It is a wonderful feeling to discover a solution to a problem. It is even more wonderful when the solution comes as an unexpected surprise. Over the past month, I have shared a few concerns about the paper I have used for Ecclesiastical Embroidery Design transfers in these posts:
I spend a great deal of time volunteering at a museum that houses a collection of Ecclesiastical Vestments, Ecclesiastical Embroidery Patterns, and Ecclesiastical Embroidery Designs. Having the opportunity to view and learn from a wonderful collection of Ecclesiastical Embroidery Designs is a dream come true. Every time I help put the collections back, it is with a little sigh. The Sisters had such wonderful items to work with: from the silk threads and colors, to the quality of designs, right down to the paper used for drawing the designs and to create the Embroidery transfers.
The paper used at the Monastery is now yellowing with age. It is semi-transparent, has a little body, yet it is thin. It is as if the paper were made specifically for use in Embroidery Design and Embroidery transfers. I have asked if the Sisters running the museum know what the paper is. But, as the Art Needlework Department closed over 45 years ago, and there is no one around from that era who worked in the Art Needlework Department, the information is sadly lost. That is part of our task: to preserve what remains and recover what was lost, and to make it available for future generations of Ecclesiastical Embroiderers.
I have tried searching art stores to see if there is anything similar, but without a sample of the paper, that is a rather impossible task. So, there is nothing to it but to make do with the papers available.
There was a day about a week ago, while cleaning up and moving things around, I came across an old tablet of paper. This paper dates back to 30 or more years ago when I was in college taking design classes. Curious as to what the paper was and why I was still keeping it after all these years, I pulled it out. In that split second, I had before me the very same type of paper that was used by the Sisters in making their Ecclesiastical Embroidery Designs! It was unbelievable; almost a miracle! The paper had the identification of tracing vellum on a tag on the back. Tracing vellum – that was the answer. My tablet is yellow with age, but it is the perfect paper for tracing Ecclesiastical Embroidery patterns.
There are only a few sheets left on that precious tablet. The good news is that Tracing Vellum is available on Amazon by the roll and by the tablet. I have not ordered it yet, but will be getting some soon. The Tracing Vellum is slightly heavier than regular tracing paper and has a smoother texture. It is NICE to draw on. There are many types of vellum paper available, but there is a difference between vellum and Tracing Vellum. If you would like to know more about the difference, a local art store would be a great resource.
The Tracing Vellum revealed itself at the perfect time. I was ready to prick and pounce the IHS Ecclesiastical Embroidery Design, and decided to give the newly found treasure a try. It worked very well. Yesterday, I used the IHS Ecclesiastical Embroidery Pattern on the Tracing Vellum to transfer the design to the Silk Dupioni. Again, it worked out well. You can see how the project began here:
If you have ever had problems with the paper available for transferring hand embroidery design, perhaps consider trying a roll of Tracing Vellum. And now I can thankfully say, I’m glad I hung on to all of those art papers from so many years ago! Please share your thoughts and comments about the Embroidery transfer process and what works well for you.
Solo Dei Gloria
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Filed under: Ecclesiastical Sewing, Ecclesiastical Vestments, Silk Dupioni Tagged: Art needework, Ecclesiastical Embroidery Designs, Ecclesiastical Sewing, Ecclesiastical Vestments, Emboridery pattern, Embroidery transfers, IHS Ecclesiastical Embroidery Design, IHS Embroidery Design, Silk Dupioni, Tracing Vellum