Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Historical Sew Fortnightly Challenge #7 Tops & Toes (The Toes)

What It Is:  Ribbon Embroidered Stockings
The Challenge:  Tops & Toes
Fabric:  Cotton stockings, 1/8" faux satin ribbon
Year:  1887
Notions:  Large-eye needle, blue dye
How historically accurate is it?  Embroidered stockings are shown in all vintage periodicals I have seen although usually embroidered with thread.  For this fancy dress/masquerade costume I chose ribbon.  If ribbon had been used in 1887 it probably would have been silk ribbon.
Hours to complete?  4 hours
First Worn:  Will be worn with The Little Red Riding Hood costume.
Total Cost:  $7 stockings, $3 blue dye, $2 ribbon = $12

" silk quilted skirt; square velvet bodice, with lace chemisette and lace sleeves; large white muslin apron and bib, trimmed with two rows of Valencienes lace; red cloak with hood lined with blue silk; silk stockings, worked with crimson; a crimson satin sash..."
       Fancy DressedsDescribed or What to Wear at Fancy Balls, Ardern Holt, 1887

You can imagine that sewing the skirt, overskirt, bodice, and cloak for the HSF Challenge #6 Fairytale just about did me in!  The sewing room was a mess and so was I!  But I finished it!  Well, except for the blue silk stockings worked with crimson.

Finding blue stockings was enough of a challenge not to mention silk.  So I was happy to find a pair of ivory cotton over-the-knee stockings.  The Rit website was my next stop and they have the most wonderful dye chart with formulas!  I found my perfect color and followed their instructions which includes adding salt for cotton fabrics, and with a little stir - blue stockings!

This pamphlet by Dover Needlework Series called Ribbon Embroidery by J. Marsha Michler has been my go-to booklet for all the stitches I've learned and the design ideas are beautiful.
For the stockings I used a crimson ribbon with a 5-loop French knot for the tiny roses, and a seafoam green ribbon with a ribbon stitch for the tiny leaves.  There was a design in the stocking and I worked with that to create my ribbon embroidery design.
I embroidered the outside center of each stocking and here are the finished stockings for Little Red Riding Hood's fancy dress costume.

A close-up of the stitches.  Click on the photo and you'll get a larger image.
The embroidery will show with the ankle-length skirt.
But then who wouldn't want to show off such pretty stockings!

I love ribbon embroidery and have used it on reticules.  But now that I've experimented on stockings I'm really hooked!  The best that I've discovered recently is small flowers of embroidered ribbon on velvet buttons.  I hope to show you that in another HSF Challenge.
Happy Spring!