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male 13th century tunic for the “12th century wedding clothing project” .6 – more sleeve embroidery – embroidered shells & shields :D

2015-01 Racaire 13th century tunic embroidery - sleeve embroidery for 12th century wedding clothingAnd after a lot of hard work during the last days, I managed to make even more progress concerning the sleeve embroidery for the 13th century tunic for my sweetheart – today I have embroidered shells and shields for you. 😀

Yes, two shells and two shields already fill the first four roundels. That leaves just four more empty roundels which need to be filled – two on every sleeve.

The embroidered shells stand for my husbands SCACompostella” award and the embroidered shields for his “Argent Shield“. I am going to add two bears for the “Legion of the Bear“/”Legio Ursi” and two comets for his “Argent Comet” next – this are the other two SCA awards he achieved till now.

And because “a picture is worth a 1000 words”, let’s take a look at the two embroidered shells and shields. I have to admit that the shells first gave me a little bit of headache but I think I came up with a great solution – enjoy! 😀


This lovely gold thread is beautiful but also quite bulky. Therefore I had to fight a little but finally I managed to embroider two very nice shells. Well, I admit it, I decided to “cheat” a little bit and used a much finer thread and the surface couching technique to work out the details inside the shell. 🙂

…and here a photo for you of one shell with just the outlines – I used a very simple mechanical pencil – and one shell with just the outer lines embroidered for comparison with the final embroidery:


After I embroidered the outlines of the shell, I decided that the shell looks quite naked and not satisfying at all. Therefore I decided to add some more embroidery. 🙂

For this additional embroidery I used the surface couching technique and the golden “Ophir” thread from the company Coats as well as some very thin yellow silk from the Handweavers Studio in London, UK.

Here two more close up photos of the final shell embroidery for you:



At this point I would like to point out that though I used surface couching for both threads, I used two different variations of this technique to embroider the shell.

Concerning the rather fine gold thread I used the very thin silk to go over the thread to couch it to the fabric. When you look at the two pictures above you might see the tiny yellow stitches that don’t reflect or sparkle – this are my very small surface couching stitches over the shiny, very thin gold thread.

And for the other thread around it – which has by far more volume than the thin thread – I used a variation of the surface couching technique where you actually don’t make your stitches over the thread but rather use the thickness of the thread and make your stitches through it. This leaves no or just little marks on the surface of the thread and is a great technique variation of the surface couching when visible stitches over the thread are unwanted or would disturb the overall appearance of the thread you are working with.

…and here a sneak peek at the backside of the shell:


I know, I am always very obsessed when it comes to the backside of my embroidery but every time I didn’t care about it, I soon regretted it – especially when the used thread started fraying or I pulled some of the used threads to the surface of the embroidery while I was working at it.

This and because I am not sure if I will cover the backside of my embroidery with fabric, I took great care in covering the used gold thread with the silk thread to avoid any fraying and to leave no space where anything (like my sweethearts finger nails) could catch in the thread and pull it. This “cocoon” created with simple stitches and silk thread on top of the gold thread holds and secures the gold thread firmly in its middle.

A firm and careful finish like this also allows it to wash your embroidered clothing in your washing machine – of course inside a washing bag and by using the proper “hand washing” program… 😉

Last but not least, after all this pictures of my most recent embroidery progress, I would also like to point you to some pictures I took at “Menhir”, the SCA event I attended last weekend in Tennessee: SCA – Kingdom of Meridies – Menhir – Jan. 2015

…and now, after showing you the embroidered shells and shields, I have to start working at the embroidered bears and comets – I still have four roundels to fill… 🙂

Best regards Racaire