Seek Process: Hand Embroidery

As with all hand done processes, I have always had a love of hand embroidery. I first tried my own hand in it while studying fashion in Paris many moons ago. I must admit I was never very good at it myself but I have great appreciation for the skill, patience, and time it requires. You can often tell if something is hand embroidered versus machine embroidered by looking at the backside. With the hand done work, it looks just as beautiful with some tiny knots that can be spotted. 

When we first brought a design that required embroidery to our factory they hired Barbar, who is extremely skilled in this craft. He was so wonderful in fact that he was hired to stay on full time and it has inspired me to keep some element of hand embroidery each season.

We do many trials and samples to get the design, size, and color right before we begin production. Once we are ready to begin, the fabric is laid out flat and stretched taut enough so that no warping happens but also so that the embroidery can be done properly. The design is drawn out using chalk before the embroidery thread makes the design really come alive on the fabric.

Barbar has so much speed and accuracy while doing it, one would be fooled to think it is easy or fast. Just as all we do embodies the slow fashion movement and expert artisan craftsmanship, so does hand done embroidery. When we hand embroider a design, we must factor in much more extra production time. For example, the rainbow embroidery on the Sara Dress takes two days for each dress!

I love the texture embroidery brings to the textile surface and I love that doing it by hand is a real art form that one can wear!


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