onsdag 30 maj 2018

One for working days, one for Sundays

A very dear friend wrote to me in horror over discovering holes in her thin woolen veil I gave her some time ago. It had happened in storage, and nothing else in the same box was affected. Hard to tell what caused the holes. But as I have more of that gorgeous thin wool I offered to make her a new veil, but also to make an attempt at mending the holes. I had an idea I wanted to try. So I asked her to send the veil to me.

As it came I inspected the holes, not that big but many, right in the middle of the veil. I promptly put it in an embroidery hoop to keep the sheer fabric straight and still, and then I drew threads from the leftover fabric intending to use them to make a darning.

It turned out to be nearly impossible to make it as neat as I wanted too, as the weave is so very thin. I had to turn over two threads a stitch instead of one and it easily turned into wibbly-wobbly lines. 

As I darned the holes the darning made tiny crosses on the veil, not entirely undecorative in my meaning but I sure wish they would come out more even than they did here. It got better after a good pressing with a damp cloth between the fabric and the hot iron. All in all, the veil is now mended and can be used as a more everyday veil. And the new one I made for my friend can be for Sunday finery.

Tomorrow they will be sent back by post to their rightful owner. I hope she will find the darned veil usable again.

lördag 19 maj 2018

Heraldic display

I had a dream of making an heraldic inspired dress sleeve, after looking at the so called Schwabian dresses as depicted in the family tree of the Babenberg family. I had found a picture that I wanted to use as a starting point, with minor changes to make it my own. It is a painted tournament shield with a woman in a green dress supporting a painted shield with arms. It is now at the Metropolitan Museum.
I started with remaking the design to fit an embroidered piece suitable for appliqué. The embroidery is done in silk with split stitch on linen.

As the embroidery was finished, the scary bit of cutting it down and prepare it for appliqué started.
Looking at extant examples of appliquéd embroidered pieces, they are often framed with a couched gold thread, like here. So I decided to couch some gold thread to frame my piece as well.

To give the sleeve that extra wow-factor I added spangles, and the effect on the dark blue wool was very satisfying. Like a stary sky above the lady and the shield.

What sources do we have for embroidered sleeves like this then? Well during the late 15th C the display of embroidery seems to be a fashion for both men and women. 
The portrait of Hemma von Gurk by Siebald Bopp, around 1510,
is an amazing example of an embroidered sleeve.

This man has an embroidered sleeve with spangles.

The double portrait of Jacob Fugger and his wife Sibylle Artzt
by Thomas Burgmair around 1498 is another stunning example of an embroidered sleeve.

This pcture is where I found the main inspiration for the cut and shape of my dress.
And one can definetly interpret the golden dots on her sleeve as spangles.

I wanted a dress with a high neckline and something rather warm, for use on late nights outdoors or really cold events. So I used a really nicely fulled dark blue wool, cut it really simple in four long panels and with a high neckline and a large slit in front so that it will be easy to pull over my head wearing headdresses. The closures are replicas of a late 15th century one, with acorns, alluding to the ones in my arms, and a small oakleaf.