Spring is right around the corner (I hope I hope I hope… stupid Minnesota) and I’ve started feeling like my winter wardrobe is super drab. Greys were my color all winter long but now I’m dreaming of light tees in bright colors, like this super pretty ombre tee from Lucky Brand. I found it on pinterest, but after a quick search around the appears to sadly be only one in existence on amazon, at least when I typed this there was.
Never fret, this tee is actually super easy to replicate! I’ll show you how…
First what you need is a plain white tee and some white lace embroidery accents. This example uses these new lace neckline applique designs, but actually you can applique on any kind of freestanding lace or even use this technique with cutwork! The important part is whatever design you use, you stitch in white cotton, because that’s whats going to let us perfectly blend our lace in with our ombre.
You can either hand stitch the lace on like applique like we did in this tutorial, or stitch it directly on to the shirt. Either works!
Next, get some of that awesome soft fabric paint. You can find this stuff in most fabric and craft stores, and it comes in tons of colors. Make sure you get the soft fabric paint, this is the kind that will sink into your fabric like dye, instead of sit on top like a screenprint. Lightly spray the top of your tee and the lace, getting lighter in your application as you go down.
The paint will perfectly dye both your tee and your lace together, so the ombre will blend seamlessly. Easy!
From a plain white tee to a springy fashion statement, it’s easy to get the look of the original tee with simple supplies. Plus this way you can choose a t-shirt style that suits you, and pick whatever color for the ombre you like. As long as you use a cotton tee and white cotton thread for your lace, it will all blend and dye beautifully.
Cutwork is a classic embroidery technique where portions of fabric are cut out and filled with a lace-like embroidery. Versions of it have been around before, but never in the classic Urban Threads style… until now! In this new Dark Heart design, pretty lace covers a cut-out shape in your fabric, surrounded by one-color roses digitized with incredible dimension.
We fell in love with this style once we found out how easy it is to get a dramatic effect. You’ll be amazed how simple this process is… check out the tutorial to see how!
I love that we have so many international stitchers among Urban Threadsters, and it seems like a lot of them have a very entrepreneurial spirit. This week’s Urban Entrepreneurs feature comes all the way from Finland, with the awesome and punktastic stitching of Laura Lipponen from the online store Susitaika. We’ve seen Laura’s work before, when she took the amazing plunge into digitizing her own work. She’s since taken on her own business, both on Etsy and on her own website.
Today Laura joins us to talk a little about her online store, and shares some of her self-modeled embroidered wares…
What started you into embroidery?
My path to embroidery starts with my love of making my own clothes. When I was a kid, I made some curtains into cool tops. Got teased at school, OF COURSE. But still kept my individual voice like a boss.
I wanted to make clothes, but my mom’s Singer and I – we did NOT get along. So I begged for my mom to buy me a new machine. (Actually, the Singer DID have some sort of a fault that even a repair guy couldn’t do anything about it – they would’ve needed a new part, but since the machine was so old and that particular part had the tendency to break, nothing could be done.)
When we went to the store to buy a new machine for me, they were getting rid of every Husqvarna Viking machine, they stopped carrying that label. I wanted a cool looking Bernina, but there was one sewing machine with an embroidery head (Husqvarna Viking Platinum Plus) that was on such a ridiculous sale price that my mom made me try it. And I fell in love! That’s when I was introduced to embroidery.
Where did you first find Urban Threads?
I found UT on Craftster! Niamh had posted the fantabulous tute of the wood burning leaf image. To this day that is still my FAVOURITE wood burning project – such a beautiful picture. Not surprisingly I’ve embroidered that picture of the leaves a hundred times…
What made you take the plunge into starting your own store?
My parents have had a business of their own since forever and I have many friends who have their own companies as well. It’s very common here in Finland to start your own business. So I did. Some of my friends told me they’d order stuff from me if they could deduct it in their taxes, and for that I needed the VAT number.
What kinds of folks are your customers? Who do you hope to cater to?
Gothic chic and geeky types. I look for people with a sense of humor and a touch of the dark in their souls. People who understand writers such as Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams. The kinds of people who I automatically feel are my friends.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you began?
Errrms… I’m sure I just learned a lesson this week… Ohh, it might be scheduling things. It’s VERY important to have a strict schedule, so you can keep up with seasonal sales, the markets you’re going to go to sell at and all that. The more structure you have in your life the better. I love TO-DO lists and even painted a black board on my door so I can wipe things off when I’m done.
Where would you like to see your shop in one year? Any fun stuff planned for the future?
I’m hoping that in a year I will be mostly done with school and can actually start providing myself with my business. At the moment I’ve had this problem of doing definitely too many things at once, so it has taken its toll. I’ve had two jobs on top of my own business and now I’ve had one job, business and school! It’s definitely been hard. But this summer anything has started to seem possible again. For a year I wasn’t so sure. But now I am! The thing that I’m looking forward most is that I’ve been talking about some cooperative things to do with some local artists. Kinda like your UT Labs.
I love the dark and punk attitude that Laura puts into all her wares, and the big possibilities for the future. With the guts to not only try digitizing, but jump into her own business, I’m sure the future projects and collaborations Laura takes on will be just amazing! If you want to grab some of your own gothic stitchy wares, check out her Etsy store or Susitaika.com.
Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here and join our gang of Urban Entrepreneurs? Send us an e-mail at email@example.com with a link to your store/website or attach sample photos, and you could be featured!
Now, when I say “viral” here I don’t mean it in the way that overconfident marketing execs mean it, though these things could go viral all on their own and that would be pretty meta.
No, these awesome machine embroidered doilies are viral in as such that they are designs from artist Laura Splan based on viral structures such as SARS, HIV, Influenza, etc.
From Laura’s website-
Doilies is a series of computerized machine embroidered doilies. The design of each doily is based on a different viral structure. The lace doily has traditionally referenced designs and motifs from nature. Furthermore, these decorative objects would be heirlooms, handed down from one generation to the next. The work explores the “domestication” of microbial and biomedical imagery. Many recent events, epidemics, and commercial products have brought this imagery into our living rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms. Bio-terrorism, SARS, and antibacterial soaps alike have all heightened our awareness of the microbial world. Doilies serve as a metaphor for the way we have adapted our everyday lives to these now everyday concerns. Here domestic artifacts and heirlooms manifest the psychological heredity of our cultural anxieties.
It’s interesting how much these remind me of these designs that are used used for tissue repair after surgery. Maybe there’s just something in the nature of the circular, organic shape? However one is designed to repair, and these, as the viral design would imply, would do the exact opposite.
I know I’m always excited to share new series with you, but this one is one we’ve been working on for awhile, and it’s something very special to us. Today we’re introducing our exquisite new series Evenfall Lace.
Usually as part of our Lab projects, I collaborate with a fellow designer to bring machine embroidery to life by combining it with something else… gothic gowns, blazers, even chairs. With this series, I wanted to show that machine embroidery is something totally magical all on its own. We know that it can be impressive when used with couture creations, but its beauty and potential really shine when stunning creations can be achieved by all kinds of machine stitchers and without the assistance of anything else at all. The magic of downloading a digital file and bringing a delicate lace creation to life straight from your machine is what reminds me that machine embroidery really is amazing.
And pure magic…
This new Evenfall Lace series is a collection of seven freestanding lace designs, all carefully designed to work in all size hoops. These pieces range from simple things like butterflies and feathers to more complex designs that make full chokers and masks.
The word “evenfall” is another word for twilight, and represents that moment in the day when things hang in a beautiful balance of transition, even just for a moment. The themes of the lace are all natural motifs mixed with that hint of darkness that twilight brings. As it can be stitched in cotton, the lace itself can also be dyed to mimic that beautiful transition of dusk, and the results are absolutely enchanting.
Simpler designs like feathers and butterflies are designed with a fusion of traditional and Battenburg lace styles, so they have both the weight and structure of traditional lace with some of the more delicate qualities of Battenburg.
Even better, we worked hard to design all these pieces so that some version of each designs works for all hoop sizes. Larger pieces, like the Evenfall mask, come in parts that are easily assembled after stitching. This way all designs can be stitched even with a 4″x4″ hoop, and you still get the stunning results of a larger piece of lace.
This flexibility also allows for some creativity in the construction. Don’t want an asymmetrical mask? Pick your favorite side and stitch its mirrored version for your second half. Basically, it’s three masks in one.
Chains and charms bring simple pieces like our choker and cuff to life with just simple embellishment. All it took were some jewelry pliers and some supplies from our local craft store. Other pieces like our cuff, above, just need the simple addition of ribbons or chains to make it ready to wear.
Other pieces can have have life as multiple creations. This piece functions beautifully as a hair barrette with just the addition of a hair stick, but also makes a delicate lace cuff if you lace a bit of leather or ribbon through the sides and wear it on your wrist.
Feathers become a multitude of things, from the simplicity of a single earring to a full size set of beautiful lace and feather wings. Wear them as charms on a necklace or use them to build elegant creations of your own.
Just because there are seven lace pieces doesn’t mean there are only seven things you can make. Scraps of fabric and multiples of our lace edging brought a chandelier to life, and we used a combination of our cuff design and parts of the choker to construct these delicate lace heels. A little glue and some stitches and you have a pair of one-of-a-kind shoes that could have walked straight off the runway. That is perhaps the real magic of this series… its potential to be all kinds of amazing things.
With this series, we hope to show that machine embroidery needs no other accessories, gowns or beautiful surfaces to live. It’s enchanting all on its own, with the right designs and a creative imagination.
With all the wizardry of modern technology, downloading a digital file that lets you create an endless collection of stunning and delicate lace accessories right out of your embroidery machine really feels a bit like magic.
And when it ends up looking like this, it’s not hard to believe a little magic is possible.
Grab the whole pack and get stitching for an amazing fall season, and check out our tutorial page to see how to create these magical pieces.
Want to see this collection in action? Watch our lookbook video of the Evenfall Lace series, and see how some of these pieces came together.
As with all these projects, none of it would have come together without some amazing help. All photos where marked were shot by the amazing Karrah Kobus, styling done by our usual style guru Sara Capers, and the video was shot and edited by Mike Ross.
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.