Miss Croghan’s Accessories, Part 2: Tambour Time!

Lacemaking has always been one of those crafts that has interested me, but that I never seemed to have the time to pursue. Things like bobbin lacemaking and tatting are time consuming and complicated to learn. I decided I wanted to learn one of the methods that involves embroidering designs onto mesh, instead of arranging threads to create a strip of lace. Finally, earlier this year, I went and did some research into the myriad methods of making. There are several different methods involving embroidery, and of them all, I landed on tambour for my first attempt. Tambour turns up in England around the 1760s, when lightweight muslins from India became popular. It requires only two tools: an embroidery hoop on a stand, and a sharp hook, which is used to tie a series of chain stitches through fabric. Here are images of the hook, and a tambour shawl from the 19th c.

IMG_0527 IMG_0528 L-903-Tambour_Veil-AS

The art was incredibly popular in the Regency, and can be used not only on mesh, but on fabric for dresses, cushions, and more. Tambour is easy to learn, and once you get comfortable with it, much faster than any other kind of embroidery. I picked it because of it’s speed, popularity, and the fact that the basic motion of it, using a hook to create interconnected loops, has similarities to both wigmaking and crochet, so I hoped to pick it up quickly.

Brandon got me the things I needed to start doing tambour for my birthday in March, but then things go so busy that I never got the chance to start, though I had several projects planned. But in the past couple of weeks, I could put it off no longer, because guess what Ann Croghan needed for her wedding? A veil! Once again, these two lovely brides from 1820 and 1823 were my inspiration.

bride18201823bride

Both brides wear a lace veil attached behind their hairstyle with a triangular headpiece that sits on the top of the head. I set out to recreate the style.

First I scoured Ackermann’s Repository issues from 1821 and early 1822 for embroidery patterns I liked. I landed on this one from November 1821:

IMG_0422

Since I was crunched for time, I decided to do only the border, and skip the allover pattern of smaller flowers and sprigs. I also skipped doing a more traditional marking method like sewing a running stitch around the design in favor of my trusty water-soluble marker. The event is coming up fast after all!

IMG_0423 IMG_0424 IMG_0426

For the first few motifs, I was afraid I’d never finish in time. Panicked thoughts ran through my head. “Oh God, I had so many projects planned. This is terrible! I’ve made a dreadful mistake!” But soon enough I got the hang of things: the tension, the way you have to vary stitch size around tight curves and at corners, and eventually I was zipping along at a pace I couldn’t have imagined at the beginning.

The pattern is made up of alternating leaf and flower motifs, so I thought I’d show you how each one of these motifs went together, starting with one of the leaves:

IMG_0437 IMG_0438 IMG_0439 IMG_0440 IMG_0443 IMG_0444 IMG_0446 IMG_0448 IMG_0449 IMG_0450 IMG_0451 IMG_0453

The flowers definitely turned out to be the simpler, quicker part of the pattern:

IMG_0456 IMG_0457 IMG_0458 IMG_0460 IMG_0461

IMG_0473
It was a stroke of luck that Jon Stewart’s Month of Zen was happening right now.
The piece contains 63 motifs total, so the final two were a welcome sight!
The piece contains 63 motifs total, so the final two were a welcome sight!

But while embroidering is fun, getting rid of all those pesky thread ends is not. Each thread starts with something called a waste knot, which you can see in the  third picture. The thread is tied to the mesh outside of the pattern, then brought through to the back so it’s in the right place for embroidering. Each of these knots had to be snipped, and both ends of the thread woven through the back of the embroidery to secure them (no knots in embroidery unless they’re part of the pattern!). I thought about counting how many thread ends there were, before deciding that that was insane. Suffice it to say, there were a lot!

IMG_0493IMG_0491 IMG_0492

IMG_0506IMG_0518Finally, I trimmed the veil edges into  scallops following the shape of the pattern, and removed all of the blue marker. After a nice press the veil was ready to go.

Thread ends in and edges trimmed, there was nothing else between me and that silly little lacy triangle that perches on top of the bride’s head.

IMG_0494 IMG_0496I used a bit of spare buckram from my last bonnet to make the triangle. Luckily I’m working on a wig for myself as well, so I could test out the size using the wig head. (More to come on that later!)

I covered the triangle in white silk batiste, which would give it a smoother finish, while remaining translucent, as the headpieces of the fashion plate brides seem to be.

IMG_0497 IMG_0498 IMG_0499

And once again, what bride doesn’t need as much froofy lace as possible, so I attached two rows of gathered lace around the edges:

IMG_0500IMG_0503IMG_0504IMG_0505

IMG_0520With veil and headpiece both ready, it was time to attach them. I gathered the top, un-embroidered edge of the veil, and arranged the gathers against the headpiece until I had enough space for a bun to poke through. I could have just sewn the ends together, but a few weeks ago I ordered some vintage silk orange blossoms (a very popular wedding flower) to wear in my hair, and the seller sent couple of cute little tiny roses on single wires with them.

IMG_0522 IMG_0523I slipped the wire through the mesh of the veil and the lace on the headpiece, and wrapped the wire around to secure it. This way, I can easily remove the veil and use it for something else, or adjust it if the bun works differently than expected.

IMG_0526
Here’s the completed piece over my real hair. I’m excited to see what it looks like with the correct hairstyle!

I’m now in real crunch time trying to make sure I get my wig done in time, so back to work! Come see the whole outfit in action at Locust Grove on July 18th!

Hannah

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s