Alright, I’ve only been telling myself (and my teacher) that I was going to write this post since October. No big deal, right? Better late than never! so on to the story of the trim.
July: I moved to a new area, and didn’t know anyone. I put my SCA life on hold while I was getting used to my new job and new apartment. I wanted to get more involved with a local group, but didn’t think I could devote the time.
August: I was starting to feel burnout from my job already. All I did was work. I wasn’t allowed to see employees outside of work, and since all I did was work my pool for friends and people I could hang out with was minimal so I reached out to Facebook to see where my local group was. Turns out I had two options: go an hour north or an hour south. I already tried the group to the north, so I thought I would venture south to see what they were about. I was more than a little nervous, but when I got there, they welcomed me with open arms. The next week I attended a local craft night, where I met the talented Cateline La Broderesse. I had a small brick stitch project I was working on, and she explained that she did embroidery too. She told me how she was asked to work on the trim for the hems of the (then) prince and princess for their coronation and asked if I was interested in helping. I said sure!
My first progress picture is from September third, so I’m assuming that was the first day I started.
It seemed simple enough; a bunch of circles with a three inch diameter. 90+ inches of it. But circles, how hard could they be? The answer was that they were simple, yet time consuming. My first circle took me roughly two or three hours to do, and I had around twenty more to do. I put aside time from my schedule though to keep up with it, and was making good progress. Within three days I had three circles and one with the (then) princess’s badge.
I had told myself that if I could do one circle a day I could be done by the beginning of October, which was when it was due. Then life got in the way. My work week increased from 50 hours a week to almost 75 hours a week. Before I knew it, it was the second to last week of September and I only had four and a half circles done. That’s when the embroidery marathon turned into a sprint. Coronation was October 3rd, and I had to be finished a few days prior to be able to mail it out so it could be attached to the garment. I started embroidering like my life depended on it. Whenever I was not doing something, I was embroidering. I had three days off in a row where I visited family in New Hampshire and all I did was work on trim (thank you mom, family, and friends, for dealing with me during this time!). I made progress though. What I was making was starting to look like trim.
October first came. The day I was supposed to mail it out. I spent the entire day embroidering, hoping I could finish before the post office closed. I wasn’t able to make it. I contacted the person in charge of the wardrobe, and asked if there was any way I could deliver it. Luckily I lived a short distance from the event and my mom drove me up while I added the finishing touches (such as the little “tail” that signified the end of the trim)
and give it to him the night before the event. All in all I got 52″ done (from what I can remember) which was shy of the 90+ goal by a bit, but he worked some magic and on the day of coronation you would have never been able to tell that the trim was short.
I learned a lot from this project. It was the largest embroidery project I attempted so far to date (not including appliqués, which I consider sewing with embroidery as embellishment, as opposed to straight up embroidery) and even though golden circles haunted my dreams for weeks after, I’m glad I did it. I think it came out fantastic, and I would do it all over again if I could. I used a scroll frame for the first time, and loved it. I think I may need to do another project that involves it soon because I liked the portability it provided while being able to hold a lot of material to work on. I felt like I wasn’t stuck to one place like I tend to feel with a hoop or larger projects in general.
I got a good feel for the split stitch because of this project. Before I did this, I was relying on running, double running, and back stitch for a lot of my embroidery. Split was always a little bit of a problem for me because it either didn’t look right (tension issues) or it seemed to take a long time to fill a little area. Because of this project I am now able to whip up an embroidered outline in split stitch like a machine, which I have definitely done and will post about in the future. As for filling in an embroidered piece, I haven’t tried another project that involves being filled in, but I’m sure that when I do it I’ll be speedier and tidier with it.
The one major problem I had with this project was time management. I did good by making a plan to finish on time, but making a plan and doing the plan are two totally different things, and I feel that if I had followed my plan I would’ve been in better shape. Another problem I had was gold filament. It’s hard to tell in the pictures, but that yellow has gold filament that ran throughout the entire thing. It reflected light beautifully when it was in place, but getting it into place was a pain in the neck. It knotted, it twisted, it broke, and it did not follow the rules of average thread. I’m just glad that this project was silk on silk and not silk on linen or wool because I feel that trying to pull that filament through those fabrics would’ve been even worse.
And as a final note, I felt spoiled while I was working on this project. It was my first time using silk thread on silk fabric. My current project is DMC cotton thread through linen, and I can tell the difference now. The silk glided like a hot knife going through butter, and the DMC feels like trying to use a spoon to slice refrigerated butter. Sure it’s possible, and it may even work, but it is much more difficult and you meet much more resistance. I’m going to have to think of a project that involves silk again in the future!
I do not have a good picture of the finished product, but if anyone does have a picture of it attached to the dress that I could use I will gladly post finished project update 🙂