I finally finished the first redwork sleeve for my smock. After I posted it on FB, there were many questions that led to this more detailed post. First things first, here is the first sleeve off the frame.
redwork and plaited gold braid sleeve number one
In the beginning this sleeve was not going to be embellished so was cut out.
- Lesson learned: don’t cut your piece out til you have embroidered it. The first sleeve I had done a very small hem around 3 sides, this did not hold up so well when i was dressing the frame.
- Lesson learned: when drawing lines verify that your lines stay dark enough to see so you are able to follow the spacing. As you can see the spacing is off due to lines “disappearing” during my embroidery.
- Lesson learned: slow but steady wins the race… I learned to step away when I go frustrated with tangles or knots. Pushing through usually meant taking out hours of work..
- Lesson learned: Be present. This is a very difficult one as I am a squirrel and always want to do several things at once. The more I immersed myself into this project the more I enjoyed the progress.
As I start the second sleeve I will try and walk through the process in more detail than was done with the first sleeve.
Remembering the difficulties I had lacing the frame with the small hem, I chose to increase the width of the hem and use two rows of running stitches with a back stitch about every 5 stitches. This will hopefully create a more stable edge. ( yes I forgot to take a picture)
Step number two is dressing the frame. I am using a scroll frame as that is what I had available. The herringbone stitch is used to attach the upper and lower sleeve to the scroll frame.
Herringbone stitch, this is the cuff end of the sleeve.
Once both upper and lower ends were secured, I was ready to start lacing the sides. Button hole thread was the strong and easy to work with. Double strands were used where the space was larger and then decreased to a single strand as the lacing progressed up the sleeve. I have tried various methods that do not take as much time to set up but this method seems to work the best for me.
full frame laced.
And a close up of one side:
left side lacing
Ideally this would have been an uncut piece. The lacing was a challenge that had to be approached carefully and slowly to create an even tension on the small hem..
Finally to start the redwork..
and the second sleeve begins
Part 2: Duplicating the first sleeve pattern. The first sleeve pattern was very much “messed up” with the guidelines vanishing as the piece was worked on. Working out a feasible way to create the same look with just measuring and counting threads will be an practice in patience.
The Past 7 months have been a whirlwind of change. As the saying goes :
“When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.” ― Alexander Graham Bell
For a couple of months I looked at the doors closing as an ending, my life frozen in place. As the days and weeks passed i began to see all the open doors. Stepping through takes courage, or the ability to just run and jump, but once you step over the threshold the world brightens.
I am now in my very own home!! Yes, I said mine not rented!!! And, it has acorns and oak leaves in the wrought iron used on the front patio and by windows. This house has an added addition of a “craft/sewing room” that will stay that way. Great windows with lots of natural light. Plenty of space for all the toys and a very large closet..
My helper cats are loving actually having carpeting in the bedrooms instead of concrete. I have a full kitchen ( all the drawers are there, there is a fridge and dishwasher, and most no more bugs!!) There is something great about owning..
As the process to purchase moved forward I continued to embroider and sew. Now that the boxes are mostly unpacked and the settling is finished I have time to refocus on my creative side. In the next couple of weeks I will be posting those adventures.
As time continues to move forward and more doors open it is my hope to inspire others to create.. Remember as doors close, turn around, there are others that have opened!
Now for a couple sneak peaks of the coming postings:
Finally finished my dress and got the basic underpinnings all gathered and it rained. Here are pictures minus the feathers for the hat and the sleeves due to the rain. Have the basics figured out and now for the real dress. Need to pull out stash and see what I have to do the next one. 🙂
Plans for next few months: continue working on the embroidery for the new smock, cut and start shell for a doublet, learn about pad stitching and practice, finish patterning and cutting a farthingale and finally do a second body using silk as cover. 🙂
Filed under SCA, the Journey
The Corset is finished. I am truly glad I did a prototype first as there are things I will do different for my silk one. It was a great learning experience and I will post a more complete description in the following weeks. but here is the final product.
