The Embroiderer's Story


November 25th, 2008 by Jill Hall

Wendy sent this post and the photos:

Over the weekend  there was much discussion about the recent request  to see the “Backs”.   We were a group of mixed reactions because  there are many stitchers whose reverse side of their work is as beautiful as the front and then there are those of us who will show you our reverse sides only under duress. In the end after lots of laughter and jokes about “backsides”  we agreed that  you should see them, so here are two of the pieces for your viewing pleasure.

Among the things we’ve learned  about reverse sides are that it is really important to make sure the silk work ends( the parts done with the silk perle)  are very securely  wrapped and tucked in on the reverse side otherwise the GST and  even the GP ( gold passing) because they have ribs will catch even a hair of the silk and pull it through to the front- requiring some fiddling to  get the ends back to the back or trimmed. Sometimes because of the friction in a neighboring area  the slippery silk perle seems to have a mind of its own and  sort of unwraps out of its spot  and then the only way to fix it is to make a noose to  try and capture the errant end ( about a half inch)  and snug it back into place.

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6 Responses to “Backs!”

  1. Colleen says:

    Isn’t it amazing when you learn something new, then see it everywhere? I looked at a page of extant knitted mittens…and there was lots of embroidery, silk and metal, and the gold plaited braid, just like on the jacket! I was so excited, because I’d never noticed that stuff before, and now I’ve got the instructions!

  2. Lynn says:

    Thanks so much for showing the backs. It’s amazing how little there is on the backs. Must make burying the threads challenging.

  3. coral-seas says:

    Thanks for showing the backs. I found it very interesting. I suppose I should have expected it but I was surprised at how little silk there is on the back. I was also surprised at the reverse of the gold braid, the back is so simple in relation to all that is going on on the front :)

    In Japanese Embroidery we use a sinking needle (a sling or lasso) to sick the ends of goldwork but they are also very useful for return stray ends to the reverse!


  4. Catherine K says:

    Oooo, thanks for the pics! It really is interesting to see the backs and how the different stitches look on the reverse. No wonder there was so much detached buttonhole on these, very little wasted thread on the back.

    And I think we used Deb’s thin wire needle threader a couple of times to wrestle down some of those loose ends at the last silk session. Worked like a charm.

  5. Julia says:

    How fascinating – I assume the embroidered jackets were lined, to protect the thread from unravelling, catching, or even just scratching the owner?

  6. Lia says:

    Ooh! Excellent photos. Thank you for taking and posting them. It really is interesting to see the backside as well as the front. Knowing, as we do, how careful you’ve researched the stitches and methods this is quite close to seeing the back of the period pieces as well.

    Just look at the economy of usage. All the thread possible is left on the front, not an inch more than needed wasted on the back.

    Thank you.

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