Embelish a 16th century Shirt

I knew I wanted to push my bounderys with the 4th HSF Challenge: Embelishment, last spring.

Since I’m not much for the over-the-top, decorated things, I decided to make something quite stylished yet advanced.

I’ve been wanting to make one of these shirts, decorated with an embrodery technique called blackwork, for a long time. And this seamed to be the time to make it.



I used Janet Arnolds “Patterns of Fashion nr 1” as a reference.img303

And designed my pattern of flowers and shapes.img303 - Kopia

I drew a design of 3 diferent flower/animal shapes and traced them to the sheer linen fabric. Then I used a heawy buttonhole thread to work the embrodery.

I knew it would take some time to embroder the shirt, but I was shocked to discover exactly HOW slow it went. Each little flower took about 45-55 min and each row of rick-rack took 2 hours.

This slow paste made me change the original plan of embroder the whole shirt, to only doing the cuffs, collar, neck border and rick-rack on the seams.

Sadly I seem to have lost all my in progress shoots, but here are some of the finished shirt.

2013-03-01 14.41.06

2013-03-01 14.33.45

2013-03-01 14.34.51

2013-03-01 14.32.22

2013-03-01 14.35.30


2013-03-01 14.33.57

Just the facts:

Challenge: nr 4 Emelishment.

What: A 1550-1600s shirt.

Pattern: Janet Arnolds “Patterns of Fashion nr 1”

Fabric: 1,5m of sheer soft linnen.

Notions: white sewing thread, 2 spols of brown buttonhole thread and 4 buttons.

How historical accurate: Pretty good, except the terrible quality of my stiching, and the fact that it will be worn by a woman. But it is totaly hand sewn and have the right look of it. So mabe 7/10.

Time: (Way to long) About 100 hours.

Cost: about 100 Sek (11Usd)

Fist worn: For a photoshoot in mars 2013.


2 thoughts on “Embelish a 16th century Shirt

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