The Clockwork Natura Gown – Embroidery & Handmade Fashion

I just want to say, there’s a full in-depth feature on this dress, with behind the scenes shots and a cool giveaway over on Burdastyle today! But if you’d like a peek, I’ll give you a little scoop on the project…

I’m hoping you’ll agree, Urban Threads is working hard to try and change the usual offering of what machine embroidery can be, away from the usual teddy bears and traditional trappings. We love testing new ideas, and with this project, I wanted to see if we can change not just what machine embroidery is, but how machine embroidery is used.

We tried it a little bit with our upcycled Steampunk Coat, but this time, we wanted to go bigger and  design from concept to completion. Our goal: to make embroidery designed for one-of-a-kind fashion.

For this challenge, Urban Threads teamed up with the Victorian stylings of KMKDesigns, a local mother-daughter wonder team with a flair for the dark and dramatic, and who like us, are big fans a lot of steam and a little bit of punk. Together, we created a one-of-a-kind gown meant to show machine embroidery off of potholders and tea towels … and onto something else entirely.

FairShadow Photography    

FairShadow Photography    

FairShadow Photography   

Stitched on the gown are five pieces of the new Steampunk Natura series (see the whole series on SALE here), designed in conjunction with the dress, and created with this challenge in mind.

It was a great way to design from the ground up, with two goals … make something that works for everyday embroidery, and make something that works for fashion design. Essentially, finding shapes that complement form, while still working with sizes and designs made for any kind of embroidery project.

FairShadow Photography   

Don’t get me wrong, we still want to be able to stitch our quilt, bags and tea towels. It’s just, should the inspiration strike, we want to be able to make steampunk gowns and couture clothing as well. Sort of like having your cake and eating it too. Only this involved less calories and more corsets.

FairShadow Photography   

FairShadow Photography   

FairShadow Photography   

FairShadow Photography   

FairShadow Photography   

And boy, do I love it.

Getting all embroidered, sewn, dressed up, dolled up, and photographed was a monumental effort taken on by a dream team of collaborators all working towards bringing you the results of this project. Did I do this all on my own? Hellz no. We need a shoutout here.

I was lucky enough to nab the amazing Etsy sellers and dress design team of KMKDesigns, who worked with me from the very beginning to design something just for Urban Threads. Their skill and speed of creating dresses like this astounded me. From all the ideas they brought to the table, to the skill of their costume creations, I feel so freaking lucky to have these ladies in Minnesota.

I think you’ll also agree with me that though I’m not entirely camera shy, I certainly don’t usually look like this everyday. The exquisite hair and makeup talents of Sara Capers Style was really the only thing that gave me the courage to try out a full on photoshoot (usually I just set my camera on a timer and hide in a studio!) and boy, do I wish I could pull off this look every day.

Finally, none of much of this would matter without the amazing shots from FairShadow Photography, who brought this whole project to life and showcased the dress and the embroidery to perfection. Without her skills, well, let’s just say talking about it wouldn’t hold nearly as much interest.

We could not have done it without everyone pitching in an amazing effort, and there was a lot of fun to be had working with a team like this. Believe me when I say, a lot went in to this dress.

Want to know just how much?

We’ve got exclusive details, dress photos, and behind-the-scenes images on the making of, all in a feature on BurdaStyle!

Not only that, but they’re offering a chance to WIN a $50 Urban Threads gift certificate to start creating your own fashion masterpiece. Just check out the post and leave a comment there to enter!

And of course, when all this is said and done, it all comes down to getting your hands on some embroidery designs, doesn’t it? Want to grab the whole 9 piece Steampunk Natura set? There’s even more designs than what’s featured on the dress.


This project is part of The Lab, a UT initiative to experiment, collaborate and innovate to see just what can be done with the art of embroidery.
Check out our other projects by searching for the UT Lab tag.



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40 Responses to “The Clockwork Natura Gown – Embroidery & Handmade Fashion”

  1. 1
    Cecily says:

    OH MY GOD! That is gorgeous!! Love the new designs and actually have been looking for a cool rose design (much like the corner and clockwork one) for a project I have in mind! You guys are awesome!

  2. 2
    Kate says:

    Congratulations to all concerned!!! You really are hell-bent on dragging machine embroidery kicking and screaming into the 21st century!

  3. 3
    Jeanine says:

    Gorgeous! Well done all around!

  4. 4
    Simone says:

    Great gown awesome pictures …. just brilliant

  5. 5
    heather says:

    I love this dress! the embroidery fits so well, and you look beautiful! congrats on some awesome work!

  6. 6
    Karen says:

    So freaking awesome!!! That is one kickass dress, and you are rockin’ it! I absolutely love the designs on the corners of the top layer. (Well, I love all the designs). Congratulations!

