In my last posting I showed you how I strengthened and secured the stress points of the neckline of my husbands new grey tunic. But before anyone starts to call this “Racaire’s neckline reinforcement technique”, I would like to point out that I simply found and revived an old hand sewing technique. I did not invent this technique myself – I simply found it in a very old book I own. 🙂
Well, I admit it, whenever I face a sewing or embroidery related problem, I tend to turn to my quite extensive book collection and take a look through my beloved books. In many cases one of my books offers a very good solution for my problem.
Sounds too easy to be true? Well, you are right. To find the right solution you are looking for, you need to know your books and their main focus quite well. Some books primary focus on general information about one specific technique (like most of the modern embroidery related books) while some books try to provide wide-ranging education about a certain topic (like most of the old handcraft books). And well, it’s really true, some books are just better than others…
But please don’t take me wrong. Regardless of their main focus, I love and cherish my books and collect them all – books about embroidery, handcrafts, medieval arts, cooking, art… And at any given possibility I love to look for “new” antiquarian books as they have often proven to be much more interesting than most modern books…
Unfortunately for my dear husband I insisted on bringing my whole book collection with me when I moved from Europe to the United States 2 years ago. And well, what shall I say, about 17 of my moving boxes were filled just with books – every one of them as tightly packed as possible… *lol* But this didn’t prevent me to add even more books to my book collection in the meantime. The great number of book piles throughout my crafting room and the rest of the house prove this fact and are a daily reminder to my husband that he promised me to build some some very sturdy bookshelves… 😉
Well, my love for books might qualify as an addiction but I think that my husband is quite glad that I love to collect books, fabric and crafting supplies as I tend to put them to good use. Based on my experience in the past, it can be very helpful to have a good and versatile source to draw from as one never knows what might be useful for the next project…
And now let’s take a look at one of my most favorite books in which I found the solution for my “neckline stress point problem”:
Encyclopedia of Needlework by Thérèse de Dillmont
This book definitely reflects the appreciation for “feminine” handcraft of an era which faded away long time ago. An era when handcraft techniques were an essential part of the basic education of a “good” girl, woman and wife. In most cases, due to the lack of an abundance of financial funds or the availability of cheap products (like nowadays from China and other countries), handcraft was a part of everyday life.
Though I am aware of the manifold hardship women had to face back then, I highly appreciate the sewing and embroidery related books from this time as they can still be found and help us to educate ourselves concerning this great old handcraft techniques. These books contains a lot of very valuable information about handcraft techniques which unfortunately fell into oblivion during the last decades. Knowledge that faded away while the appreciation of this crafts declined. However, it is never too late to revive this old techniques and the appreciation for them. I think that we can call ourselves very lucky that we have resources like this which help us to re-discover these old handcraft techniques again.
The book Encyclopedia of Needlework is one of the great handcraft books from this era. I consider this book very valuable and it is definitely one of my most favorite books. Though I found a great abundance of copies of this book in Austrian second-hand bookstores, it might not be found that easily here in the states or where ever you are located. But there is no need for despair if you want to access this book. Fortunately the Encyclopedia of Needlework by Thérèse de Dillmont is available on the internet.
This brings me right to the source of the old hand-sewing technique which I used to strengthen and secure the stress points of my husbands neckline:
The book Encyclopedia of Needlework by Thérèse de Dillmont provided in its chapter about hand-sewing (chapter 1, “Die Handnäherei”; subchapter “Schlitze einfassen”) on page 40 a great solution for my problem which you can see on the picture on the right – Fig.40 (Abb. 40).[emember_protected not_for=3-4 do_not_show_restricted_msg=1]
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And as you can see, the solution proposed by the book is really rather simple. Fig. 40 shows that the bottom of the slit was strengthened with some buttonhole stitches and that an additional reinforcement, which connects the left and right border of the slit, was placed above the stitches.
I am not sure about the actual term for this additional reinforcement part above the buttonhole stitches but I started to call it a “Steg” when I began using this technique. “Steg” means “very small bridge” in German and this “Steg” is fairly easy to create. You simply lay some threads which connect the left and the right border of the slit. Then, instead of pulling this laid threads completely tight, you leave some space between the two borders and just cover the laid threads with buttonhole stitches until they are completely covered.
As you could see in my previous posting, I decided to only do the bottom part of this reinforcement technique in order to strengthen the stress point at the bottom of the slit of my husbands neckline. In the past the buttonhole stitches at the bottom of the slit already proved to be very sufficient on their own. Therefore I often decide to not add an additional supportive “Steg” above it.
This decision is not only based on the fact that I love to avoid unnecessary extra work but also based on the fact that I think that this added “Steg” looks a little bit unattractive… Yes, I already used the whole reinforcement technique for the bottom of a slit for one of my husbands silk tunics and I can’t say that I am really a fan of how it looks like. However, it does its job and that’s the most important part.
I hope you enjoyed todays posting about my source of inspiration for this old hand-sewing technique which provides extra reinforcement and helped me to take care of the stress points of my husbands neckline.
And I already dug up some pictures of how I took care of the stress points of the slit neckline of my red 12th century silk dress and the neckline of my husbands silk wedding tunic for my next posting…