Friday, April 24, 2009

Thistle Stomacher

It's finished!!!

My current (finished) embroidery project is an 18th century inspired black linen stomacher with bull thistles.
(The photo has a lot more contrast than the actual piece).

The first layer is finished, the second layer will help unite the colors & values, and there will be a lot more orange. The main colors were done with 3 strands of cotton embroidery thread. The top layer will be one or two strands, depending on the individual details. This should give it that high-detail look of 18th century embroidery. (Only using 1/2 of the thread made the stitches finer, and the thread go farther).

When I started this project I was very interested in the branching quality of 18th century stomachers, along with the central stalk (tree of life) design. Carnations were very popular and have that amazing structure, but I had just finished a carnation and didn't want to repeat it.

Thistles caught my eye; the violets, pinks and greens are striking against the black linen.

I drew the free-hand design on with a white watercolor pencil, which is a little more forgiving on linen than colored pencil, and stays better than chalk. I had to re-draw after several sessions as it fades. The stalk is perfectly centered and each of the main shapes falls along that axis. I wanted balance, without perfect symmetry... some elements still need tweaking, but can be corrected in the 2nd layer.

As with the first stomacher, I will eventually make a gown to go with this. I have enough fabric for a pet-en-l'aire, caraco or a small English gown. I think I will add tabs, but they will not be embroidered, and the shapes will depend on what type of gown I make.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Analyzing and re-creating paintings, 1700 men

Here are the gentlemen that I've picked out. It took me a while to get these to post.

I found these paintings the same time as the others.

Nicholas Boylston
JS Copley
Shirt: white linen with ruffled cuff & collar
Cravat: white linen
Breeches: gold silk
Waistcoat: gold silk
Banyon: green & gold silk, lined with green silk
Cap: red silk
Stockings: white cotton / silk
Table, 2 books, curtain, chair.
I have nothing for this. It will take me a while to get the material, though I've got all of the patterns... I think I've even got the cap pattern somewhere.

Paul Revere
JS Copley
Shirt: white linen, straight cuffs & collar, fabric covered wood buttons.
Sleeveless waistcoat: blue linen, pewter buttons
Table, carving / etching tools, tea pot & sand pillow.

I can do this one now. I just need a model.

Shirt: white linen, straight collar & cuffs
Waistcoat: red wool
Fall front breeches: brown leather
Leggings: brown leather
Moccasins: center seam, dark brown leather
Cloak/coat: green wool
Belt: leather with 2 belt bags
Antler handled knife
Walking stick, dog with leather collar
Standing in the woods.
This will be fairly easy to have done by the end of this summer... yet I find myself with the eternal problem of no male models.

The Ale House Door
Henry Singleton
Shirt: linen, plain collar & cuffs
Breeches: tan leather, drop front, wood or brass buttons
Waistcoat: white wool, pewter buttons
Coat: Gray wool, big pewter buttons
Neckercheif: tan cotton / linen
Stockings: white over breeches
boots: black
Pipe, bag on a stick, dog.

Serving Girl:
Shift: white linen with tight sleeves
Jumps: brown linen
Petticoat: dark linen
Apron: dark green linen
Modesty cloth: striped silk
Cap: white linen
Necklace: black ribbon
Stockings: white cotton
Shoes: black leather
Ale tankard: ceramic
Standing in front of a dutch / english cottage door.

Robert & Gouverneur Morris
Robert Peale
Shirt: white linen, ruffled cuff & collar
Sleeveless Waistcoat: wool
Sleeved Waistcoat: wool
Breeches: matching wool
Cravat: white linen
Bookshelf, desk, quill, document, curtain. One sitting, one standing.

Robert Morris (left) is one of my ancestors on my mother's side. My grandfather looked very much like him, except Frank's nose was quite a bit bigger. The cheeks have stayed with us through many generations.