Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A 13th century purse


Recently I posted about the Floris V project, as I'm sure you remember. What was not in the design drawing was a nice purse for the Count. Well, of course I could not really let that happen, so I ordered some nice fabric.




The fabric is Indian silk brocade (with imitation metal threads). It is not a reconstruction of an actual Medieval fabric, but it resembles several extant silks from the 13th and 14th centuries. The lotus-flower was a quite popular textile motif.
Although I would normally prefer a replica of an actual Medieval fabric, the tight budget, the purpose of the whole outfit (shows on horseback), and the medievalish pattern of the silk I felt justified in using it.


The shape of this lotus flower comes pretty close to the one in my Indian fabric, although the overall pattern clearly differs quite a bit.


If you mentally erase the dragon medallion from this example, we are getting a lot closer already.


Although the pattern of the fragment above has a much larger rapport (which means that the pattern scale is bigger), the layout of the design elements is pretty similar to the fabric I bought.


The one below also has the same pattern layout, and the size is quite similar to my piece of fabric.


For the lining I used some brick-red shantung silk (similar to dupioni but with less irregularities, closer to most Medieval taffetas).


There are several ways to put the lining into a purse, but this is my preferred mehtod:


I first like to line the purse, before sewing the sides closed. I sew the lining and outside fabric together with a running stitch so that the lining is slightly narrower than the right side fabric. Then turn inside-out.


By making the lining a tad smaller, you avoid bulky side seams. Fold in the raw edges at the short ends of the purse and pin closed. Fold your rectangle in half and whip-stitch the sides closed (sewing only through the outer layer and not the lining). In one go you can close up the short sides of the purse, around the opening.

And then you get this:


You've already seen the tassels that are meant to be going on this purse in the next construction phase btw. And if you haven't, click here.

(To be continued...)


4 comments :

Andrea said...

Lovely! It looks really neat.

Yvette said...

Are you able share with us from where you bought this beautiful fabric? I'm always on the lookout for sources of gorgeous, high quality fabrics. Thanks!

Isis said...

Yvette, I'll be doing a blogpost on the fabric supplier in a few weeks time, stay tuned!

Frith said...

I love that you share your thinking about why the Indian silk is an appropriate fabric, and the illustrations from other sources. I have a background in design and textiles and enjoy learning how others interpret pattern, scale, fiber etc. and where their sensitivities lie. For example, it takes time to learn the different fibers and weaves, and what is appropriate, and it is one of those things that my friends are amazed at, that I can tell linen from cotton just by looking etc.

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