Couture ateliers and designers throughout history have used the art of hand embroidery for one universal purpose; to add a touch of luxury and beauty to their creations.  As one of the oldest art forms in the world, it moves and motivates us to know that we’re preserving such ancient artistry and talent.  Through our travels, we’ve had the opportunity to meet so many exciting & creative designers who appreciate the beauty and value behind embroidery, and that in itself gives us the drive to keep innovating and continue to keep hand embroidery alive.  And for those who’ve not yet explored the world of beading and embellishment, we aim to make the process a little easier. 

There are endless ways to incorporate embroidery into a design, but the two most suitable for Couture and Ready to Wear design houses are –

1) Customized Hand Embroidery (made to the garment pattern)

2) Ready-Made embellished laces and fabrics (which then need to be applique stitched onto the garment). 

Having been in the industry for circa ten years now, we have a longstanding experience of both methods and wanted to provide a quick overview along with the pros and cons.

Image Source: https://mashable.com
Designer Applique Stitching a Beaded Lace onto the Bodice.

Selecting a ready beaded fabric and applique stitching it on to the garment seems like the easiest and obvious choice for a few reasons.  Firstly, there’s no need to deal with external suppliers and go to the trouble of explaining the idea and design philosophy to someone else.  As creative people we are perfectionists, and handing a vision or idea over to someone else to realise can be daunting and challenging.  Ready beaded laces also allow a more spontaneous, organic and personal way of working, whereby fabric can be draped on a mannequin and the design can be tweaked and modified until the very end.  Many designers adore that personal touch, through which they can offer their clients a piece that hours and hours of their own craft and needlework have been invested.  Having spoken to many design houses, the time it can take to complete a gown in this way can be limitless.  It’s undoubtedly a labour intensive way of working that consumes hours and hours of seamstresses’ time, and can often limit the amount of clients that design houses are able to accept.   

Image Source: Weddbook.com
Lace motifs are individually placed and hand sewn.

Having embroidery custom made by an embroidery studio can help save all that time, as the beadwork is made precisely to the shape of the garment pattern, leaving space aside for seam allowance and darts.  Extra motifs, sequins and beads can are also sent along with the finished embroidery to create a seamless and perfect finish.  There’s no need to cut through the embroidery, repair loose beads or waste any embroidery that has been paid for.  It also allows designers to be as creative as they please with their embroidery designs, since the collection of beads, crystals, sequins, pearls and motifs is infinite, and one is not limited by the selection of beaded fabrics available at that time.  It’s also the best way to create a completely unique and exclusive embroidery, since ready-made designs can be supplied to any number of customers.  Of course, outsourcing the embroidery requires a level of trust and confidence in the embroidery studio to wholly understand and translate inspirations and sketches, as well as deliver on time, so picking the company carefully is key.

Ricamour Embroideries
Bespoke Embroidery Custom Made to the Bodice Pattern.
Ricamour Embroideries
Bespoke Embroidery Custom Made to the Dress Pattern.

The beauty of our industry is that there is no right or wrong.  The choice will completely depend on the designer, their preferred way of working, the time they have on hand and the number of clients they need to cater for.  No matter which technique designers decide to use, the objective remains the same – to create Haute Couture that lives up to its true name. That is being able to design something exceptionally unique and beautiful for its client, with no compromise on quality, intricacy and elegance.