I’ll skip the whole “Ooh, Halloween!” preamble, because anyone who’s been reading this for a while knows how I feel about it (and if you don’t, check the Halloween tag). Spoiler alert: I love it! Obviously, joining the 2018 iteration of the Vintage Halloween Swap on Craftster was a no-brainer. My partner has received her package, so I figured it was safe to post this now.
My partner’s era of choice was the 1920s-1930s, and “witches” was among her favourite themes. This might have pushed me just a wee bit outside my comfort zone – my Halloween aesthetic runs toward “cute” and “cats”, and is just a bit more modern – but one of the fun aspects of swaps is trying something you might not ordinarily try. An Etsy search for “1930s Halloween” yielded, among other things, a high-quality jpeg version of this image:
(This, of course, is a low-quality image courtesy of a Google search.)
She was Art Deco-y and fun, and I decided to interpret her in embroidery. Using my lightbox, I traced the basic outline in pencil before going over those lines with a transfer pen. Once the design was transferred to my fabric, I colour-tinted the image before starting the actual embroidery.
Naturally, I didn’t think to take a picture after transferring and before tinting. This will be a recurring theme.
After setting the crayon, I used a simple backstitch to define most of the image – I had tried stem stitch, because I think it permits more gentle curvature, but it was proving to be too bulky and weird. I used a bit of satin stitch on the witch’s eyes and mouth, an some French knots to create the polka-dot pattern on her sleeve.
Her hands in the original image reminded me of a Barbie doll’s steel-fork fingers, so I attempted to humanize her a little bit. Her overall look reminded me of something, too, but I couldn’t figure out what for the longest time, until it hit me: she’s a tad Claudette Colbert-ish, I think. Same era, same shot-from-the-left, same well-defined lips…
That’s a regular wood/bamboo embroidery hoop she’s framed in (5″), painted black to really make the colours pop.
When I had gone to Michael’s to pick up the fabric, floss, and hoop for her, I saw a display of unfinished wooden light-up decorations, and lo, they had a witch one.
It did not occur to me to take a “before” picture until after I had started applying yellow paint – I told you that was a recurring issue.
Even after one coat of craft acrylic, she looked pretty good, but this picture definitely showed me the need for a second coat – and that I had to paint the edges black as well.
This picture doesn’t really do it justice – lit up in a dark room, it positively glows.
Consider Halloween crafting season to be officially underway – thanks for looking! 🙂