The delay with routine posting here on Ecclesiastical Sewing has come as a result of many things. But never fear. The posts will continue. So what has been occupying my time in recent weeks? Well, the list is long, and for the most part, rather boring. But a few good things have come about.
Some time has been spent in the past few weeks documenting and sorting through the hundreds of vintage hand embroidery designs and patterns that are now a part of my collection. I have been working on this collection for years, and it now numbers in the hundreds, nearing thousands, of lovely designs. And while the original designs are great to restore and use, sometimes, it is fun to update them and give a new twist to an old pattern.
To give you just a taste for the design collection, these are one small folder of the tiny designs in my collection of vintage hand embroidery patterns for use on church linens and vestments. The collection includes an assortment of perforated patterns, perforated transfers, iron on transfers, written instructions for embroidery orders and desired designs, and color instructions for embroiderers, to name a few of the items included in the collection.
So what does one do with a collection of these assorted designs? The first issue and concern is always one of preservation. These designs are on paper that is fragile and brittle, and yellowed with age. They are historic, dating from the 1870’s to around 1940 and beyond. The collection of designs is valuable, because the history has been traced, and is in the process of being verified. The collection has original works by some well know designers from the Gothic age of the previous two centuries which is rather exciting! There are even some original perforated designs and transfers from an old Thomas Brown and Sons catalog. This is a collection that needs to be recorded and preserved for future generations to study and learn from.
The first steps in preservation is to document, photograph, and measurement the designs. This little grouping has been completed, and yet this is not even a “drop in the bucket” when compared with the vast amount of designs remaining to be reviewed, sorted and documented. Along with photographing these liturgical embroidery designs, many of the designs have been scanned, and a few, such as the lovely vintage IHC design in the above photo have been turned into clean line designs for those interested in recreating these embroidered treasures from the past. It is a difficult and challenging task to scan the original designs, and recreate them using a vector graphics program, but with time, the process has become easier. The end results are nice. The designs are clean, the lines are clear to either trace, or to have digitized for machine embroidery.
There is much work to be done with giving a new twist to some of these lovely vintage designs, and that is where the fun part begins. As new liturgical embroidery designs are ready and complete, I will be sure to keep you posted. A collection of white-work designs for church linens is in process, but it takes time to work with these vintage treasures. One must be careful not to damage the original designs, while making them available for use once again.
Solo Dei Gloria
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Filed under: Church Linens, Ecclesiastical Sewing Tagged: Church Linens, Ecclesiastical Sewing, IHC design, Liturgical Embroidery Designs, Thomas Brown and Sons, vintage hand embroidery designs