Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Stiff Lace Collar for Hana Kroj

I am almost finished with Sarah's new kroj. This costume represents the region of Hana (see earlier posts for more pictures and details). Here are a few pictures of the collar I just finished. These kroje are easily recognized by the stiff lace collars. In all of the pictures I have seen, the lace is very wide. I could not find any wide enough so I combined a wide lace with a thinner lace. The lace is so gathered that you may not notice that is in two pieces. This collar took a total of 13 yards of lace; 3/4 yard of Czech ribbon; and 1 yard of red ribbon. I made the collar to be tied with the red ribbon but Sarah has decided that she would rather have a collar hook with the red ribbon just as a decoration. To make the collar stiff, use boiled starch.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hanacky Vest

I finally finished the Hanacky vest. I did all of the embroidery by hand. It is not as clean as that done by a machine but it is more authentic. I lucked out and found buttons from the Czech Republic at the local fabric store-JoAnn's. The beautiful gold trim was a gift from a dear friend, Alice Vida. Thanks Alice, you were right. It is perfect. I had a small piece left over after trimming the front so I took it apart and used it to form the lines on the front to the buttons. Here are a few pictures, feel free to click on to enlarge.

Now, I am going to make the stiff ruffled collar...wish me luck.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Everybody Looks at the Back...

One thing we have noticed... when you show anyone a piece of embroidery they always want to see the back.

Notice the pictures of both the front and the back of these pieces. The first picture is of the front of a hankie for a costume and the next is the back of the same hankie.

The third picture is of an apron for a costume and the last picture is of the back of the same piece.

So, keep this in mind when you are working on a piece, such as a costume, that you hope to become a family heirloom. My grandmother taught me how to embroider when I was about 6 years old but unfortunately she passed away before I learned the finer aspects of the craft. Much of what I have learned, I have learned by my mistakes.

Here are a few of my tips...
1. I never tie knots on the back of my embroidery. I work the end of the thread under the design both one way and then the other. Much to my surprise, I have never had a stitch pull out using this method. It seems to be not only more appealing but more practical then bumpy knots on the back of a design.
2. This one is hard to do, but well worth the effort. I never stretch embroidery floss across the back of the design from one area to another. Remember...THREAD IS CHEAP! So don't try to take short cuts by jumping over open areas just to prevent finishing off the thread. Take the time and finish off the thread and start a new thread in the next area. I know...it is a pain but believe me your patience will be well worth it when you get as many compliments of the back of your design as the front.

I imagine that the costumes I am making today will become heirlooms that will be passed on to future generations. My daughters do have Americanized kroje that are beautiful but I now am challenging myself to try to make a costume that people have to look at very close to see that it is new and not an authentic one.