There was some discussion in the comments section of the prior embellishment posts about "The Fear of Overembellishment." I believe that if you follow "The Rule of Three" you won't ever have to worry about overembellishing a garment.
This rule simply stated is that a garment should not have more than three pieces of embellishment on it...to paraphrase Coco Chanel, once dressed in all your finery, take off one piece of jewelry and you're ready...basically that's how the Rule of Three works...only three types/pieces of embellishment on a garment...I think of it as a theme...no more than three elements to the theme.
Now, if my garment has buttons on it, that is one element! And I can only add two more, plus the buttons must work with whatever trim or embellishment that I've chosen for the garment.
If you stick with the "Rule of Three," you can also use it effectively when fabric is the trim or embellishment detailing.
~This green linen border print - the border is the embellishment at the hem of the dress and on the tie.
~and this border print is on the sleeves, on the banding and in the tie
But see how a theme is developed and the garment tells a story. I first learned about the Rule of Three from the Ronda Chaney book, "Make It Your Own" which for a time was my embellishment bible! The Rule of Three is MY first rule of embellishing.
My second rule is subtle is so much more effective.
What I mean by this is that you should pick an embellishment that enhances your garment and does not detract from or overwhelm the design of the garment.
This Barrie Pace dress is a perfect example...
See how the subtle use of color in the piping adds to the dress. It punches up the original color without overshadowing it.
Or if I may, Marji is making an awesome jacket for her sister. The trim that she has picked for the garment enhances it and even the buttons play their part!
When embellishing a garment, think about what you are trying to say and use the trim to enhance the conversation...because isn't a wonderfully designed garment all about a great conversation between the fabric, the fit, the styling and the embellishment?!
My third rule of embellishment is - plan, plan, plan!
In the conceptual stages, I work out what trim or embellishments I am going to add to the garment. That way they are not afterthoughts but integral parts of the garment. It also makes sewing the trim on so much easier and the end result has a more professional and clean finish.
So how does someone who has a fear of embellishment begin?
Well this is something that is also addressed in Ronda's book. Her advice is to open your eyes, explore the world around you and t-r-y to look at things differently. She gives a series of examples, which I think of as exercises, that are designed to encourage you to think out of the box when making design decisions. I know to some of us this is intuitive and that others struggle with it but if you open yourself to the experience and are willing to go with the flow, I believe that you may surprise yourself with what you can imagine.
Personally, I love trims and embellishments on garments! I love the extra detail or flavor that it gives a garment...like all of the pieces have been carefully assembled and constructed to tell one amazing story. So I am always looking for opportunities to tell that story...and you can too!
The next embellishment post will be about MY technique for applying embellishment ~ well my technique for my two favorite types of embellishment...piping and binding. I will discuss what methods work for me and I will invite others to share their techniques...because I have found that there is more than one road to reach a destination! And maybe someone has found another path that we can all enjoy and spend the day exploring!