I'm just about done with the front panel embroidery work. While I'm not entirely happy with the uneven laydown of the green hex cuts, I think this is the nature of the bead shape and I need to adjust my technique to compensate. Perhaps weaving a peyote or modified brick stitch between rows to force them into position, which is what I did on some of the sharper turns with good results. (My Facebook friends have been more than patient with my endless progress shots and I thank them for their kindness. I just get so excited about the Shiny.)
At any rate, Bird #2 is going to hit a stop point soon, because when dealing with more than two colors of beads I like to be at a table. Once he's done, I will affix the crystal and begin on the back embroidery. This is much, much smaller and shouldn't take more than a few hours. Ripping out the interfacing proved to be just as time consuming as the embroidery, so I'm going to look for an alternate material for pattern work.
The back of the beads will be sealed with a 50/50 mix of polyacrylic and water, which will allow the appplique to retain its flexibility and ensure all my knots stay down. I was unable to find a suitable matching buckle for the back, so I'm just going to make one. Since I ordered the larger bag of gunmetal grays by accident, I have more than enough to create a buckle from a cubical right angle weave and plenty left for Stitch's Pink Panther outfit. (Will need Fuschia crystal as well...)
All in all, this has been an incredibly enjoyable project, and as it's winding down I feel a bit sad. I can't wait to see it on the ice, yet this means I will soon say goodbye. Ah well, lots of pictures. I will embroider another bird to keep in the portfolio as a hard example of my work, and hopefully get some commission work out of this deal.