Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Making a Tudor shirt, part two - planning the embroidery

It's much easier to add any embroidery to the shirt before you start assembling the pieces, so the next task is to decide which bits to embroider. Because my shirt is going to be a working shirt, I'm not adding any embroidery, but you might want to.

When worn, the only parts of the shirt that are visible are the collar and cuffs. (See, for example, this painting.) If you do want some embroidery, then, those are the parts that should definitely be embroidered. However, for something truly sumptuous, there are other places to add embroidery. These are:
  • The sleeves (either in columns or in an allover arrangement)
  • Around the neck slit on the front of the shirt
  • Across the upper torso, both in the front and in the back 
  • All the way around the rectangle of the body piece, close to the hem or seam
  • Occasionally, directly on top of any seams, especially on pieces with shoulder seams
As with the shirt of insanity, you can also work blanket stitching around hemmed pieces and lace them together. You can also hem the pieces and work direct insertion stitches, as was done in the example photo in part one of this tutorial. I'm going to be working plain seams, though, as they are simpler and less likely to catch on things.

The style of embroidery changes dramatically during the 16th century. Pieces from the 1530s and 1540s are very strongly geometric, with densely-stitched patterns that create a voided effect. By the end of the century, however, embroidery has become much more representative: plants and animals are clearly identifiable.

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