13th century male tunic,  13th century projects,  Embroidery,  Gold Thread,  Materials,  Medieval Embroidery,  Projects,  Surface Couching,  Surface Couching Variation

My husbands 13th century under tunic – more about the embroidery

2014-12 Racaire - 13th century tunic - under-tunic - 12th century wedding clothing projectAnd today I have some more pictures of my embroidery for my husbands 13th century under tunic project.

During the last days I was quite busy entertaining a rather bad head cold but today it finally started to clear up again and I am already feeling much better. I can’t tell you what a pleasure it is to be able to think more clearly again and not to sneeze and cough all the time. 🙂

Because of my cold I was not able to take the promised pictures of me wearing my new “Meridian cross cyclas” or some nice close ups of the embroidery but I will try to take this pictures as soon as possible. 😀

But you know, postponed is not abandoned and as I just discovered some pictures of my husbands 13th century under tunic project which I haven’t posted yet. As soon as I saw them, I thought that you might enjoy them. This pictures show in detail how I created the “gold” embroidery with the rather thick “gold thread” on my husbands under tunic. Enjoy! 😀 


On the picture above you can see how I began a new line of “gold thread” for the embellishment at the sleeves. I used a suitable needle which was just big enough to thread the “gold thread” through the needle’s eye and worked it, starting at the outline of the new pattern, through the seam of the garment.

Btw. as you might also see on the picture above, I used a simple pencil to mark the outlines of the new pattern. Though a pencil is a very inexpensive utensil for marking fabric and to create pattern outlines, I wouldn’t recommend using them unless you have some practice in drawing patterns and are quite sure that you don’t need to make any pattern alterations afterwards. Furthermore please also keep in mind that if you use a pencil for transferring a pattern to fabric on which you intend to work with normal, light colored thread like white or yellow, the particles could attach themselves to the thread and noticeable darken it while you are pulling the thread through the fabric.


Then I used pliers to get a good grip of the needle and with the help of the pliers I carefully pulled the needle and the “gold thread” through the seam. Once I reached the other side, I took the needle off and pulled the “gold thread” slowly back into the seam again until I could only see a little bit of it – as you can see on the picture above.


Then I started a new silk thread for the couching stitches. In cases like this I normally start my thread by making about 3 to 4 long back stitches through the seam of the garment on the inside, as you can see on the picture above.

After about 3 or 4 stitches I normally test my backstitches by applying some tension to the thread – if the thread doesn’t seem to move, it’s a good proof that I made enough stitches and I am good to go. In this case I simply work my way through the rest of the seam until I reach the point where the “gold thread” is:


Before I began the actual embroidery, I made sure that the “gold thread” will stay in its place by making some firm stitches over it, sewing it with this stitches to the fabric underneath.

And then I finally started the embroidery:


Because the “gold thread” is quite thick and I didn’t want to disturb the lovely reflection of its surface, I decided to not work the normal surface couching technique on this thread but a variation of the technique. For this variation I worked through the thread (as you can see on the picture above) instead of going over it.

After every stitch through the thread (like shown on the picture above), I made a stitch through the fabric as you can see on the next picture:


And here a picture of the same section with the thread removed to give you a better idea of it:


Working always in the same direction the yellow thread actually creates a long loop and unites the “gold thread” with the fabric – here a very close picture of the underside of the thread for you:


When I am working round shapes or patterns with surface couching or this variation of the technique, I always just focus on the very next centimeter/half inch of the “gold thread”.
I always lay about 1-2cm ( about a half inch) of the thread along the pattern – its final position – and then I couch it down. As soon as this part is done, I can start to focus on the next small part and so on… This way I can easily adjust small mistakes before they happen or after they happened.

While working at long straight lines, like the borders of the embellishment, I work quite similar. I try to keep the fabric as well as the thread as straight as possible – tightening the fabric between my fingers while working at it:


…one centimeter after another – or well, one inch after another… however you prefer it. 😉 [emember_protected not_for=3-4 do_not_show_restricted_msg=1]

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I hope you enjoyed the new pictures of my husbands 13th century under tunic project. 🙂

Best regards Racaire