  7. 7
    Missy K. says:

    Wow. Amazing work. Awesomness!

  8. 8
    Pam Jordan says:

    This is gorgeous. I wish I had seen it a year ago when I made a corset and skirt for my son’s girlfriend to where to the Prom. I am sure I am one of your older customers but I just love your stuff. I am working on a black rehire that I want to decorate with your Alice designs. The dress is so cool… dark side would like to see more garments! Thanks for being you!

  9. 9
    Perrie Zeuner says:

    Gorgeously put together

  10. 10
    Kathleen says:

    You look amazing!!! BTW you would blend right in th Goth scene here in Holland!!! And the ladys would be green of envey!!!!

  11. 11
    Joanne says:

    OMG!! i love it, can i borrow for halloween?

  12. 12
    Elfie B. says:

    Thanks a lot. I have inspiration… and my daughter wants this look. For Hallowe’en. In 3 weeks. *headdesk*

    I am drooling over the fabrics chosen, and the embroidery designs. This is exquisite.

  13. 13
    Genevieve Payne says:

    Absolutely amazing dress – I’m so in love. Great designs, amazing sewing and craftmanship, beautiful photography and don’t you just pull it altogether. Will be purchasing the pack if I don’t win it!


  14. 14

    Stunning. Just stunning. Next year will be my daughter’s Senior Prom and I will definitely be looking back at this gorgeous dress for inspiration. Spectacular post.

  15. 15

    This is gorgeous! You definitely hit your goal of embroidery designed for one-of-a-kind fashion! This definitely shows a plus to machine embroidery. Stunning!

  16. 16
    Mellie says:

    I *love* the dress – where are the boots from?

  17. 17
    Melanie says:

    Oh mein Gott- mir haut es mein Englisch weg… das ist ein Hammerteil- Wunderwunderwunderschön….

  18. 18
    Stitchfork says:

    Brilliant! And you look Marvelous!
    xo Cathy

  19. 19

    Keep pushing the embroidery envelope with your ideas!

  20. 20

    I just received the latest Creative Machine Embroidery, and your ad was truly the only thing in the entire magazine that appealed to me. THIS is creativity! Keep raising the bar!

  21. 21
    Carolyn R says:

    I found this while wandering different craft sites I love, man this is Amazing, I want thisss soooo bad….. to get my crafty level to this high standard is a dream of mine. I haven’t been able to get into machine embroidery yet, but with finding this site I now defiantly know what new crafty things I will be saving up for and starting <3

  22. 22
    liddy says:

    Absolutely stunning!!! Beautiful!

  23. 23
    Alyson says:

    Great color choices. They are very balanced and appealing. And I must say the model is beautiful!

  24. 24
    Allison says:

    I saw a picture of this dress on the back of a sewing magazine at JoAnn’s and I might have screamed a little. I can’t sew, knit, crochet, embroider, etc etc etc at all but this dress was so gorgeous it gave me grabby hands on the spot. Massive kudos to everyone involved in bringing it to life.

  25. 25
    elizabeth edwards says:

    How much for the boots and dress. i would love to have this for my reception dress for my wedding.

  26. 26
    Matt_MN says:

    Wonderful photography.

  27. 27
    Marji says:

    You’re gonna give us old leftover hippies out here a heart attack!! This is a gorgeous design, wonderfully done and photographed, super-big congratulations to all involved. I’m 64, and I’d wear it! Even if I looked like an old goof, I would, truly. Well, well done!!!! By the way, NOW I understand why people would bother to read blogs, definitely coming back here.

  28. 28

    Insanely nice things! But I think I can not do with their hands like that! Please, tell me where to purchase them. Thank you!

  29. 29
    Betty Anne Thomas says:

    Your patterns are imaginative and exquisite. I am so impressed with the way thwy sew as well – very well engineered – every one I’ve used is stunning when it is finished. Please keep making them – you have spoiled me for any other machine embroidery designers! Thank you so much.

  30. 30
    Sophia says:

    I love it, love it, love it!
    If I had found this dress before I got married, I would have my walls plastered with wedding photographs 😀

  31. 31
    Barbara Dannenfelser says:

    Awesome work!

  32. 32
    Annie says:

    I love this dress. Is there any way I can get one???

  33. 33

    […] Clockwork Couture Third raw: Tumblr, Tumblr,, Recollections, Walk in wardrobe, Urban Threads Fourth raw: Uptight Clothing, Recollections, ??, Tumblr (Alexander McQueen F/W 2006-2007), […]

  34. 34

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  36. 36

    […] own Urban Threads artists, we thought we’d revisit the spectacular level of grandeur from the Clockwork Natura Gown, and work with another amazing alternative […]

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