I spent an inordinately long time staring at this image of Cersei's bird embroidery trying to get colors, ideas and what to stitch when in my head, when I suddenly realized I was seeing something rather unexpected.
Look at the mottled center part of the red breast of the bird - what I see there is red velvet, not embroidery. Specifically something that looks a lot like red leopard print velvet! So appliqued to the center of my birds breast is a tiny piece of red velvet leopard print!
But I'll back up a bit and tell you my process.
First I found images of the birds online, this exact photo in fact. One I blew up for reference, the others I shrank down until I felt they were the right size. Then I used a light box and traced the outlines of the different parts of the bird onto my silk organza with a sharp mechanical pencil.
Next I stitched down the bit of velvet and a piece of aqua Italian mesh ribbon (cut open and stretched into the right shapes) to the bird. The center of the velvet I wanted to show, but the mesh is there more to add body and provide color in case my stitches don't completely cover it.
Then I started embroidering on top of the mesh and velvet. I'd brought my ipad with me to the embroidery store and picked out threads I thought would match the original, mostly I'm just "drawing" with thread using rather large single stitches, other times I'm doing outlines or chain stitches.
I probably won't sew the feathers onto the bird until I've appliqued it to the gown. I found the perfect source for the orange ones and am still poking around for the best ones for the tail. I think too that Michele Carragher may have sewn feathers onto parts of the wings, a few areas look rather "fluffy" to me, but I think I'll pass on that, for this first one at least, or maybe add them later. Although I do plan to go back over these with the silver striped embroidery thread in in the places you see it above I've gotten fir first bird basically finished.
|This took 3 hours|
|This took an additional hour, and another hour finished it - 5 hours total|
One kind of fun thing - having the Italian mesh as an under layer means that tiny bits of it shine though giving it a very subtle sparkle. I figure this first bird will be put down low since it's my first one and will probably be the worst of the bunch. I just need to do two more left facing and 2 right facing birds then it's on to the dress! :P