Sunday, 18 January 2009

Embroidery Question

Some of you will remember the hood project that I began several months ago. I have completed one roundel (of 8). I have the second roundel outlined on the hood itself.
I have finally gotten back to this project. I am finding the large frame that it is on to be very unweildly. I can work with it, as I have a very nice stand. However it is very cumbersome to move the stand in place and out of place when I want to get up. I also recently entered my 7th C Persian sleeves in the Kingdom A&S Competition. One of the comments I received recommended embroidering onto a separate piece of fabric and applying that fabric to the end product to help in placement of the embroidery. I know there is a lot of debate as to whether or not this was a medieval practice or is embroidery was taken off aging garments and then placed on new garments. I think either practice is reasonable. I am concerned about the placement of the roundels if I embroidery directly onto the hood now. As I will be spending literally hundreds of hours on this project, I think I would be absolutely heartbroken if the roundels did not look right on the final project. Then again I'm worried about how applying them as well. I worry how applied roundels might effect the way the hood lies and getting the edges finished well and sewing them on without showing the other fabric.

So I'm looking for advice and other's experience. What have you done in the past, for any kind of garment, what would you recommend?

Thanks for "listening",


Racaire said...

Dear Jahanara,
that's a very good question.
I decided from project to project, from material to material and from technique to technique.
At the moment I am working at Anya's Laurel cloak - to work the couching at wool would be more difficult and also I don't know how many roundels I will place on the cloak at the end and where - therefore I work them seperately on linen fabric, but I think I will do the pattern in Satin Stitch directly on the wool fabric because it is rather thin and I don't want to apply every detail one by one and also don't want to put an extra band with the embroidery on the cloak and the combination of wool fabric and the Satin Stitch works very well (I tried it at a very small sample to decide with which thread I will work ....
Hope that helps a little :)

Anonymous said...

Sorry to answer this after such a time, but I knew I'd seen your answer _somewhere_ and wanted to find the source. Yes, both methods were used. Elenora of Tuscany's burial gown has embroidery that was cut off another gown and applied onto that gown (ref: Janet ARnold, Patterns of Fashion). Also, Benvenuto Cellini wrote in his 'Il Libro dell'Arte' in the early 15th century, that when embroidery on velvet was wanted, you got much better results by embroidering the motifs onto thin silk, and applique-ing the embroidered pieces onto the velvet (ref: Medieval Craftsmen series, Embroiderers, by Kay Staniland). Staniland notes that sometimes the thin silk was embroidered then applique', and sometimes stretched over the velvet to keep the embroidery threads out of the pile, and embroidery done thru both fabrics. Also among the Hardiwick Hall textiles is a piece of linen with 'slips' of plants embroidered on it, and at least one of the plants cut out to put on another piece of cloth. That was the Santina Levey book but, I'm sorry, I have forgotten the title.
If you embroider your roundels on fairly thin linen, cut them out with a 5cm or so seam allowance, turn the seam allowance under when you stitch them down, and if you can still see linen around the edges, maybe couch a cord around over anything that shows. Thin linen is (as you probably know) very flexible; it shouldn't affect the hang of the wool any more than the embroidery would (less, because if you embroidered directly onto the wool, the embroidery thread might distort the weave). I look forward to seeing the hood; I've very much admired your Persian embroidery.
Susana Narvaez

Anonymous said...

Well, I should clarify that - both methods were certainly used in Europe in the later middle ages. I don't have any sources covering Persia.

Susana N.