HNW - blackwork edging

lisaleon@hawaii.edu lisaleon at hawaii.edu
Fri Aug 28 11:42:33 PDT 1998


In many paintings where a garment is shown with a blackwork border band
around the neckline or wrists, the very edge of the work is edged with
a thin line of black.  Although many of them are clearly a
blanket/buttonhole stitch, others are just as clearly not. How would that
have been done?  A satin stitch whipped over an edge that was (or was
not) roll hemmed?  Buttonhole stitch where the stitches were very closely
spaced so as to form a solid line?  Back/stem stitching a line and folding
over the hem on the line of stitching?  Some kind of cording couched 
over the edge might look like that but then the sleeve and neck edges
wouldn't ruffle up the way the appear to unless the cording/thread is very
soft and thin.  Also, I've never seen or read anything to support that
anything like that was done.

Most of the photos I've seen of extant work that have this black edging
are not clear or magnified enough for me to see that kind of detail.  In
addition, most of those were not clothing pieces.   Most
of the ones that are discernible are buttonhole stitched but on those,
there is the clear TTTTT pattern that that makes.  The only other solid
edge I've been able to make out is on a 17C English forehead cloth (in
Rosemary Drysdale's _Art of Blackwork Embroidery_, p. 13).  This also
looks like buttonhole stitch, except some areas are spaced closely enough
to appear as a solid block and other areas  are in V shapes.  Pattern
around the edge is sort of TTT V TTT V TTT V.

For those of you who have had the great good fortune to see actual 16C
pieces, could you please share in what way(s) those edges were finished?

thanks,
annora



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