Taking on board Sian’s comments about balancing and integrating the embroidery - I have added further layers of free machining in red and orange to the background and then rubbed on colour with Markal sticks. After I added the knotwork, I rubbed the colour over the edges as well.
I have also experimented further with handstitching over the knotwork – this time carrying on the lines of the spirals in black. I’m not sure if this is adding anything, it makes a rich surface close-up but doesn’t really show at a distance – my daughter says it looks like someone has just thrown thread around! I’m thinking I would like it if I were making a wallhanging but not for a dance dress (perhaps I should make a companion piece sometime using my original drawings and handstitch).
The photos that follow make this clearer. I have made up the bodice but the skirt front and sleeves are just tacked into place (haven’t done the back yet). The bodice front has the black stitching but the skirt panel does not.
This gives an idea of what it looks like from a distance so you get the effect of the colours blending and the curves. With hindsight, I should have made the knotwork come further down on the bodice, but I was concerned to avoid going over the darts in case they need to be let out as she grows. In this picture, you can see part of the green pleats between the panels. At my daughter’s request, I have left the sleeves just black with metallic stitching so it isn’t too overpowering (although there is no such thing as too much when it comes to these costumes). The downside of adding colour over the top is that much of the sparkle has gone, so I have ordered some tiny rhinestones to scatter.
I have been working really hard on this for the past couple of weeks, hoping it would be ready for a feis this weekend, but obviously, this isn’t going to happen – so fingers crossed for the one in June.