So many small fixes to do to the pattern but all in all for my first totally hand sewn one i am happy.
It has been a few days.. I have been working on more of the hand sewing, cutting and placing the reeds. Now on to the eyelets..
After working on the needlebooks a friend asked me if I would like to barter for a brickstitch pouch. She has inspired so many that I was determined to embark on a secret project. This is extremely hard, as sharing what project is being worked on and the tips and tricks that are learned during the process, is an important part of what I do.
First I had to find a pattern. There are several great sites to go to. http://www.wymarc.com is a wonderful website that was a great help. Between that and searching images I finally came up with the design I wanted to start with.
To set up the embroidery I needed a slat frame. I purchased basic stretcher bars and put them together. On the top and bottom I attached a stable strip of sturdy cotton. I then stretched base fabric (cotton) and attached to both the upper and lower bars by using a herringbone stitch. The next step is to whip stitch the side onto the frame. To keep this taut I tried to keep the insertions evenly spaced apart. (approx 1′ apart) using a sturdy cotton thread. Once you have secured your base fabric place your working fabric , measured and cut, onto the base fabric. Pin in place then carefully cut out a window leaving about 1″ of base fabric on back. turn in excess base fabric and secure the working fabric ( in this case aida) onto the base with a herringbone stitch. You now are ready to start your embroidery.
Back picture of dress frame with Aida attached
back view close up of side whip stitch and attachment of aida cloth
As I look back it would have been nice to have taken more pictures of dressing the slat frame. Needs to be put on the list of projects to do. The hardest part is removing the base fabric from behind your working fabric. This is the way I chose to do this. Please feel free to comment with other ways to accomplish this.
Then came 4 months of work. With the help of another FB group Historic Hand Embroidery I was able to work through this project with positive support and feed back. Below are progress pictures:
overview of pouch in progress on slat frame
close up of work in progress
Once you have finished the embroidery completely now it is time to remove from the slat frame and finish edges.
Now comes the fun part. 🙂 Putting the pouch together.. First I cut the Red linen to the size i needed and hand stitched it together leaving the top unfinished. To close the sides and get a finished look I chose to use a embroidered braid on the edges. The inspiration for this was Anne Newman and extraordinarily talented woman. You can find her at Raicaire’s Embroidery & Needlework . I will warn you her site is addictive.
back view: Pouch removed and finishing edges started
folded and ready for braid treatment
Once the sides were finished the linen liner was placed inside and a braid was again used to attach the two. Next was adding the tassels and making the eyelets for the top. The tie was made with finger loop braid. and the final touch was adding a squirrel charm.
It was finally finished and passed on to be used by a very special Laurel. I hope this has inspired encouraged everyone to try this stitch..
This project has been a wonderful learning experience. Using waxed linen thread does take some getting used to but once you do you will not use poly/cotton again. The cost was very reasonable and the hand is wonderful. Creating the channels on the back piece pins were used. Due to the movement of the fabric that changed to basting all the layers together. This worked and the end result was an evenly channeled product.
After posting this blog the question about zip ties came up again.. No, it is not wrong to use them, it is just a choice. Is it easier to use zip ties? I have to say no. You have the filing and sanding of the ends, if you go for the cheaper thin zip ties you will have to double them up to get the result you are looking for. Again my fathers words ” Do it right the first time” echo in my mind. Yes it is taking longer to hand sew. Yes I have to hunt and order the linen thread and reeds instead of running to Walmart. But in the long run for me, it is the journey of creating this.
As the project progresses it comes to mind how did they do this with out using a strong light. ( I have an Ott light). How did they find time to cloth their family. They did not have the same sharp precise scissors, rulers and resources we do.. There is truly no right or wrong to how you choose to create your garb. Whether you use zip ties or reeds the journey is what is important not the end result. Don’t judge others encourage them to enjoy the journey.