Sunday, 17 January 2016

Very Much Overdue Photos

Here are some photos from Buckden Towers in December, taken by the gracious Rob Ross, of my pink cotehardie, c. 1409. I have, of course, posted photos of the gown several times before, but never with the embroidery actually "finished." Please note the heavy quotations on "finished," since I will undoubtedly pick it back up at some point and add more. But at least it's symmetrical now. I have been wearing this dress for more than three years with the three rows of parallel lines, but with roundels only around the waist. I finally tackled the lengthy process of adding the circles around the hips and the huge hem. I didn't count. I don't want to know.

It is done in silk floss, couched over a silk-wool core on the shetland wool gown. The pattern is based on illuminations dating between about 1350 and 1409; it shows up all over both men and women's garments. However, it is hard to say to what extent this pattern is merely artistic shorthand for "...and there was embroidery on it," or whether the circles and lines pattern was actually that common. Stripes and roundels are a common motif in medieval woven fabrics and in other extant scraps of embroidery, but there are often other elements around or within them. That said, as this is a wool gown rather than silk, it is entirely plausible that less complex motifs would have been stitched onto it. Couched embroidery has been found from this period and slightly earlier, so it's a plausible stitch. The dress itself is entirely hand-sewn (the whole outfit is) and is constructed geometrically.

See, this was before the embroidery was done...

The thing on my belt (well, the blue and gold thing) is my new belt purse! Another thing I'd been procrastinating on. Had to make a good impression on the locals - couldn't show up in half-finished garb, could I? =P It's made of a wool and silk pavy cloth that I wove on my floor loom last year (wish I still had access to a floor loom! Alas...), finished with fingerlooped silk cords and wool tassels with woven silk decoration.

The cloth, close-up

And one more photo of the dress, standing on Buckden's entrance causeway: