Sometimes it seems as if an Ecclesiastical Sewing and Embroidery Project has many repeated tasks along the way before coming to a finish. And that can be a very good thing. Repetition often builds skill and makes a project easier.
A few days ago, I started working on quatrefoil designs, turning under edges, and hemming. Once the machine embroidery motif was hemmed, the next task was applying the Ecclesiastical Embroidery Design to the silk fabric and adding gold trim. The intended project? A superfrontal, frontal and several other vestment items.
This is a first for using machine embroidery designs on vestments. I do admit to owning not one, but two machines that do machine embroidery, but sadly they are 16 and 20 years old. I used to do a great deal of this work and still have a working knowledge. But technology has changed.
I had it on good authority there was only one expert to turn to when this project bubbled to the surface. And, a great deal of thanks goes to that expert who stitched all of the designs in the above photo. I gave her an idea of how I envisioned the set, and after a brief phone conversation and the exchange of a few emails, the pieces were stitched and arrived on my doorstep. She does beautiful work!
Now the challenge begins: making sure my work does justice to these beautiful Ecclesiastical Machine Embroidery motifs in applying them to the base fabric. The first time when doing something new, always involves a few unknowns: how would the fabric turn under at the edge of the quatrefoil, would there be a great deal of bulk, would the edge be clean and neat enough to apply gold twist to cover the edge, should I trim close and use fray check, rather than turn the edge under?…………..the list went on.
The only way to really know if something will work is to jump in and see what happens, and without another thought, the plunge was taken. I admit that the one mistake made when turning the edge on the first quatrefoil was not clipping close enough on the square corners, and not using a sharp enough scissors for the task. I know better, but hesitated, fearing I might accidentally clip a thread in the embroidery. I was to pay dearly for that moment’s hesitation. Those eight corners of the first design were the dreaded thorn in the side for stitching. The silk did not turn as cleanly as needed at the corners; and it was difficult to have the two strands of gold twist cover the corners. Eventually, it all worked out. But how much easier it could have been!
Lesson learned. Take the time to pull out those nice little accurate, sharp scissors. They make precisions cuts when needed, as long as they are kept sharp. The corners on this piece are turning much nicer and will be easier to work with when applying the gold twist.
The large palm Ecclesiastical Embroidery Design hem is almost finished. At this rate, the others should not be far behind. I knew with making this choice of having all of the designs stitched in a quatrefoil frame, it would be a bit labor intensive with applying the motif to the silk ground, adding the gold twist, and a black outline. The offer was made to ship my fabric to the person doing the machine embroidery; and she would position the designs directly on the fabric, leaving only construction of the vestments.
But I wanted to try out a few design ideas: can a touch of simple hand embroidery techniques be combined with Ecclesiastical Machine embroidery, and how would the two techniques look with a finished product. Will applying the quatrefoil with a folded edge and the double row of gold twist add height and dimension to the finished work?
Those questions await the final results. So far, I think it might work out well. I had good advice prior to starting this project from an expert or two. And that always makes a difference!
Tomorrow is the long awaited date for the Reinterment of King Richard III at Leicester Cathdedral. And I will share how I was given the opportunity to help a friend with a tiny bit of the preparation for that celebration!
Solo Dei Gloria
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Filed under: Ecclesiastical Embroidery Design, King Richard III Tagged: Ecclesiastical Embroidery Design, Ecclesiastical machine Embroidery, King Richard III, Quatrefoil Embroidery design