Arachne’s dress



Nicole Sahagian


(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

My design was inspired by the story of Arachne in Ovid's "Metamorphoses". A weaver of fabrics, Arachne, is known to all (amongst humans and gods alike) to be the greatest at her art. The poem goes into the detail of her weaving and embroidery. It ends with Pallas so envious of her art that she turns Arachne into a spider so she would have to weave for all time.

I took a design of clothing that would have been common in that era and chose purple fabric that the poem mentions Arachne using and I created a spider web embroidered belt as a way of hinting at what would become of Arachne by the end of her story.
Always being a great lover of ancient literature as well as eight legged creatures, I couldn't resist the call of her story as I begin my adventure into the realm of sewing and garment creation.

Outline the construction…

I used linen as at the time of the myth fabric of linen or wool was woven. With the climate being quite warm I figured linen would be best. I chose to hand sew the entire piece to go for a bit of historical accuracy.

In creating the belt, I chose to embroider the spider web design onto the fabric. I knew I wouldn't be able to do metalworking that traditionally the belt would be constructed out of so instead, I chose a thread coated in metal. This was probably my biggest challenge. As I embroidered the metallic fibers tangled and split often and also created pulls in the the delicate linen. This was truly my first project I've ever sewed so every task was a learning experience and me doing it for the first time.




  1. Avatar Avery on March 11, 2021 at 6:42 pm

    This is amazing! I love the color palette and your embroidery work on the belt, it’s amazing. Great work!

  2. Avatar Kristina on March 11, 2021 at 6:46 pm

    Great work! Also, wink twice if you are reincarnation of Arachne.

    • Avatar Lili on March 13, 2021 at 1:01 am

      I love the colors and design of your piece. It is simple and beautiful and the little spider web embroidery is so lovely and sweet. I adore your characterization of Arachne.

    • Avatar BurstAngel 75 on March 16, 2021 at 9:00 pm

      Very elegant!

  3. Avatar Cherie on March 11, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    What a beautiful interpretation! The colours are wonderful and I love the way it fits you~ The hand woven web detailing is perfect and I admire the patience that must have required! 🕷✨

  4. Avatar Phanuel Jagna Levinsen on March 11, 2021 at 10:58 pm

    The colour choice is so pretty and i love the spiderweb decorations! Really embodies the story well!

  5. Avatar Rebecca on March 12, 2021 at 1:25 am

    Lovely work! Everything is so well-considered, and you look great wearing it.

  6. Avatar Jocelyn Lofstrom on March 12, 2021 at 1:33 am

    Excellent! Love the embroidery. Great job!

  7. Avatar Elowen Blackthorn on March 12, 2021 at 4:00 am

    I love this, very pretty, perfect for history bounding, and I love the story of Arachne!

  8. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 7:57 am

    Such an awesome portrail of the charecter, LOVING the golden spiderwebs- very clever

  9. Avatar Nicola Taylor on March 12, 2021 at 6:11 pm

    Very well done, I love the spiders web embroidery.

  10. Avatar Lissa on March 12, 2021 at 10:31 pm

    What an impressive first sewing project! I really love the way you’ve stitched the top seams of the sleeves, allowing little “cold arm” slits to be loose between caught seams stitched together. The finishing there looks very neat. Thank you for sharing your dress.

  11. Avatar Steven Saltwell on March 13, 2021 at 2:35 pm

    I really like the colour of this dress… I instantly saw ancient Greece in it. Congrats on the feat conquered.

  12. Avatar Cassandra on March 14, 2021 at 3:57 am

    I think this is wonderful. It looks like Greek Theater.

  13. Avatar Valerie Meachum on March 15, 2021 at 12:47 am

    What a beautiful first project! And a lovely interpretation of one of my favorite stories from myth.

  14. Avatar Joshua Graham on March 18, 2021 at 5:54 pm

    beautiful story and I love the webs

  15. Avatar Alex on March 18, 2021 at 8:26 pm

    The dress is fantastically evocative and the embroidery really takes it to the next level!

  16. Avatar AnnaCatherine Sendgikoski on March 20, 2021 at 3:37 am

    The color is beautiful. I love the flow too its very nice. For a very first garment, you did exceptionally well! Way better than I could! Thank you!

  17. Avatar Laura Ingalls Gunn on March 21, 2021 at 10:39 pm

    What a splendid color and the embroidery is amazing. Bravo!

  18. Avatar Peta Pendlebury on March 22, 2021 at 5:48 pm

    Goodness – what a challenge you set yourself for a first project and it turned out so well. I’ve just worked with metal thread and it is a challenge whatever stage you are at I can assure you! I love the loose, drapy feel that you have accomplished that links to the ancient world so well. Fabulous.

  19. Avatar Carol Phillips on March 24, 2021 at 4:51 am

    Thank you for reminding us of our foundational traditions. You made a real garment that fits and suits you using a difficult fabric. A lesser designer would have been left with a grain bag (not a potato sack, of course — grin)

  20. Avatar Andi on March 25, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    This is so well done! I love the color choice and the spider webs on the belt are such a wonderful nod to the myth!

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