Remember the goldwork on velvet embroidery we were looking at the other day? Besides the actual stitchery, I found the finishing fascinating.
As I explained earlier, the piece is finished into a kind of panel, small “valance”, or something similar, that hung off a larger piece, and was cut from the larger piece. It was cut intact, as far as the panel itself goes, so that the trim is still around the outside, and the back fabric and inside “interfacing” are all included.
Imagine an unconnected pocket 27″ wide and 10″ deep, with fringe at the lower end of it, and an open cut along the top part of it, and you have the right idea of the construction of the piece as I have it now.
This is the fringe. It is made from real metal thread with a silk core, twisted together. It is a beautiful fringe, in its own way. Sure, it’s lost some (ok, a lot) of its former glory – the gold threads are certainly no longer gold but practically black, and much of the gold has disintegrated – but the twist of the silk core when viewed up close is still incredibly pretty. When the piece was in its prime, the silk core would not have been visible, of course, so once again, here’s a good example of an old piece showing us a different kind of beauty.
Here, you can see the top edge of the fringe, a tiny bit of the ribbon over the top of the fringe, and behind the fringe, the color of the silk that lines the very back of the piece. The fabric on the back of the piece is in good shape.
I’m contemplating taking the ribbon from the edge of the piece and seeing just how the fringe was made. I haven’t had the guts to do that yet, though. Should I? Shouldn’t I? Tough decision!
What struck me as really intriguing when I saw it was the fabric that lines the inside of the piece, sandwiched between the embroidered front panel and the silk on the very back.
There, you can see the fabric up close. Felted woven wool. It’s thick. It’s heavy. And it’s inside this panel!
If you took the Nesting Place online class with me last fall or this past spring, you might recognize the look of this fabric. It’s very similar to the Scottish felt that we used in that class for the inside of the needlebook we made, though it seems a little heavier. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Scottish felt, below, you can see the edge of the needlebook insert made from the stuff:
It’s a fairly thick, woven, felted wool, wonderful for stitching on. The new piece above is cut a little neater, and you can see the woven structure if you look closely at the photo.
In structure, it’s the same stuff lining the inside of the goldwork panel.
So the goldwork panel, if lying down on a table with the silk backing against the table, is made up of these layers, starting from the silk backing and climbing upwards:
1. Silk backing
2. A thick layer of woven, felted wool
3. A layer of heavy linen that feels almost like buckram
4. A layer of silk velvet
5. A layer of finer linen on which the embroidery is done, cut away after the embroidery is complete
6. Dense goldwork and silk embroidery, and gold ribbon edging around the whole, with one side of gold fringe
I think I mentioned in an earlier article that the whole piece is sort of heavy. Well, now we know why!
If you’d like the back story on this piece, you can find earlier articles and other pictures on this piece of embroidery here: