14th century projects,  14th century XL hood for Pelican elevation,  Appliqué border embellishment,  Back Stitch,  Embroidery,  Hand-Sewing,  Materials,  Medieval Embroidery,  Projects,  Silver Thread,  Surface Couching,  Surface Couching 2:1

White 14th century XL hood for a friends Pelican elevation – embroidery .2 – appliqué border embellishment – a proper finish for my surface couching embroidery

2015-08_Racaire_Sams_14th-century-XL-elevation-hood_surface-couchingNow, that I finally caught up with most of my housework and am able to enjoy a rather clean home again, I am back at my computer again and ready to also catch up with the most recent progress of the 14th century XL hood project for my friends Pelican elevation.

Therefore I checked my last posting about the embroidery for the hood as well as the pictures on my tablet and found some photos concerning the surface couching embroidery for the appliqué border embellishment I haven’t posted yet.

That means that I will show you how I finished my surface couching embroidery for the appliqué border embellishment today, instead of posting about how I created the belt appliqué patches for the hood which stand for the Order of Chivalry/Knighthood.
But postponed is not abandoned and the posting about how I made the Knighthood belts – with more appliqué embroidery, surface couching and satin stitch – will be the content of my next posting.

And now back again to todays posting – as you might already know, a proper finishing as well as a neat backside are always quite important for me. Therefore I decided to take some close up pictures of the main work steps while I was finishing one of the embellishments worked in surface couching along the appliqué border of the purple patches. Enjoy! 😀


As you can see on the picture above, I stopped with the surface couching stitches shortly before I reached the edge of the corner in which I started with my border embellishment.

Btw. – when it comes to surface couching I prefer to work with an “endless” thread for the basic/couched thread part. This is only possible because the couched thread – like the silver thread you can see on the pictures above and below – rarely leaves the surface of the fabric besides the start and the finish of the embroidery. Working with such an “endless” thread or directly from the spool/cone/skein/ball instead of working with precut thread pieces enables a very thread-saving embroidery as you only use as much thread as you really need.

And now, facing the end of my second line of surface couching, I cut off the thread – making sure that I still had a convenient amount of thread for the next step.
My rule of thumb for the surplus thread is: at least 1.5 times the length of the needle with which you are going to pull the thread to the backside or in-between the front and back layer of your embroidery as I did it for this project.

After threading the “inside” silver thread in a needle (the one closest to the already embroidered lines), I made a stitch as close as possible to the previous line of surface couching and then carefully worked my way through the two layers of fabric – as you can see on the picture underneath:


As soon as I was sure that I got my needle for a sufficient length through the fabric layers, I pierced the needle back to the surface fabric again and carefully pulled the thread through it. Then I repeated the same process for the “outer” thread.


At the picture above you can see how this corner looked like after both threads were pulled through the two layers of fabric. In order to secure the threads in their position, so that they can’t slip out again, I had to add some extra stitches along the corner now:


As soon as the last surface couching stitch was added, I was able to cut off the surplus silver thread still showing at the front of the fabric as you can see on the picture underneath.


For this step I simply pulled the thread a little bit more out of the fabric and cut it off as close to the fabric as possible (without cutting the fabric itself). Now, by releasing this small amount of added tension, the end of the thread slipped back into the inside of the fabric without leaving any trace on the surface.

And now, after I successfully hid the silver thread, I also had to properly secure and finish the white silk thread which I used for the couching stitches on top of the silver thread.

This is when one of my most favorite sewing stitches comes into play – the back stitch! Whenever you have a (clothing) seam or two layers of fabric, you can hide the end part of your thread within the seam or two layers of fabric quite easily by going through the seam or the two layers. All it takes to secure the thread are some backstitches – tiny little (back-) stitches on the surface and long stitches on the inside – as you can see here:


It just takes a rather small amount of backstitches to secure your thread. The backstitch will keep your thread in place and secure at the inside of your fabric layers. [emember_protected not_for=3-4 do_not_show_restricted_msg=1]

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And here a picture of the surface couching embellishment with the corner which I finished on the pictures above:


…and here a picture of the backside of the embroidery:


You might wonder why a proper seam finishing or a proper backside of my embroidery is so important for me… Well, when I was still new to this hobby – about 15years ago – and made my first dress and fabric pouch ever, I didn’t really think about a proper seam finishing or hidden threads. I was simply glad that I was able to create something I could wear which didn’t fall apart and looked quite acceptable.

But after I finished my very first dress and pouch and wore it for some time, I discovered very soon that (linen) fabric has an annoying tendency to fray. Well, I had never really done much sewing before I discovered my keenness for the medieval times and the SCA, therefore I was a little bit surprised.

…and the fight with fraying threads just seemed to take no end. Well, after fighting with loose or fraying threads for quite some time, I swore to myself that I will save myself the trouble in the future and started my never ending research concerning medieval clothing, medieval sewing techniques and medieval embroidery. And I also kept my seams and the backside of my embroidery as proper as possible since this time… 😀

Best regards Racaire