Featured Project – Evolution of the Steampunk Girl

Do you ever come across one of those amazing embroidery projects that just hits you over the head with its intricacy, and you wonder… what was it like to make that? It all comes together so beautifully at the end, but sometimes, the process on these pieces is almost as fascinating as the result.

That’s why we’re lucky that 28 Sides Designs is a patient soul who takes the time to pull out her camera when the rest of us would just get lost in stitches and cuss words. She beautifully documented the evolution of this amazing Steampunk Nouveau embroidery, capturing the transformation from beginning to end. She joins us today to talk us through what went into this design, all while we can watch it take shape ourselves.

1 WIP Pic Steam girl

Early stages...

This is such a beautifully documented project, did you have a plan of how you wanted this project to evolve? Did you know you were going to document it like this when you started?

I didn’t really have a “plan”…

I had wanted to do a really heavy piece of embroidery, before I’d been doing mostly outlined pieces and then I did the May Monarch challenge which got my blood pumping for a larger filled piece. I knew this piece would take a really long time, especially one I was done with the hair, so I decided to take photos also in case I FUBAR’d it (or a cat, child or dog did that for me).

2 WIP Pic Steam Girl

Hair done, with the face is just starting to fill in.

3 WIP Pic Steam Girl

Face complete. Check out all those amazing fills!

What made you choose this design?

I fell in love with this one the moment I saw it and had to make it. It was perfect to work with fill stitches and textures.

4 WIP Pic Steam Girl

The fill starts to creep down the back. You can see her starting to come alive now...

5 WIP Pic Steam Girl

Encroaching Satin stitch skin complete.

Talk us through your embroidery… there are so many beautiful fills in this piece! What stitches did you use?

I had wanted to do many different stitches, more of a sampler type embroider but most ended up variants of satin stitches.

There’s the basic satin stitch (border, gears, goggles, eyes, lips, straps and corset), then the encroaching satin stitch (hair, skin), long and short satin stitch (background), fishbone stitch (flower petals), rows of split stitch (shawl), cross stitch (corset lacing), backstitch (gear outlines, clock hand), french knot (earing dot), chain stitch (earing chain).

6 WIP Pic Steam Girl

Larger satins start to fill the lips.

How long did this project take you?

It took a long time. I think I watched at least two seasons of Farscape, two seasons of Buffy, and listened to at least one Dresden novel.

7 WIP pic Steam Girl

A leap forward! Satins, fishbone stitches and many more fills.

Any interesting challenges along the way?

The biggest challenge was my son wanting to help (he likes to poke the needle and pull it through) and the solvy started to break around the edges where it was perforated by the stitches.  Eventually keeping the frame even and straight didn’t happen, so I had to trace out straight lines and redraw the frame around.

8 WIP pic Steam Girl

Details like background fills and goggles come to life

Do you wish you had done anything differently?

I wish I had not used the satin (rayon) embroidery floss for the background. I was probably using the wrong sized needle but it shredded something awful.

9 WIP pic Steam Girl

The background! It almost looks machine stitched...

What are your plans for the piece?

I have no idea…well I have many ideas, one of my favorites is to get my husband to make a box out of really nice wood and cover the top with this (or have him frame it in the wood under glass) and make it into a jewelry box, or possibly a purse flap, or a quilt or just find a really nice frame and frame it and hang it.

Steampunk Girl Complete

The final piece

It truly is an amazing piece of work completed. Fantastic work, 28 Sides Designs, and thank you again for doing such a beautiful job documenting the whole process. I hope you transform this piece into something you can display proudly forever.

I would be jealous of her mad embroidery skills, but you really have to love a person who measures project length in units of Buffy. I just can’t be mad after that.

Do you want to be a featured project on StitchPunk? Drop us a line at blog@urbanthreads.com or upload your Urban Threads stuff to our flickr group!

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4 Responses to “Featured Project – Evolution of the Steampunk Girl”

  1. 1
    Cecily says:

    Thank you so much for the feature. I love your website and your designs and am constantly in awe (and a bit jealous) of the artistic talent you all have.

  2. 2

    That is absolutely gorgeous! It has been a long time since I’ve hand embroidered, and your piece inspires me to want to pick it up again. Thank you for sharing the pictures of it in progress–it was really interesting to see.

  3. 3
    Karen says:

    How big is the final project? Did you use the original size, or enlarge it first?

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