When our friend Glynis (Baroness Tangwystl) was put on vigil for becoming a Pelican in the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), several of us set to work on a new set of Norse garb for her elevation. For, having spent years hand sewing garb for countless other people (the very reason she was being elevated to this service peerage), and working on no less than eight pieces of new garb at the time she was put on vigil, Glynis had . . . nothing decent to wear.
She found some gorgeous green wool flannel in our friend Baroness Letitia’s stash, cut out pieces for a Norse coat, and handed them over to me. It took me about a week to hand sew the seams, and then I started in on the seam finishing, which I did by turning the edges of the seams under and stitching them down with a running stitch.
The side gore seams:
And the underarm gussets:
The hand stitching went smoothly, but I felt daunted by the task of embellishing the coat. Glynis wanted an appliqued acanthus vine with embroidered edges, and gave me some deep yellow wool for the applique. But my experiments proved the green wool flannel too light for a heavier wool applique, so I decided to embroider the whole vine instead. I spent a lot of time looking at Pinterest for ideas and techniques, and was inspired by this tutorial by opusanglicanum.
It took me hours of fussing to draft the vine pattern on paper to fit the piece. Copying it free-hand, I chalked the main vine directly on to the garment, planning to free-hand stitch the curls and “leaves.”
Glynis found some gorgeous cashmere merino wool yarn in deep burgundy at The Beehive Wool Shop in Victoria. I learned to do the stem stitch after reading this tutorial by Sarah, and got to work. After free-handing a few dozen curls and leaves, I found myself re-doing too many of the ones that didn’t look quite right. I finally chalked in the curls and leaves too. That made the embroidery go faster!
Needed contrasting yarn to complete the vine, I chose a merino wool blend at The Beehive that would match the linen trim on the Norse apron Glynis would be wearing under the coat. I tacked the bars and stem stitched the buds.
It took me about 35 hours to embroider the whole coat with the acanthus vine. I plan to get it back at some point to do a Vandyke stitch on all the seams to reinforce them. I also made a cap but embroidered that with only a simple chain stitch so that it would not compete with Glynis’ coronet.
I was really pleased with the results, as was Glynis, newest Pelican in the Kingdom of An Tir!