12th century dress - blue & yellow silk,  12th century projects,  12th century wedding clothing project,  Hand-Sewing,  Keyhole neckline step-by-step tutorial,  Projects

12th century dress for the “12th century wedding clothing project” – sneak peek .7 – working at the keyhole neckline

2015-03-12 - Racaire - 12th century dress - keyhole neckline - 12th century wedding clothing project - keyhole necklineAfter finishing the lid for my reliquary box, I decided to complete at least one more work step of my 12th century wedding dress keyhole neckline. And I was successful – the sewing part of my keyhole neckline is finished by now and won’t bother me anymore. I just need to add some further embellishments as well as a special finishing step to reinforce the bottom point of the neckline slit…

*sigh* …so many projects and just so little time – I guess that sounds familiar to many of you, doesn’t it… 🙂

Not that this “problem” is new to me but I seldom had so many projects at which I should and would like to be working right now. But to be honest – this situation also has its good side – I am really not in the danger of being affected by boredom… 😉

To cope with this project plentifulness, I made the decision to work alternating on my diverse projects and to avoid getting side tracked again. Furthermore I will try to speed up my work during the next weeks in order to get several of this projects finished as soon as possible. This is especially important for a sudden hood project which I will start this week and which has a specific dead line – an upcoming elevation of a dear friend of mine…

Well, I am still working at the design details for the “Pelican” and “Knighthood” themed hood for my friend and also haven’t washed the recently received wool fabric yet… This gives me a little bit of time to work at other projects in the meantime.

2015-05_Racaire_14th-century_surface-couching_1Though I was very tempted to start with the new 14th century surface couching embroidery – which is also meant to be the foundation for a photo-tutorial about medieval surface couching – I decided to finish the keyhole neckline for my 12th century wedding dress first. The thought of the unfinished keyhole neckline was bothering me just too much to have fun with one of my favorite embroidery techniques…

Enough said – let’s take a look at the pictures of how I finished the sewing part of the bottom of my keyhole neckline – enjoy! 😀


Rather than sticking to certain measurements I prefer to base the bottom form of my keyhole necklines upon whatever angle and spacing my eye finds to be pleasing. To do so, I first determine the middle of the fabric (where I placed the pin with the white head) and then fold one side of the fabric until I find a certain angle and spacing that pleases me.

To see if the chosen angle and spacing really works for me, I also fold the other side to control the final look. To achieve the same angle and spacing on both sides of my keyhole neckline, I simply “mirror” the beginning of the fold on the left side to the right side and place a pin at this point to make the folding process easier.

If you are working with a patterned fabric like this and paid attention to work the pattern evenly on both sides, you just need to follow the pattern from one side to the other to determine the folding point on the other side. In case that you don’t have a pattern or the pattern is too big or uneven to do so, you can simply measure the length between the folding point and the point where the round part of the keyhole neckline starts and apply it to the other side.

With this folding point and the pin which indicates the middle at the bottom of your keyhole fabric you have all you need to achieve the same angle and spacing on both sides (given that the left and right side of your keyhole neckline have the same measurements).

Hint: If you are working at a keyhole neckline or a similar project where you have to deal with a fabric on the backside, it is very helpful to use a firm layer in-between. I normally use a medium or big size book with a firm cover for this purpose. This firm layers makes it possible to smoothen the fabric on top of it and keeps you from pinning more than just the layers you want to work with…

After folding and pinning both sides, the bottom of my keyhole neckline looked like this:


Btw. for this step I only pinned the yellow silk part – there are no pins connecting the blue and yellow silk yet. This way – as soon as I am pleased with the look of the bottom part of my keyhole neckline – I can turn the pinned fabric over and cut away excess fabric:


After cutting away the excess fabric, I used my vertical (/middle of the upper body) “helping line” to determine the correct middle position for the bottom tip of my keyhole neckline and pinned it into position:


…and then I also re-pinned all the other pins – connecting the yellow silk to the blue silk underneath:


Btw. if you run out of thread while you are sewing your keyhole neckline to the fabric underneath, it’s quite easy to start a new thread. For this you simply make a small stitch at a place which will be later covered by the fabric and connect the rest of your old thread with the beginning of your new on with one or two knots:


As soon as both threads are connected, you can simply pull the surplus threads underneath the surface of the fabric and continue sewing:


…and next a close up picture of one of my sewing stitches for you – yes, they are not very big but they keep the fabric in place. 🙂


After I sewed the fabric in place, I again added a line of tiny running stitches about 1-2mm next to the border of the yellow silk fabric to flatten the edge.

…and voilà – here a picture of the keyhole neckline so far: [emember_protected not_for=3-4 do_not_show_restricted_msg=1]

…I am sorry, but this content is restricted to users with Advanced and Premium membership.


Looks good so far, doesn’t it. The sewing part of the keyhole neckline is finished by now. To really match this keyhole neckline to the one on my husbands tunic, I still need to add some gold cord along the outer edge. Yes, you are guessing right – this will be the next step to finish the keyhole neckline. 🙂 

Btw. during the last days I did not only finish the sewing part of my keyhole neckline – I also did my best to update my blog section about “medieval embroidery techniques“. You will find some new links on this page which take you directly to postings with interesting and helpful information and/or pictures… Enjoy! 😀

Best regards Racaire