleaning up my studio) and decided it was time.

The dress is traditionally  made from strips of silk. I decided to use Kirov silk dupionni in the traditional colours of red, green and yellow.  I carefully chose a red shot with green, a green shot with red and a yellow shot with red so that the fabrics would all work well together.

The traditional gown was hand embroidered with faggotted seams to connect the strips of silk and the embroidered panel known as the Qabbeh was also elaborately embroidered by hand with couched gold thread and filled in with satin stitch.

Knowing that I would not have the patience or the talent to do all that handwork, I set out to create the dress using my sewing machine with embroidery stitches.  Here is a scan of the Qabbeh which I am now preparing to attach to the garment.  I transfered the main elements of the design to the stabilized silk panel and machine couched some gold thread.  Using the diagram of the Qabbeh as a guide I free-form stitched the vines and the flowers using a variety of rayon embroidery threads.  And then I did something very non-traditional. I hand stitched some beads around the designs and in the centre of the flowers.

As soon as I clear up the clutter around my sewing machine, I'm going to attach the Qabbeh to the dress, face the neckline, and finish up the side seams and the hem. I plan to have this dress on display at the fall Creativ Festival (Booth 830) this year!

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