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More Hand-Sewn and Hand-finished Dresses

Since I was part of a Royal household at Pennsic, I decided to make clothing in purple and gold so I could match everyone for the procession in Opening Ceremonies.  And because I had hand-sewn and hand-embroidered everything else I own, I decided to keep up with that for this garb too.  There was one major difference here, though.  I did a buttonhole stitch around the neckline in preparation for an interesting form of needle-weaving that Mistress Frigga had described to me once, verbally.  I had been trying to find more information about it since then and had come up sadly short.  If anyone knows about it, PLEASE tell me who I could contact for more information!

Gold apron dress with purple herringbone.

Gold apron dress with purple herringbone

A close-up of the herringbone

A close-up of the herringbone

Purple dress with pale yellow herringbone

Purple dress with pale yellow herringbone

A close-up of the herringbone

A close-up of the herringbone

I had finished the seams of the pink dress previously with chain stitch.  It became very clear that chain stitch does not work well for finishing seams.  Some of them had ripped and once one part of chain stitch is pulled, the rest all unravels.  So I replaced it with herringbone.

Pink dress with green herringbone

Pink dress with green herringbone

A close-up of the herringbone

A close-up of the herringbone

All of this was done with silk thread on linen.  I used herringbone, straight stitch, back stitch, and buttonhole stitch around the necklines.


I embroidered several favors for the reign.  I though I thought I did well on the embroidery, I think I sewed them poorly.  It was pretty obvious which ones mine were because they would only fit a small belt and were not the same size as all of the others.  But here is a picture of them:

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Ioannes’s Elevation Tunic

I was contacted by Ioannes’s wife about doing some embroidery for his elevation tunic. She did almost all of it (I believe), but asked me make one of the Serpentius snakes. She gave me the dimensions and I got to work.

The finished product

The finished product


I only did the one patch. Ioannes’s wife made everything else, I believe (I don’t think she has an SCA name).

Materials: silk thread on linen fabric
Stitches: split stitch

Prince Omega’s Coronation Embroidery

I had been wanting to make something for the master-at-arms that I’m squired to for a long time now.  Now that he is Prince, I thought it would be a great time to do so since I’m sure he’s going to be expected to dress nicely.  I talked to Katheryn Fontaine who was handling his wardrobe and she thought it was great that I’d embroider him something.  Then I talked to the Princess who gave me the awesome idea of embroidering the heraldry of each of the sub-houses in Serpentius and also the Serpentius snake.  She provided me with pictures of each sub-house to go off of.  I was very excited to start this project! Then when I saw her again at Birka she told me that it would be for his Coronation tunic.  I had 11 weeks from Birka to Coronation.  I figured I should give them at least 2 weeks to attach them all to the tunic, so that gave me 9 weeks to complete 7 roundels.  And I had started the first one doing split stitch because I wanted it to be shiny and pretty. I was a little worried that I wouldn’t complete it in time, but I also resolved to make it a priority, so that wouldn’t be an issue.

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Progress at the end of week 1

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I finished this one in week 2


This is the graphic I based this piece off of

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This is the progress at the end of week 2.

Completed at the end of week 3

Completed at the end of week 3.  And yes, it’s pizzled.


The graphic I copied it from

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I started this week 4 and then found out I had the wrong heraldry for this, so I had to scrap it and make something else.

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My progress at the end of week 4

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This was the progress at the end of week 5. I had a bad case of real life this week, so I did no work.

End of week 5

End of week 6

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The photo I was working from

Week 8

Week 8

The photo I copied

The photo I copied

End of week 8

End of week 8

The photo I copied this from

The photo I copied this from

Week 9

Week 9

The photo I copied it from

The photo I copied it from


I have started to discover that the quality of embroidery I produce seems to be directly proportional to the quality of the item that I’m copying. With the heraldry that I completed in week 3, the lion was incredibly detailed and I was VERY pleased with how it came out!  You can see the difference between that and the serpent from the patch.  I was able to clean it up a bit after I had finished everything, but I still was less pleased with that work.

Materials used: silk thread on linen fabric

The finished tunic . Note: Katheryn Fontaine was responsible for the tunic and I believe one of my squire brothers did the trim.

The finished tunic . Note: Katheryn Fontaine was responsible for the tunic (and, I’m assuming, attaching my embroidery to it) and my squire brother Eglan made the trim.

The back of the completed tunic

The back of the completed tunic

Varangian Tunic

I made a Varangian Guard tunic for my now ex-boyfriend. To my knowledge, there have been no findings of one. They have been described as red with gold-braided trim. I also can’t remember where I heard this, but I believe it was stated somewhere that they were also in the style of the local Byzantium tunics. So I decided to have it as described (red with gold braided trim) and with embroidered roundels in the.Byzantine fashion.

To personalize his roundels, I decided to make two of his fighting unit, two of his kingdom heraldry, and two of the heraldry of the army he fights with.


I have been keeping track of how long everything takes. Not everybody gets just how long it takes to complete a project like this (which is why I don’t do it often).

1 hour – CDIV roundel 1
1 hour – CDIV roundel 2
8 hours – EK roundel 1
8 hours – EK roundel 2
10 hours – Southern Army roundel 1
10 hours – Southern Army roundel 2
1 hour – measuring and cutting fabric for tunic
2 hous – sewing seams
5 hours – braiding 10+ yards of metal thread
8 hours – whip stitching the metal thread to the seams around the gussets, gores, and arms
3 hours – embroidering herringbone around the seams at the bottom and at the edges of the arms
4.5 hours – whip stitching braided metal thread around the roundels
3 hours sewing, ironing, pinning, and finishing the neckline with a herringbone stitch

1 hour tucking all of the metal threads under the surface and finding ways to keep them from unraveling
65.5 hours – total

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Note to self (and everyone else) I am NOT going to make any extensive projects like this for anyone I am dating. It took too long and we broke up when I had about 60 hours of work put in to it.

Belt Favor

I made a belt favor with my arms on it.  This is one example as to how sometimes embroidery takes MUCH longer than one thinks it will.  That is the reason why I don’t sell my embroidery.  Nobody would pay me an hourly rate to do it, even if it was just minimum wage. I machine sewed the fabric into a belt favor.

Here is how it looked about 4 or 5 hours through:


The finished embroidery


The back of the finished embroidery (for those who care about such things)


And the final product


Materials: two strands of silk thread on linen
Stitches used: split stitch
Time taken: 10 hours for the embroidery, about 30 minutes to machine sew the belt favor

Seam Finishing

I added a small amount of herringbone stitch to a tunic.  I did NOT make the tunic.  There were only two seams, one on either side extending from the bottom, up through the armpits, to the edge of the sleeves.


Here is how the final product looked.  Again, I did NOT make the tunic.


Materials used: two strands of silk thread on linen
Stitches used: herringbone
Time taken: 2 hours


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