Embroidery: Comparing mine to the jacket in Bath Fashion Museum

Something I should probably have done before beginning my embroidery (but never mind: it wasn’t exactly possible in the middle of a pandemic!) was visit the jacket in Bath Fashion Museum that is similar (but not identical) to the one in the Burrell Collection. I did so last weekend, though, when I went to Bath with Harriet and Serena as an excuse to dress up in 18th Century finery.

It was really useful to be able to compare the two, and I think I’ve managed to learn a lot that will come in useful next time (if there is a next time!).

The Good News!

I’ve managed to get the proportions of the pattern just right! It’s all to the same scale as the Bath jacket. My colours are right, the stitches are right, and in that respect all is well. My linen isn’t nearly so fine as the Bath jacket’s linen, but I was expecting that anyway: I knew the linen I had chosen was somewhat coarse, but fine, closely woven, opaque linen is really hard to come by nowadays… It’s also been really useful to see the Bath jacket because it retains more of its spangles, so once my spangles arrive, I’ll be able to space them out in a similar manner.

The blending of threads that I conjectured had been used to achieve blends of colour was correct, and many of the guesses I had made about rows of stitches (two yellow, two blue in the stripy leaf, for example) were also correct.

The Bad News…

Basically, while I’ve got the pattern the same size, mine is in bold… I’ve been doubling the threads over, because I was concerned that they were too thin, but in reality I’ve gone and made everything slightly thicker than it ought to be. The gold plaited braid stitch in particular is very fine. Likewise, the red thorns are much smaller on the real jacket. It looks like the red zig-zags on the bluebells go on top of the already embroidered white (or blue, in the case of the Bath jacket) so I can stop worrying about which way I should do those now!

While my efforts are by no means perfect, I’m not going to begin this whole process again because I’m using doubled over threads rather than the one strand I should have been using. I’ll continue, and then use what I’ve learned when/if I get around to creating something similar to the Devereux bodice held in the Kyoto Costume Institute!

Anyway, here are some of the pictures I took of the Bath jacket, for those who want a closer look:

2 thoughts on “Embroidery: Comparing mine to the jacket in Bath Fashion Museum”

  1. This is fascinating… You’ve done a terrific job and I wouldn’t say the ‘bad’ exactly *leaps* to the mind when viewing your embroidered jacket ( yes, the plan to wait until you have completely finished it and then steal it, is being finalised…😉).
    A tutor I was chatting to was saying that she had not seen any late Eliz. jackets – rather than Jacobean – that used detached buttonhole. She was certain that earlier, they used the sort of silk shading and the like that we see on some surviving sweet bags. Any view on this? (I am still staring at borage and thinking that…well, maybe…!) As I am not madly keen on detached buttonhole, I am hoping that this is a Thing.

    1. Thank you! It’s not bad, I’m just seeing how much I could do better, and so want another shot at it!
      That’s interesting – I’ll have to have a look at that. I’ve certainly seen late Eliz. embroidery in detached buttonhole, but almost every single surviving jacket is Jacobean, so I’d be interested in seeing the jackets with the silk shading on… There are plenty of jackets that don’t use detached buttonhole though, so I think you can live in hope!

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