13th century male tunic,  13th century projects,  Embroidery,  Medieval Embroidery,  Projects,  Surface Couching

male 13th century tunic for the “12th century wedding clothing project” .3 – sleeve embroidery started :D

2015-01 - Racaire - 13th century tunic embroidery - 12th century sleeve embroideryAlready some days ago, after finishing the hand sewing, I started working at the sleeve embroidery for the 13th century under tunic for my sweetheart. And today I have some sneak peeks at the very first sleeve embroidery progress for you. 😀

Every new embroidery project is like a small journey and requires some inspiration, planning and many decisions. It took quite a while to go through my nice and very versatile thread collection. But as you can imagine, it took even longer to go through all the pictures of 12th century male garments on my computer.

All this lovely threads and pattern inspirations really didn’t make it easy to make a decision. But I think that I finally found a very lovely inspiration and came up with a nice combination. The final design of the 12th century inspired sleeve embroidery will also incorporate some of my husbands SCA awards like the “Legion of the Bear”, the “Argent Shield”, the “Compostella” and the “Argent Comet”.

And best of all – some time ago a dear friend sent me some beautiful threads to play with and one of this threads is just perfect for the embroidery I have on my mind….

…but now let’s take a look at the sneak peek photos I have for you – enjoy! 😀


At the picture above you can see one of the two sleeve ends with the sleeve embroidery I added till now. 🙂

I call this two lines my very first “test” run lines. When working with new materials I sometimes decide to make a small “test” embroidery like this. Some threads, even if they look very promising at the first look, can turn out to be a real pain to work with. Therefore I just started with this rather small and basic pattern. 

And here a close up of the embroidery for you:


After embroidering this two lines I decided that though the handling is a little bit tricky, I really like the look of this lovely thread. And started expanding the embroidery pattern. Though this is just a single but rather thick thread the embroidery takes some time and is not very fast done.

To get the best effect of this thread I decided not to lay the couching thread over the thread but to go through the thread instead. This hides the couching thread and doesn’t interrupt the surface appearance. If you want an embroidery and thread like this to look good for a long time, you should make many little stitches.

Every small stitch connects the thread to the fabric and longer distances would just raise the risk of small “bumps” in the thread – small “bumps” that would allow this thread to get caught in something else while wearing it. Well, what shall I say, I might not be married for long, but I know my sweetheart and I try to make the embroidery for his cloths “husband safe”. 😉

And now to the next step – here a sneak peek at the outlines for the further sleeve embroidery pattern:


As you can see at the picture above, I decided to go with a very simple design. The nice big roundels have enough space for the symbols of my sweethearts SCA awards – “Legion of the Bear”, the “Argent Shield”, the “Compostella” and the “Argent Comet”.

Furthermore you can also see that I used a small piece of folded paper to carefully stretch the sleeve. This made it very easy to draft the final design on the flat fabric. Because I was already sure about how I wanted my pattern to look like, I used a normal mechanical pencil and a small shot glass for the round outlines. And well, I admit it, I really couldn’t find my mechanical pencil with colored tailor’s chalk.


And let’s also talk about the used materials:

The “gold thread” is a beautiful 16-Strand High Gloss “Treasure Braid” from the “Rainbow Gallery”.
– 52% Metalized Polyester and
– 48% Nylon
– hand washable

The “sewing/couching thread” is yellow 100% silk thread from the company “Gütermann”.

…and because the silk thread is hidden, I use the small piece of natural bees wax which you can see on the picture above to wax my silk thread. Running the silk thread over the bees wax prior to sewing makes it much easier for me to work this kind of embroidery with the silk thread – waxed silk thread causes much less trouble like tangling, knots,… 🙂

…and now back again to the sleeve embroidery for my sweethearts 13th century under tunic. I hope to be able to show you some new progress pictures soon. 😀

Best regards Racaire


  • Sandra Popek

    My sweet daughter the gold looks gorgeous, and you made them look that way with your precise stitching. Your stitching is amazing!

    Love, Mom