Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Interlaced Foliage Partlet

This is a partlet that I made for a prize auction tourney in 2010. The embroidery was done in double running stitch with black linen thread. The ground fabric was also linen.

The interlaced design is taken from one of my reproduction sixteenth century modelbooks.(I love looking through my collection of modelbooks in the initial stages of a project!) I did not alter the pattern. In the sixteenth century, the embroiderer would probably have traced or drawn the design onto the base fabric with ink. I taped the linen to a window and traced the design on in water soluble pen. I find that water soluble ink is much more forgiving of any errors! I did a tacking stitch to mark out the edges of where the partlet collar piece should be cut.

The linen was stiff enough that I did not need to add interlining. The interior shoulder seams are machine sewn, but everything else was sewn by hand. Extant examples of sixteenth century clothing suggests that edges were often whip stitched, treated with sizing or wax, or left untreated. I have tested the wax and whip methods, but have found that a small machine zigzag stitch around the edges of finished garment pieces is more effective. I tend to machine-launder most of my embroidered pieces, so they need to be very durable.

The under arm seams were not joined. Images such as those found on the roof of the Pitti Palace in Italy suggest that partlet pieces were not joined under the armpits (Janet Arnold, Patterns of Fashion 4).This would allow for fluctuations in weight. For my own personal use, I have some that are, and some that are not. Since I often have no-one to help me dress, I find that the joined ones suit my needs better. However, I chose a more accurate representation for this project.

I included lucet cords made by Heather with this piece, in case the recipient wanted ties to close the partlet. I also altered some jewellery making findings into decorative pins, in case the recipient of the partlet wished to pin it closed.

During the embroidery, I often felt that I would go cross eyed! One of the disadvantages with some of the water soluble pens is that the ink has a tendency to bleed and blur the lines of the design. Once I washed the collar piece out and ironed it, I felt that the effort had been worth it, and I was very pleased with how the project turned out.

This website has some great pictures and interesting research on partlet construction- http://katerina.purplefiles.net/FlorenceFiles/FLUnderthings_Giorgeria.html

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