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 finished

2015-08 - Racaire - Sams 14th century XL hood - applique border embellishment - surface couchingI know, I didn’t post anything during the last week but I hope you will excuse it as I was working like crazy at the 14th century hood project for my friends Pelican elevation and also accompanied my dear husband to an event – “Boar Hunt” – in Tennessee. 🙂

And I am very glad to say that all the hard work totally payed off again! I managed to finish the last stitches of the surface couching work along the borders of the appliqué embroidery.

Well, the embroidery is still not completely done but it is a great feeling that I am one major step closer to completing this project now. And though the deadline for this project is moving much closer with every day which passes by, I think that I have still enough time left to finish this project in time. Yes, I am very determined to not let my friend enter his Pelican elevation hood-less! 😀

With completing the appliqué embroidery and the surface couching embellishment along the edges of the appliqué work, the major pattern frame is finally accomplished and I can move on to compose the “filling” for some or all of the patches. My friend asked me to make a combination of his major awards for this “filling” – a white belt, which is standing for his knighthood, and a Pelican for the upcoming elevation which will take place at the Meridian Grand Tournament event.

I know quite well how I want to make the white belt but I still need to consult my books about period looking Pelicans. Well, I have already used the shape of a certain 14th century Pelican embroidery for “Order of the Pelican” patches in the past but I want to dedicate at least a half day for some further research. Which means that I will go through my books to see if I can come up with another nice looking medieval Pelican to make more than one Pelican design for my friends hood.

So far about my next step but let’s take a look at the finished surface couching embellishment along the appliqué border – enjoy! 😀


Do you remember as I pointed out that I want to make a front layer and a background layer of the patches? At the picture above and underneath you can finally see what I had in mind. The front layer of patches starts with the one major patch at the front of the hood and luckily, with the amount of patches I put along the border, it works out quite fine till the last patch at the back. 🙂


All this “front patches” will for sure get a “filling” with the belt and the Pelican. I am even thinking about making the “filling” for the major “front patch” a little bit bigger than the “fillings” for the other patches at the side but I haven’t decided about it yet.

Depending on how the border row looks like with all the Pelican and belt “fillings” in place, I will decide if I also want to add something to the patches in the back or if it looks better if I leave them untouched. This decision will also depend on how much time I will have left for further additions before I have to deliver the hood.

…and following I have some more pictures of the hood for you – taken from a slightly different angle to give you a better idea of the lovely sparkle effect the silver thread adds to the edges of the appliqué border:




And last but not least I also have a close up picture of three of the patches for you:


As you can see at the pictures above, it was not easy for me to maintain a perfect tension for the silver thread worked in surface couching along the border of all appliqué patches – regardless how hard I tried.

Normally, for a surface couching project, I would prefer to mount the fabric in an embroidery frame and to back up the fabric with a fabric like linen or cotton which prevents any movement of the fabric like stretching,… and also adds some more “body” to the fabric itself.

But this would have taken much more time – time which I unfortunately don’t have due to the set deadline. And as my friend insisted on a quite thin fabric so he will be able to wear his hood also during summer time, I didn’t want to add too much body to the fabric itself to maintain the natural “cooling effect” wool can provide.

But if you have the time and the project allows it, I highly recommend to back up your precious silk or wool fabric with some linen or cotton fabric which doesn’t stretch and restricts the fabric movement. This way you can restrict the movement of the silver or gold thread which you use for the surface couching on top of it and it will stay in its “lines” and look good for a much longer time… Besides the fact that mounting your surface couching embroidery in an embroidery frame makes it much easier to maintain a good tension for your fabric and the thread you use for the surface couching on top of it while you are working at it.

But it is as it is – whenever I don’t have the time or it is not possible for me to mount my surface couching embroidery in an embroidery frame and to back it up, I have to accept that the tension might be off by a little and that the silver or gold thread might “break out” of its “line”. 

Btw., during the last years I was often asked how many hours it takes me to complete my projects. Therefore I made it a habit to keep track of my work hours when I work at special projects like this. This gives me the possibility to give you an idea of the work behind this project till now:

  • Hand-sewing the hood: about 31 hours
  • Appliqué work and surface couching embellishment: about 82 hours

And after all this hard work so far I can’t tell you how much I appreciated to attend the “Boar Hunt” event in Tennessee with my husband. The thumb of my right hand was hurting so much that I did not even bother to take a small embroidery project with me. I really needed a break and enjoyed taking pictures at the event instead… 😉

Best regards Racaire