Sunday, April 29, 2007

Finishing the seams of 14th/15th century pouches

{ Edit (by Isis): I thought I'd add a link here to an older (Dutch) post I did on the finishing of seams. Also it might be worth noticing that possibly the "lussenvlechten" as described by Machteld in this post, also seems to have been used on clothing. Read about this here. }

The internet connection stil works, and I've got a few days off, so it's time for a post I promised a few weeks ago :-)

Finishing the seams of 14th/15th century pouches

The outward seams of (embroidered) textile pouches can be finished in at least two ways. One method is to cover the seams by tablet weaving. There are some examples of textile pouches finished with this technique in Dress accessories (Egan, G., Pritchard, F. (2002), Dress accessories. c.1150- c.1450, London: The Boydell Press). The side seams of the 14th century London textile pouches discussed in this book are covered with tablet weaving.

Another technique is that of “embroidered braids”. The technique is described by Frida Sorber (Ceulemans, 1988, in Dutch) and she calls it “lussenvlechten”. I haven't found an English translation yet, so I just call it “embroidered braids”, because that's what the technique is all about. Some authors present descriptions of pouches, and seem to try to describe this type of braided finishes. In his embroidery manual “A stitch out of time” Wymarc, for example, describes his observations of the finishing of the German14th century pouches in the Victoria & Albert as follows: “The seams of the bag are covered with a decorative stitch. The stitch is composed of alternating colors, red and what might have once been gilt. I cannot be sure how the stitch was done, but I have re-created it using two needles (one for each color) and threading each color up through the previous stitch and back down, in a kind of double running stitch.” (p 41) Schmedding (1978) describes the finishing of a Swiss 15th century purse as follows: “Alle Kanten sind mit Grünen Seidenzwirnen und Goldfäden (...) in einer Art Flechttechnik befestigt.” p 190

It seems to have been quite common technique in the European mainland in the 14th and 15th century. You can find examples of purses finished with embroidered braids in these books and/or musea:

the Netherlands , Maastricht St Servaas Cathedral
Staufer, A. (1991), Die mittelalterlichen Textilien von St. Servatius in Maastricht, Bern: Abegg-Stiftung Riggisberg
Belgium, Tongeren
Ceulemans, C. (1988), Tongeren. Basiliek O.L. Vrouwe Geboorte. I. Textiel van de vroege middeleeuwen tot het Concilie van Trente, Leuven: Peeters
Germany, e.g. in Victoria and Albert Museum
Wymarc, “A stitch out of time”
Switzerland, Zürich, Sweizerisches Landesmuseum
Schmedding, B. (1978), Mittelalterliche Textilien in Kirchen und Klöstern der Schweiz, Bern: Abegg-Stiftung
Schneider, J. (1975), Textilien. Catalog der Sammlung des Schweizerischen Landesmuseums Zürich, Zürich: Verlag Berichthaus

Some conclusions drawn from the literature discussed above and my own observations of purses in Maastricht and Zürich:
each seam is covered with a braid
use contrasting colours in silk or silk and gold thread
tassels are attached over the seams

This is how I apply the technique:

attach two loops of thread (A and B) to the inside of the pouch

attach loop A

attach loop A, finished

pull loop B through loop A and attach loop B

pull loop A through loop B and attach loop B

cover all sides


Isis said...

Machteld, I really love how you did this tutorial!
I added a little something on top of your post, you'll see why. I hope you don't mind!!

Machteld said...

Thanks, I forgot about it! Somehow, we have to make sure important "key" posts don't get lost in the blog...

Maybe we can add a box with permanent links to some of our "key posts" in the right column of the blog, e.g
the one with the embroidered braid how to's and your "frilled veil paper".

Another idea might be to clean up our tags and use a limited number of tags only, just like you did in the Deventer burgerscap blog,

But, i don't have access to the dashboard lay-out ... :-)

Isis said...

good idea :)
i recently discovered how to make you able to change the layout, so i'll just do that :)

and i'll try to think of what the limited number of tags should be :)

Some that come to mind are:

work in progress
how to make ... (tutorials)
brainding technigues
frilled headwear
sources (books etc)

i think it would be best to stick to 10-15 tags.

Racaire said...

Thank you very much!
I think I will try it for my new pouch :)

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