September 19th, 2013
I’ve been researching the narratives of Miao Embroideries. This one I sourced in China. I’m still working on the narrative so I’m going to write about some technical aspects of the embroidery.
This is a reverse appliqué with a plaited couching stitch finish. The off white is the background fabric. The pattern would have been drawn or stenciled on the darker fabric of the foreground, then cut out. The cut-out darker fabric was then sewn directly to the white with a running stitch along the edge of the pattern–a basic running stitch because later it is covered with the plaiting.
The cord or plaiting is made from an inner thread like raffia or hemp and then wound with silk to make the plait. After this is all done, it is couch stitched over the running stitch made earlier around the edge of the fabric.
As for the design, I used to think they were clouds. But now, I think the pattern is based on the butterfly–butterfly antenna and the trailing floating pattern of their flying from one place to another. More about that as soon as I do a little bit more writing. Spend some time staring at the images and let me know what you think. Perhaps someone has written about a similar pattern, let me know.
The embroidery is 25 x 27 not including surrounding frame.
A detail of the fraying edge of the darker cut fabric and the couching stitch.