A note of thanks to The Vintage Pattern Lending Library for the inspiration to tackle garment patterns from 1912. To commemorate the centennial of The Titanic tragedy, The 1912 Project was born. This endeavor has brought together delighted sewers from all over the world, and of every skill level willing to share their knowledge and expertise for the good of the group. It has inspired so much creativity, I am genuinely in awe of their talents.
For my next project challenge I went with Ladies Dress Pattern #4016, released April 7, 1912. The fun part about this particular pattern is there are no directions, only pattern pieces, and a lovely cut work collar that just drew me in. It’s been a long time since my embroidery days, but I was thrilled to take a stab at this one.
For the collar I decided to use white ecclesiastical linen and white DMC #20/32m cotton thread. I am SO pleased with this fabric because unlike apparel linen, it is quite stiff and tightly woven. When you put a needle through it, it snaps like twill. The downloaded collar pattern only prints one half of the design, which I then printed again onto tracing paper. This made the mirror image visible on the back, so taping the two together made a detail of the full collar. Using a FriXion pen I traced the design on my linen, attached it to my stretcher bars and set to work.
Please note: I am not an expert regarding white work embroidery. There is such a broad spectrum of techniques including Hedebo, Aryshire, Richelieu, and Broderie Anglaise, to name a few. Then within these techniques, there are a variety of subcategories which varied by when and the region where it was made. I think my version is a combination of a few – mostly Broderie Anglaise, but it is what worked for me.
To begin the scallop edge, I made a knot in my thread and stuck it in my fabric about two scallops away from where I was going to start. With tiny running stitches in the stitching area, I ran the thread to my starting point. Working right to left, I started my button hole stitch. I found it easiest to hold the tail thread up and out of the way with my left thumb, making my stitch through the loop, then pulling the thread taut making a nice ‘bead’ along the edge. Pardon the lack of a manicure – too much gardening. I need to get my hands out of the dirt and start sewing!
To finish my threads, I ended with a back stitch then stitched forward inside the open scallop design line with a running stitch until I used up the excess thread. This gave the scallop a bit of padding, the linen some stability, and hides any threads. This is after all, a collar and it’s nice to have the underside look as pretty as the top (yes, Toby Barton – I fully agree).
For the eyelets, I used a DMC #20/28m which is a bit finer than what I used around the scallop edge, I first ran a running stitch around the circle just inside the line, and then again, running up and down the opposite of my first go around. For the smaller holes I used an awl to push a hole in the center and began my button hole stitch working right to left, right going inside the hole, and left being the traced circle. Giving a slight pull at the end of each stitch ensured a nice round eyelet. For the larger eyelets I cut a cross pattern within the hole, then trimmed the flaps leaving a slight opening. Following the same method as my smaller eyelets, working from right to left, and inside to out, naturally pulled the excess fabric edge under and encased it in the underside of the buttonhole stitch – I liked the look.
For the larger, teardrop shapes I really wanted to go with the technique that Cassandra Edson used on her collar (oh, so pretty) but since my fabric is a very tight weave, I don’t think I’ll have the eye power to make it work. I’m probably going to use the same button hole stitch throughout – the jury is still out on that one. For now I’m going to put my collar aside to start working on the actual dress. I’ll have to keep you posted.