12th century projects,  12th century Saint Michael and the Dragon,  Applique,  Appliqué border embellishment,  Embroidery,  Gold Thread,  Materials,  Medieval Embroidery,  Projects,  Split Stitch

I finally finished my new 12th century “Saint Michael and the Dragon” banner!

2016-05 - Racaire - 12th century Michael and the Dragon banner - hand embroidery - split stitch - SCAIn my previous posting “Working at my 12th century “Saint Michael and the Dragon” banner I already showed you the very first steps needed to turn my finished 12th century inspired “Saint Michael and the Dragon” into a small banner for my living room.

My last posting included information about how I chose the fabric and where I found the inspiration for the final shape for my banner project. Furthermore I also wrote about how I attached the embroidery to the surface and how I prepared the final shape of the banner…

But my 12th century inspired “Saint Michael and the Dragon” banner project still requires several more work steps until I can call it finished. And today I am going to show how I finished my 12th century inspired “Saint Michael and the Dragon” banner project.

2016-05 - Racaire - 12th century Michael and the Dragon banner - hand embroidery - split stitch - SCAAbove you can already see how my finished 12th century inspired “Saint Michael and the Dragon” banner looks like. And now let’s take a look how I got there… – enjoy! 😀

Ok, let’s pick up where my last posting “Working at my 12th century “Saint Michael and the Dragon”” ended. At the end of my previous posting I showed you a picture with the embroidery applied to the surface and the bottom shape of the banner cut and pinned:


As it is definitely not a pleasure and can be quite painful to work on a piece which has so many pointy ends sticking out, I first had to get rid of all the pins. In order to do so, I took a rather thin red silk thread in a matching color and secured all the fabric layers along the border with a quite simple running stitch.

The running stitch is a very simple stitch but it provides all the support one needs along the border at this point. The running stitch has several great advantages: It is fast and easy to execute, the stitches on the surface can be kept quite small and are then nearly invisible and it is a very easy and fast way to connect several layers of fabric.

After getting rid of all the pins along the border, I could now proceed with the next step and cover the edge of my embroidery with some lovely artificial “gold” cord I had on hand. To achieve a proper looking starting point for my gold cord embellishment, I had to hide the end of my gold cord at the backside. This is the point where a good collection of sewing and embroidery needles (with point at the left side and the ones without point for embroidery on the right side) in many different sizes comes in handy:


After choosing a needle in a proper size, I was able to thread the needle with the rather thick gold cord. Then I placed my stitch as close as possible to one of the corners at the bottom of the appliqued embroidery and pulled the needle through the silk and linen fabric:

2016-05_Racaire_12th-century-wallhanging_michael-and-the-dragon_11Well, as you can imagine, it is not easy to pull such a thick gold cord through two layers of fabric but I have a great tool for an occasion like this – pliers! Though many people wouldn’t think that pliers belong among the tools for embroidery, I prefer to differ. Pliers come in very handy when you are working with a lot of layers or very tight woven and stiff fabric…

2016-05_Racaire_12th-century-wallhanging_michael-and-the-dragon_10With the help of the pliers I was able to pull the cord to the backside. This is definitely a step which requires a lot of patience and care as you need to stretch the fabric slowly and steadily until you can pull the cord through without ripping the fabric. It is a continuous process of careful pulling while you slowly turn the needle little by little until the hole is big enough to let the whole cord through.


Btw., as you can see on the picture above, I didn’t pierce straight through the fabric. Instead of going straight, I directed my needle through the fabric layers for about one inch. This way I can secure my gold cord even more as the fabric layers hold the cord in place and restrict it which keeps it from unravelling at the backside. And here a close up after I pulled the needle through – about one inch of the cord is hidden within the fabric layers and just a little bit of the end is showing at the backside:


Furthermore you might have noticed all the red stitches on the backside. Well, after I attached the embroidery to the surface of the silk fabric, I added several lines of hidden back stitches and running stitches to connect the embroidery to the silk and linen fabric. Without this extra stitches the embroidery could sag after some time and appear bulky which wouldn’t look very pleasing.

And now back to the work at the front. After successfully securing the end of the gold cord to the backside, I started to couch the gold cord along the sides of my embroidery. This adds a nice touch and some “bling” to the embroidery and also hides any still visible fabric and sewing stitches:


Every time I placed a stitch through the backside to the front I also tried to get a little bit of the fabric of the embroidery – always staying as close to the embroidery as possible:


…and I worked every stitch through the gold cord (from the surface to the backside) in a slight angle:

2016-05_Racaire_12th-century-wallhanging_michael-and-the-dragon_16…here a better picture from the side:


The slight angle (instead of a rather straight stitch) allows me to cover more base at the bottom and helps the gold cord to stay down more evenly which gives the whole border a more proper final appearance and ensures that it will also look good in the future.

And after all stitches were done and I reached the beginning again, it was time again to secure the end of the gold cord:


I again threaded my gold cord in a big needle, placed my stitch slightly after and under the beginning of the gold cord in order to create a small overlap and carefully pulled it to the backside with the help of my pliers.

And then I just added some more stitches along the border to secure the last part of the gold cord:


After I was done with the border embellishment of my embroidery, I cut out a matching piece of fabric for the backside and pinned it to the backside. Then I made the decision to use the gold cord again to match the border embellishment of the banner to the border embellishment of the embroidery.

And with some more stitches I finally attached the gold cord to the border of my banner while at the same time connecting the fabric of the back to the fabric at the front of my banner:



2016-05_Racaire_12th-century-wallhanging_michael-and-the-dragon_07Btw. do you remember the surplus fabric I had on the top part of my banner? Well, after finishing the embellishment along the border of my banner I simply folded the upper part in half. Then I attached the upper border with some simple but tiny stitches to the fabric on the front in order to create a loop for the hanging.[emember_protected not_for=3-4 do_not_show_restricted_msg=1]

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…and after many stitches, some finger looping as well as adding some tassels, my new 12th century inspired “Saint Michael and the Dragon” banner was finally finished and I was able to put it up:


I really love the final look of my 12th century inspired “Saint Michael and the Dragon” banner and how great it looks on the wall in the living room. Do you know the feeling like you just added something that fits so perfectly that it might have belonged there even before you created it and put it up? …well, I had this very special feeling after I put up my banner… 😀

And I can’t describe the warm and pleasant feeling which I always get as soon as I finish a project and can take it off my to-do-list… Yeah, one more project finished and just so many more on my list… 😉

Best regards Racaire

More postings about my 12th century inspired “Saint Michael and the Dragon” banner project can be found here:

2016-05 - Racaire - 12th century Michael and the Dragon banner - hand embroidery - split stitch - SCA

2016-05 - Racaire - 12th century Michael and the Dragon banner - hand embroidery - split stitch - SCA

2016-05 - Racaire - 12th century Michael and the Dragon banner - hand embroidery - split stitch - SCA

2016-05 - Racaire - 12th century Michael and the Dragon banner - hand embroidery - split stitch - SCA