Entering the Secret Garden



Christina Reynods


(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

In all sewing project I have worked on in the past, I always incorporate a bit of nature. Nature is extremely important to me as I believe that humanity should be more involved in the natural world. We rely on it for life and as such should live life in it. However, choosing what I would incorporate was a bit more difficult.
On previous projects, I chose the designs based upon the use of the garment or something culturally significant to me. I chose roses and forget-me-nots because of their cultural meaning. Roses appear commonly in my Jewish and Slavic ancestry. In the Song of Songs, the Jewish people are seen by God as a “Rose among thorns”. In slavic lands, the pink rose stands for love, grace, and gentleness. Forget-me-knots have been in my embroidery before for their meaning of faithful love. Blue is important to my faith as it is the color of remembrance and remembering all God has done and His faithfulness. The dress is made from linen which is considered a pure fiber in the Torah.

Outline the construction…

For this dress I used two Truly Victorian patterns to be made into one dress. I used the Bell Skirt and the 1903 Shirtwaist. I knew from previous experience that the sleeve on the 1903 Shirtwaist pattern was not suitably full so I drafted a fuller sleeve by using the outline of the original sleeve pattern to expand the width. I removed fullness from the front bodice piece to bring it back into the 1890s period. I used linen I had already owned with embroidery thread. I had several challenges when making this dress. The garment entered for the competition was going to be gold-worked jacket but I didn’t like the finished work. I had to find a new project on time. I decided on the dress in order to stay on theme. The original embroidery was going to be needle painting, however, as I researched I fell in love with cross-stitch, though I had failed in the past. I quickly found the designs I liked but I had tried cross-stitch once before. It had turned out horribly. My issue came from not knowing how to embroider by cross-stitching. This project it was a bit of a guessing game that thankfully turned out beautifully as I learned a new skill. There are several places where I lost count and had to deviate from the pattern I followed to add a row or column. My photographs show a full train; it has since been made to walking length.




  1. Avatar Laura Pelofske on April 26, 2023 at 9:24 pm

    This is stunning and inspiring! I love everything about it. The color, the shape, the decoration, the linen, and the story. Well done!

  2. Avatar Caridad on April 28, 2023 at 6:18 pm

    the cross stitching looks so good

  3. Avatar Stella of Stellarland on April 30, 2023 at 11:33 am

    10 out of 10 as something I would cherish and wear!

  4. Avatar Sarah Sarah Coombs on April 30, 2023 at 3:12 pm

    This is so lovely, well done!

  5. Avatar Angela Karl on May 4, 2023 at 6:24 pm

    This is sew elegant, from the sleeves to the cross stich!

    • Avatar Anna-Catherine Sendgikoski on May 7, 2023 at 6:28 pm

      Wow, so beautiful! I love the skirt! Well done!

  6. Avatar CC Page on May 8, 2023 at 5:23 am

    This is gorgeous and it fits you beautifully. I can’t believe this is only your second time cross-stitching though! That’s way too good.

  7. Avatar Holly Holly Delaney on May 10, 2023 at 7:59 pm

    Lovely dress! It fits you so well and looks fantastic on you. The color and embroidery are perfect!

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