14th century projects,  14th century XL hood for Pelican elevation,  Applique,  Appliqué border embellishment,  Embroidery,  Materials,  Medieval Embroidery,  Projects,  Silver Thread,  Surface Couching

White 14th century XL hood for a friends Pelican elevation – working at the embroidery .2 – appliqué border embellishment with surface couching .2

2015-08_Racaire_Sams_14th-century-XL-elevation-hood_surface-couchingIt is amazing how much embroidery progress can be achieved when you really want it and set your mind on it.

As my husband can confirm, I really devoted myself to this project during the last days. With approximately 5 to 7 working hours per day, I managed to accomplish great progress in the rather short amount of time since I started the surface couching work for the appliqué border embellishment for the 14th century XL hood project.

And all the devotion and the hard work for this project really seems to pay off – about 50% of the appliqué patches already got their appliqué border embellishment with two lines of silver thread worked in surface couching. And though I am not finished with this part of the project yet, my mind is already evaluating the next step – the combined design for the small knight belts and pelicans which I am going to add to the middle of at least half of the patches….

But as much as I enjoy working at this project, I have to admit that the more progress I achieve, the more I wish to finish it as soon as possible to be able to move on to another project. That’s crazy, isn’t it?! *lol*

However, let’s enjoy the progress so far and let’s take a look at some progress pictures of the appliqué border embellishment which I took for you – enjoy! 😀


The hood has 10 patches and I completed nearly all the appliqué border embellishment on 5 of the patches. Above you can see the front of the hood and the completed appliqué border embellishment of two patches.

Here a closer look at one of this patches and its appliqué border embellishment:



And here a detail you might find interesting:


As I am not going to add a lining to the inside of the hood, I decided to “hide” the beginning and the end of the silver threads inside the two fabric layers of the wool fabric of the hood and the fabric of the appliqué work.

To start with another line, I simply thread in the silver thread in a bigger needle and carefully pull it through this both fabric layers. After about 1inch/2cm I pull the silver thread back to the outside of the fabric again and leave a little bit of extra thread here.

As I am working without an embroidery frame, this little bit of extra thread at the end allows me later to regulate the tension of the couched threads by a little bit by pulling on it before I finish the lines. This is especially helpful if I end up with too little tension on the couched thread due to bending and shifting the thread and the material while working at it. With too little tension the thread unfortunately tends to “break out” to the side. The little bit of extra thread doesn’t allow a lot of correction but sometimes a little bit can help a lot.

To finish the couched lines I simply leave a little bit of thread at the end of the line – about 2 inches/4cm – thread it again in a bigger needle and pull it through the two layers of fabric.

Btw. as the silver thread just lays rather freely between the two fabric layers instead of being secured with several stitches to the underside of the fabric, I add several very firm stitches over the end/beginning of the couched lines before I completely finish them by cutting off the excess thread. Though it is not as “safe” as securing it with several stitches to the underside of the fabric, this way I am still able to restrict the silver thread from altering the tension of the couched thread as much as possible.

Last but not least a short hint – if you take a look at the picture above and the thread ends which I just pulled through the fabric, you can see that metallic thread like this (a thread with a core which is wrapped with a metallic thread) really doesn’t like to be pulled through fabric. When pulled through another material the band in which the core is wrapped tends to shift and brake. This is the main reason why threads like this are normally just worked on the surface and only the end threads are pulled through the fabric to secure them. 

I hope you enjoyed my new progress pictures and now I have to get back to the appliqué border embellishment and more surface couching! 😀

Best regards Racaire