Wool meets Thorns



Effi Benalue


(click images to to enlarge)

Other Credits

made for my friend

Outline the story …

A few years ago I decided to turn my life around, not only in my personal but also in my professional life. After leaving my academic studies behind and taking some time of consideration in order to decide where to go, my passion for the history of fashion fueled my decision to go back to school and take an apprenticeship to become a bespoke tailor.

During the apprenticeship wool became my best friend. Since I also started to learn knitting and spinning and to differentiate between certain sheep breads and their wool, the fascination of this natural material with all its unique properties only grows. So it was no hardship to chose two high quality regional produced wool fabrics for my certification exam. The colours were chosen accordingly to my intended modern touch crossing my natural-centered topic.

To make an embroidery was a given requirement in the exam, but what pattern should I do?
Since I already tried to include some elements of the early 20th century fashion in the silhouette, the symbolism in the souffragette movement and the general meaning in the language of flowers led to the thistles – also as metaphors for my own struggles to become who I am today.

The materials and symbols of nature became a tool to make a simple modern exam garment my own personal political-philosophical message.

Outline the construction…

Since this is my certification exam garment, the general conditions were given by the examination commission, like „trouser suit“, pockets, two-seam sleeves etc. Challenge accepted - I tried to put my own design over these limitations and especially to combine my passion for historical fashion with a modern 21st century suit.

Pattern construction wasn’t a big part of my apprenticeship, so I took an instruction book and started a classic pen-on-paper-construction for a basic suit. After the fitting I proceeded to alter the design. The sleeves were a nightmare since I had to insert the sleeves with a smooth top shaping but also wanted a lot of Volume. This needed a few adjustments which I’ve also done by cutting, adjusting, cutting again on the paper and tested it with several mock ups.

Choosing the materials was a learning curve. Originally I intended to use natural fibers exclusive, but I had to compromise for interlining and lining – both because of availability and quality issues.

My design was also limited by the exam time, since I’d have to be able to sew, iron and embroider the blazer and trousers within a maximum timeframe of 40 hours. This made me focus on the silhouette of the blazer and I chose to make the trousers more simple – the colour made them spectacular enough.

The workmanship was balanced between the time limitation and crafts; handstitches where used for the hemlines, lapel collar, insides like shoulder pads, button holes and for adding the lining.




  1. Avatar Abigail Lamb on May 8, 2023 at 10:39 pm

    The quality of this is wonderful and is just what I aspire to. Very inspiring 🙂

  2. Avatar Steffi Wee on May 9, 2023 at 10:40 pm

    This is so well constructed and the little embroidered details

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