Textile: braid work

I am working on a long vest for a client, in an early 18th century style. In royal and noble court settings, such long vests or waistcoats were often heavily embroidered or covered in braid work, usually either soutache or cord work produced with a lucet.

I am not a very good embroiderer. Apparently I’m also not a very good braid-attacher. I have learned a few things: it is a good idea to sketch out the path that you intend for the bread to take as you sew it on, usually with some tailor’s chalk; And it is a good idea to work quickly, before the tailor’s chalk wears off. I’m am learning some of the challenges of working with soutache, though, which is trickier than expected. It’s also slow: sewing on straight lines and simple curves is relatively easy, but complex loops are best basted and tacked with numerous hands stitches. Things get out of place quite easily and quickly.

I am not attempting to construct any official garment, or create historical accuracy in this. The intended recipient and audience will probably be a mix of Renaissance faires and social occasions rather than events where historical accuracy, and like only using specific and selling stitches from a manual published in 1739 are allowed.

Which is a relief really.

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