Thursday, January 29, 2009

Countess Onora's Rose Cloak

When I was made a Countess, and awarded the Rose, Duchess Mary Grace of Gatland made me the most beautiful cloak. So, when it was time for Onora to become a Rose, I wanted to do something similar for her.

Onora wears early to mid-12th Century clothing from the British Isles, so I wanted to make a very nice piece, but not have it overly flashy. We picked out a really pretty coat/cloak-weight wool in a dark gray and black herringbone. I chose a simple, A-line cloak pattern, and sewed the seams with black wool thread, using running stitch and overcast-felling.

I prepped the piece by tacking a piece of black cotton batiste on the back of where the rose would go. This added stability to the work area. After chalking out the rose design on the front of the cloak, I used sewing thread and running stitch to outline the picture. Now I didn't have to worry about the chalk lines rubbing off.

For the embroidery, I used red, green, white, and yellow wool yarn from my stash. I'm not sure of the brand or weight, but I figure that string is string, and it worked very nicely. I used a "double chain stitch" that was made up by Mistress Alyssia. This is becoming one of my favorite filling stitches. It fills densely and quickly, with very little thread on the underside of the piece, and a very pleasing braid-like texture on the top. Mistress Alyssia doesn't have any documentation on this stitch, other than we know that they used chain stitch. This is really an easy variant of that, and if she could futz around and come up with it, she figures an embroideress in the Middle Ages could too. I like this logic! I used back stitch for the outlining and detail work.

The actual rose and diamond motif is quite large. The diamond is 18 inches top to bottom, and the rose is 7 inches across.

Because the cloak itself is not lined, I did take a bit of black batiste and covered the back of the embroidery work.

I don't have any full-length pictures of the Countess Onora wearing the cloak yet, but I'm hoping to get one soon. I will certainly post it when I get one.

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