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White 14th century XL hood for a friends Pelican elevation – embroidery .4 – how I created the embroidered Pelican patches

2015-10 _ Racaire _ Sams _ 14th century XL elevation hood Pelicans - medieval embroidery - appliqué - SCAWith this posting, after all the previous postings about the 14th century XL hood project for my friends Pelican elevation, I am finally reaching the last and major part of the embroidery for this hood project:

…the pelican patches!

In my last posting I already showed you the finished knight belt patches for the 14th century hood for my friends Pelican elevation. And as nice as the knight belt patches already looked like at this stage of the project, they all still looked quite empty, didn’t they – but no for long, that’s for sure… 😀

As the remaining time for this quite special hood project seemed to run out towards the end and the event was getting closer, I decided to double my effort. Neglecting my blog and my housework, I worked every day and night at the embroidery. And I was very glad that I made this decision as I managed to complete the last stitches which attached the patches to the hood just in time for our departure for the Meridian Grand Tournament.

Though I was mainly focussed on completing the task and therefore embroidering like crazy during this last part of the project to get the embroidery finished, I didn’t forget to take several photos of the pelican patches and my embroidery progress.


And now let’s take a look at this last major part of embroidery for the hood project which kept me so tremendously busy – the pelican patches. Enjoy! 😀 [emember_protected not_for=3-4 do_not_show_restricted_msg=1]

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My very first step for the pelican appliqué actually didn’t include any embroidery at all. Like I already did for the knight belt patches, I also started this embroidery on paper by creating a paper pattern. But this time I not only created one paper pattern – I created 3 different pelican paper patterns: One for the pelican at the front, one for the pelicans at the left side of the hood and one for the pelicans on the right side.

As it was quite important for me to fit the pelican appliqué perfectly into the knight belt patches without covering the belt buckle, I took some transparent parchment paper from the kitchen. Well, it seems like I finally found a good use for it since I discovered that parchment paper is not really suitable for baking. 😀

With the parchment paper on top of the finished knight belt embroidery, which was at this point still mounted in my embroidery frame, and a big book underneath the fabric with the embroidery, to provide me with a good firm surface on which I could actually work and draw the pattern, I started tracing the bottom line along the inner border of the knight belt patches and then developed the pelican above.

Well, it took several drawings until I finally developed a paper pattern for the pelican in the middle as well as one side pelican which fully satisfied me. Creating the third pelican pattern was a quite easy task now – I simply flipped the paper pattern for the side pelican upside down and traced a side-inverted image of it. Then I controlled the new paper pattern by placing it on top of one of the knight belt patches, adjusted the placement and finally made a slight adjustment along the bottom part to accommodate the sightly different bottom line.

Btw. you can find the inspiration for my pelicans in my “Inspiration – Pelican” folder on pinterest – here the inspiration for the pelican in the middle: Pelican 1 – and here the inspiration for the pelicans for the sides: Pelican 2Pelican 3 & Pelican 4.

Using my nail scissors I carefully cut out the 3 pelican paper patterns. Then I pinned this paper patterns on top of the lovely lightweight white wool and carefully cut out 5 pelicans – 1 for the front and 2 each for the left and right side. And then I pinned this new pelican patches into place on top of the knight belt patches and started with the second part of my appliqué embroidery:


And with many tiny stitches I again attached the lovely thin wool fabric in pelican shape to the rest of the embroidery and the cotton fabric underneath.

The shape of the pelicans might be a little bit more fancy than the one of the knight belts but it’s basically the same procedure. The only difference is that several of the embroidered areas won’t be easily accessible for stuffing later – like the head, the wings and the tail – and therefore have to be stuffed as soon as possible.

There is actually not much difference between the stuffing for the pelicans neck and head and the stuffing for the major part of the knight belt as you can see at the picture underneath:


As I did before for the knight belt patches, I again attached one side of the wool fabric to create a “pocket” in which I could place the stuffing. Then I pinned the top fabric as close as possible along the border to the embroidery and fabric underneath – close enough but still with enough distance so I couldn’t damage the fabric and cause fraying. Then I continued closing this stuffed “pocket” with more small stitches along the still open border.

Yes, as you can see at the picture above and underneath, this part of the project is a never ending story of “stuffed, pinned and sewed” – again and again and again… 😉


This procedure continued until I finally reached the bottom part of the pelican. Now I added the stuffing for the main body as well as the tail and placed the last pins in order to finish this last bottom part:


And here a picture of one of the pelican patches after all the steps shown above were completed and before I got to the next step – the embroidery on top of the pelican appliqué:


This time I didn’t start with the appliqué border embellishment next, as you can see at the very next picture: 


Instead of starting with the appliqué border embellishment right away, I decided to work out the details of the pelican with stem stitch first. Therefore I took a simple pencil and carefully traced the lines on top of the white wool fabric with it before I started with the stem stitch embroidery.

Please be careful with tracing lines with a pencil on top of a white fabric unless you are sure that you can trace them without any errors or any need of alteration – like in this case where the outlines are very simple. And if you decide to use a pencil as I do, please make sure that your pencil has a rather “hard” lead and only leaves very thin marks which will disappear as soon as you stitch over them.

Apropos stem stitch – here a “technical drawing” of the stitch used for the outlines:


If you would like to read more about the stem stitch which I used for the outlines please visit my page “Medieval embroidery techniques” or read the quite detailed posting I wrote about it: “Craft with Racaire – Project #2 – Step 1.2 – Hand sewing stitches: Back Stitch & its connection to Stem Stitch“. 

And how I embroidered the two different kinds of “golden” pelican beaks will be the content of my next posting…

Best regards Racaire

Previous postings about this knighthood & pelican appliqué patches for the 14th century XL hood project for my friends Pelican elevation can be found here: