Modern Nailbinding,  Projects - Nailbinding

A secret last-minute nailbinding commission & a short photo tutorial… :)

A secret christmas present nailbinding commission & a short photo tutorial... :)…and today I have again some nailbinding for you. 🙂

Just some days ago I was asked to make a nailbinded hood for a friend of mine. And well, what shall I say, I really couldn’t resist to take on this last-minute christmas present commission. 😉

Working at such last-minute projects is a well known and dreaded tradition among SCA artisans. But normally projects like this are due shortly before an SCA event and not shortly before christmas. However, I already found myself far too often working at such last-minute projects before – like my red 12th century sik dress.

Can you imagine that I finished the last seam at my 12th century silk dress shortly before I got into the dress at Meridian Grand Tournament two years ago? But well, sewing like crazy to get a dress finished is still better than just wearing your underwear all day long… 😉

This small last-minute nailbinding project was a rather unexpected commission. Everyone of you who has done nailbinding before, knows that nailbinding takes its time. But well, times is something I really don’t have at the moment because christmas eve is fast approaching and I have to deliver it rather soon as well as start working at my own christmas presents. Therefore, here I am, sitting at the couch, watching TV and working like crazy at a last-minute christmas present nailbinding project for a friend. And I am really trying to finish it as soon as possible.

But I didn’t forget to take photos of my most recent progress and even took some photos for a short photo-tutorial of the nailbinding technique I am using. Enjoy! 😀


And above you can see the nailbinding progress after about 5 hours.

Some of you might recognize the the wool. It is the same wool which I used for a recent nailbinding project, a hood for the nice farmer from the Peacefield farm whom I met at the local Beech Bend Market:

A new nailbinded cap finished – nailbinding / needle-binding / Nadelbinden / Schlingentechnik is a lot of fun 😀

And guess what – he liked his nailbinded hood so much, that he commissioned another one for his wife. *lol* Or maybe his wife likes his hood so much that he doesn’t get to wear it very often… However, he was so nice to me that I just couldn’t say no when he asked me to make another one. In a time when you can easily buy presents at the next supermarket, I think that this commission is a very thoughtful gift. I hope that she will like it when it she gets it at christmas. 🙂

But I not only have pictures of my recent nailbinding progress of this last-minute christmas present, I also took some photos of how I execute the nailbinding technique that I use for this project. The next pictures are especially dedicated to all of you who haven’t done any nailbinding yet. 🙂 [emember_protected not_for=3-4 do_not_show_restricted_msg=1]

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“Finnischer Stich” – The Finnish Technique (stitch)

Nailbinding (or also called needle-binding/Nadelbinden) is an ancient technique where you actually create loop after loop with your needle. Many extant medieval fabrics imply that this ancient technique was also used quite often during the medieval times.

Altogether this nailbinding loops create a mesh which can be rather loose or tight – depending on how tight you work and how many loops you are working with. The rule of thumb here is that the more tight loops you are working with, the tighter your final mesh will be. Furthermore the outside appearance of your nailbinding can slightly vary depending on how you handle the loops and the nailbinding technique you use.

The Finnish Technique – actually my favorite nailbinding technique – which I am using for this project and which you can see at the next pictures, is worked with 3 loops on my thumb and the last loop just taken off my finger. See the following short photo tutorial for more information about this technique:


Above you can see the start of a new nailbinding “loop”. With my nailbinding needle I go through the next top loop and the last top loop of the finished nailbinding row underneath. This will connect the newly created line of nailbinding with the row underneath.


Then I go with my needle through the first loop on my thumb and catch the last loop I just used to create the last nailbinding loop.


The picture above shows the same step just from a slightly different angle.


Now, to proceed with the next move, I have to remove the first loop on my thumb from my thumb. Then I alter the angle of my needle and go with the needle underneath the remaining loops on the other side of my thumb as well as the (start of the) thread with which I am currently working with.


In the next step I pull out the needle on the other side and pull the thread tight. This automatically creates a new third loop on my finger. (Btw. if you count from the tip of my thumb towards my hand, the third one is the newly created loop.)


And above you can see a picture of the backside. The last small loop next to my thumb is actually the loop I just took from my thumb to create the next loop.


Voila – after many loops you get something similar like at the picture above. Yes, round and round it goes… 😉 

I hope you enjoyed the pictures of my new nailbinding project. There is still a lot of nailbinding to do but I am making good progress so far. I think that I will be able to finish this project in time and promise to post more progress pictures soon. 🙂

Best regards Racaire