12th century grey light-wool tunic,  12th century projects,  Adornments,  Chain Stitch,  Embroidery,  How to imitate a woven band,  Projects

My husbands christmas gift – a grey light-wool 12th century tunic – how to imitate a woven band for bottom embellishment… :)

2015-12-Racaire-Conrads-12th-century-tunic-grey-light-wool-tunic_how to imitate a woven bandYes, you read it right, todays posting is about “how to imitate a woven band for bottom embellishment” (of a tunic). 🙂

I guess that many of you never expected that I would say this one time, but sometimes special projects will come along for which a very simple embroidered embellishment can actually be the best choice. Especially when you decide to decorate a garment without taking the focus off of the main “star” – which in this case happens to be the tablet woven band I used for the neckline and the cuffs.

But before we take a closer look at my take on “how to imitate a woven band” with embroidery, I would like to share a thought about the connection of imitation and embroidery with you…

When I discovered my passion for (medieval) embroidery more than 10 years ago, I tried my best to educate myself about the history of this very special art form. Just to find out that I actually could not find a definite answer for the question I found most interesting – about the origin of embroidery.

Well, though it would have been interesting for me, I kinda learned to accept that we might never get to know who actually “invented” embroidery or when and where it was invented. Nevertheless, I found an interesting theory during my personal search about what might have caused the development of embroidery which I still find quite intriguing and which captured my interest.

This theory is rather simple but nevertheless seems very plausible for me – that embroidery originated because of the desire to imitate the elaborated patterns of skillfully woven textiles. Well, I don’t remember where I read about this theory the very first time but it influenced some of my work ever since.

It doesn’t seem farfetched for me that maybe someone, who admired some beautiful woven textiles but didn’t have a good skill in weaving while being quite skilled with the needle and sewing, decided to sit down one day and to try to imitate the pattern of a woven fabric with some decorative stitches… Just to possess something similar beautiful…

Well, I guess that this feeling is quite familiar to many of us. From time to time we will encounter something which is awesome, unique and very desirable in our eyes and in some cases we will start to admire it. And sometimes this discovery will cause a spark of inspiration inside of us as well as a raising desire to have something similar. And then most of us will decide to try to copy the desired piece/art work as well as possible – based on our own skills and possibilities…

Whatever the reason for the first embroidery stitches were – I will never know for sure but there is a certain kind of pleasure which I draw from this theory… 🙂

I think that this theory might have been on my mind when I thought about a nice embellishment for the bottom of my husbands new tunic. All I needed was an idea for a very simple but nice and colorful embellishment which in a certain form “connected” the cuffs and the neckline to the rather empty and unfinished looking bottom part of his tunic. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough of the tablet woven band left to cover the whole length of the bottom border, therefore I had to come up with a suitable embellishment “substitute”.

And, last but not least, here the final result with which I came up:


It might look like a woven band from the distance but it is definitely embroidered. Well, it is amazing what three simple lines of chain stitch can do, isn’t it… 😉

And now let’s take a closer look at “how I imitated the woven band”:[emember_protected not_for=3-4 do_not_show_restricted_msg=1]

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I guess some of you remember my small new tool which I recently got at the local “hobby lobby” shop – a “Sewing & Knitting GAUGE”, as the print on the tool indicates to me – and again this tool proved to be very useful.


I just set the “Sewing and Knitting Gauge” at 2.5 cm (about 1 inch according to the tool) and simply started my first row of chain stitches. 🙂

After the very first row I didn’t need the “Sewing and Knitting Gauge” anymore. To add a little bit more diversity to the embroidery, I decided to work the second green chain stitch line into the opposite direction, reversing the direction again for the third and last line of chain stitches:


…and here a close-up photo of my chain stitches for you:


…and voilà – the final result:


Well, it might not have been really necessary to reverse the work direction of the single chain stitch lines but as the chain stitch tends to have a slightly tear drop shape, I thought that reversing the direction could provide a better texture and furthermore also a better woven band illusion.

And last but not least, here a picture of the backside:


As you can see on the picture above, the green line of chain stitches is slightly offset in relation to the yellow line of stitches. This is a result of my decision to offset the green chain stitch in order to get the round part of the green chain stitch to fill in the part of the upper and lower line where the yellow chain stitch forms its most narrow part and vice versa.

The idea behind this decision is quite easy – a tablet woven band has  a very tight surface – offsetting the stitches by just a little bit and working them in different directions made it possible to place more stitches next to each other while I also avoided that the stitches look crowded. This helped to add a nicely woven look to the surface of the embroidery.

I hope my posting about “how to imitate a woven band for bottom embellishment” provides you with some new inspiration for your own embroidery projects. 🙂

Best regards Racaire