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Behind the Scenes of Twan Lentjes Creations

Twan Lentjes shares his journey on how he used Wilcom EmbroideryStudio and machine embroidery to create classic hand-embroidery effects.

This is my story

I set my goals high, and with aspirations of working in theatre costume design, I decide on creating a beautifully embroidered habit à la française for my final year project. 

Is this crazy?  I don’t know anything about machine embroidery.

My journey begins

Fabric samples start to arrive, and within a few days, I also receive my new software, Wilcom’s EmbroideryStudio e4. Super excited to work on my project with Wilcom, the gold standard in embroidery software.

After many online chats with the Wilcom team and their educational videos, I realise I can create what I need. Here I go…

I start slowly, and eventual one section of the garment is complete! It all started with one leaf (which I mirror to create the second leaf). The design is built up of many smaller parts.

Next, I start on the flowers with the same technique as above. Once the flowers are done, all I need to do, is clean up the stitches which run along the left and ensure my repeat works. I will probably add imperfections into that line as it’s quite uneven on the real suit as well.

(By the way, the colours on my computer screen are not the same as the online shade card).

Embroidery Threads

The first batch of coloured threads arrive! Once I get the shade card, I can make better selections, but for now, I have to select from the online chart… I’m not sure what colours I’m going to get.

To my surprise, the threads on the cone also look different from the embroidered threads.

“How exciting! It’s come to live as embroidery.
I’m a perfectionist, so there is still some refining to do. 

I move on to the buttons. These buttons are so much fun to make. Surprisingly quick to create. Now that I have the thicker thread for the edge of the large button, I will keep testing the different settings to get the perfect look. 

This weekend I decide to change the design of the large button (bottom one of the 3), it’s looking less cluttered now, and I’m much happier. I also create a design for the small buttons and turned them into actual buttons. The base fabric for the waistcoat will be cream, so this will provide a beautiful contrast.

I finally finish cleaning up my garment design, I am hopeful the machine will stitch it faster and with fewer trims. Let’s see tomorrow.

It stitched in 35 minutes, including all the thread changes. Happy with the result but still some tweaking to do... I’m getting there! Time to relax this weekend.

Finally, I’ve completed my patterns. It took me forever, but I worked it out.

It was a combination of flat and standing pattern-cutting. 

Collar, pocket flaps, and back panel are complete.

Sewing the collar was proving difficult.  Eventually, I had to sew it in by hand. 

So excited to see it come together.

I am thrilled with
  this beautiful 1900s lace. The likeness
to the original lace
 is remarkable. 

“Feeling absolutely shattered after weeks of 12 hours days at university and more work at home. Today, I have access to my model, and I’m really happy with how the fitting turned out. Still tons of work to do but it’s taking shape.”

Feeling close now 😉  Next I embroider the waistcoat fabric. I still have about 50 buttons to make and over 1000 French knots to create. 

I’ve finished the many French Knots for the coat. Just the waistcoat left to finish and of course, there are more buttons

… and 17 buttonholes!

Super happy with the outcome of my “Real Lives” project @wimbledonual

This Habit à la Française is based on an original from @gemeentemuseum which was worn by Otto van Randwijck in 1790.

The digital embroidery was designed with Wilcom EmbroideryStudio and proudly digitised and embroidered by myself with hand-made French Knots.

Photographer & costume maker: Twan Lentjes
Actor: @petesjam

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