I've spent entirely too much time today writing long emails back and forth with Ann, and she's got me going on a project I'd kinda been inspired to do, but the inertia... Anyway, I originally started this blog to talk about my costuming projects, which you may still see if you look at the nice list on the left and open up the very earliest entries. I have quite a number of finished medieval costumes in my closet (and others, but mostly medieval) because of my interest in the SCA. I also have a few garments half-finished or in the middle of modifications, but we won't go there today. It's not pretty.
Instead, I have for your delectation one of my favorite wool tunics, only recently restored to me. It's a true, brilliant red, something digital cameras have a hard time capturing. I fulled the fabric before cutting the pieces out, so it's quite warm and cozy, and entirely hand-stitched - although I'm pretty sure it needed a few... reinforcements? before I was quite done. It certainly needs them now! It also spent the last three years in a plastic bag on my mother's garage floor, with a few other garments, so it's pretty crumpled and even a bit motheaten. :( As you will see from the photos, it's technically a WiP, because I have never finished the embroidery, but I may never finish that during the life of the garment, and I have never let it stop me from wearing the tunic!
This tunic could have been worn anywhere from Roman times up to the sixteenth century or so; in the last couple of centuries, it would have been more of a working class garment than a fashionable one. The embroidery design is from a Dover book of Celtic knotwork transfer designs, possibly this one. The embroidery itself is executed in silk floss, in backstitch for the outlines and chainstitch for the fill. The neck is lined about four inches deep with linen, quilted to the surface for stability.
Yes, that is a needle poked through the work. I always figured that if I didn't give myself permission to wear it while I was embroidering, I'd never get to wear it! It does mean I have to be careful with my hugs while wearing the tunic. I'm not quite certain how I'm going to finish the colors... but that's the fun of it all! I've always thought it would be fun to fill in the eyes with some kind of semiprecious stone bead, like my favorite garnet, but that's a ways off.