I’ve been a fan of HBO’s Game of Thrones for many years and have taken a keen interest in the show’s costumes. I knew very little about the creative mind behind them until I stumbled upon an opportunity to meet London based Michele Carragher, the Embroiderer on a Game of Thrones.
Specialising in hand embroidery and surface design, her work is breath taking. She layers detail on detail, bead work, fabric painting, brocade, thread, applique and then adds textile manipulation to create exquisite pieces of art.
Michele’s embroidery is incorporated into garments, cloaks in addition to the iconic collars from Game of Thrones.
A large piece of cloth is stitched with lots of hand embroidery before being cut away and assembled into a finished collar.
Each collar has it’s own emblem. The Fish Crest from House Stark is embellished on this piece.
Michele’s work also utilises techniques and skills gained whist working in textile restoration.
The starting point for the following designs is lightweight organza and muslin fabrics. Hand drawn lines mark the way ready for the application of embroidery and bead work. The finished garment is then layered and appliqued with the cut away designs.
Patterned and pre-embellished fabrics, lace and brocades are used as a starting point for some of her pieces. Michele explained that this is sometimes taken as a shortcut for selected garments which are unlikely be seen up close on camera. Each fabric is further embellished with even more bead work and embroidery.
Each character has garments themed around their own personality. This includes the choice of colour and the type of technique used to create the design. This piece was made for Daenerys Targaryen and includes her iconic Dragon scales.
Game of Thrones and the White Walker
If you’ve enjoyed this gorgeous Stitchery and want to see more embroidery from Game of Thrones, check out Michele’s website.
Chain stitch is another stitch I have used for many years but had never thought about it in any other way other than in a line or for writing lettering (curves). Experimenting was fantastic. This is a sample of Chain Stitch on Irish Linen using threads including DMC stranded embroidery thread, silk, variegated wool, Appleton Tapestry wool, hand dyed linen, Sylko 50 weight cotton sewing thread and imitation silk.
The following experimental sample was created on hessian mounted onto calico, with threads including silk weaving yarn (on the cone) from Stephen Walters Silk Weavers, Madeira Lame, Appleton Crewel wool and hand dyed linen.
I hope you are inspired to have a play with threads and experiment too!