Outlining: Finishing Touch or Distraction

Vestments and Church Embroidery are most often viewed from a distance.  When an embroidered design is placed on a vestment or an altar hanging, it may often become difficult to see the shape or details of an embroidery design when it is viewed from more than a few feet away.  The edges blur and blend into each other; a design may lose its definition.  Is there anything that can be done to aid a beautiful design, or to help a design maintain distinction?

Angel Wings Completed in Silver Check Thread
Angel Wings Completed in Silver Check Thread

A few weeks ago, it became necessary to make some changes on the Advent Pulpit Fall.  The idea was to use a combination of applique and outlining with couching stitches to provide the accent details in the Pulpit Fall Design. The  No. 7 Silver Check Thread has been couched around the wings. It is a delicate thread, shimmers in the light, and it looks very nice!

Check Thread Outline complete on Angel Wings
Check Thread Outline complete on Angel Wings

It looks very nice…………………. up close.  But the concern is how will that delicate silver check thread look from the middle pews?  Will the couched threads be visible at all, even from a few feet away?  What about half way back in the middle pews. Will any of the design details be visible from that distance? Adding definition is certainly a question to ponder and to give careful consideration to.  When working on Ecclesiastical Embroidery and Vestment Projects, tiny details are needed to aid the issues of visibility and design distinction from a distance.  But how does one do this?

Addition of black outline aids visibility of Ecclesiastical Embroidery from a distance
Addition of black outline aids visibility of Ecclesiastical Embroidery from a distance

The easiest way to add distinction to a design is by using outline stitching.  On some projects that is done using the actual outline embroidery stitch. (Mary Corbet over on Needle’n Thread has wonderful stitch tutorials).  On this project, since the method and threads are metallic, the solution is to use a black thread to create the outline.

Black Japan #5 Thread used for outlining Ecclesiastical Embroidery Design
Black Japan #5 Thread used for outlining Ecclesiastical Embroidery Design

Kreinik makes their Japan Thread #5 in a nice range of colors. The black seems like a good choice to try for adding an outline to the silver check thread.  This thread is a little unusual. It feels almost like a “plastic” material.  It is an easy thread to work with for couching.

Two Strands of No. 5 Japan Thread used as outline couching
Two Strands of No. 5 Japan Thread used as outline couching

Two strands of the No. 5 Japan Thread in black are couched around the outside of the design.   The thread turns corners easily.

Couching threads: Japan Thread in size 1 on two shades of gold and silver, and black cord
Couching threads: Japan Thread in size 1 on two shades of gold and silver, and black cord

The Black Cord by Kreinik is being used to couch the No. 5 Black Japan Threads in place.  The cord, while very fine, is not the same as the Japan Thread in Size 1. It lacks that distinct appearance of a core being wrapped by metallic strips. Although the black cord has worked well for couching the black No. 5 Thread, it helps to keep the cord thread lengths short when couching other threads in place. Otherwise it is prone to shredding.

Black Outline Couching on Angel Wing Church Embroidery
Black Outline Couching on Angel Wing Church Embroidery

When selecting the thread color for use as an outline couching, nothing seamed quite right. The outline is needed, but blue metallic got lost on the silk, and red was too much, as was the purple. The black was the best option.  But it creates a little concern.  The black seems to mute the shimmer of the check thread. The other issue is that from a distance, the black quickly disappears in the background due to the deep color of the blue silk dupioni.  So, there it is: does one add the black detail for the outline, or add more silver threads to make them more visible?  Perhaps it is time to sleep on this question and look at it with fresh eyes in the morning, and see what thoughts a new day might bring. Until then,

Solo Dei Gloria

Be sure to visit our online store front Ecclesiastical Sewing where you may shop for Liturgical Fabrics, altar linen fabrics, church vestment making patterns, liturgical machine embroidery designschurch vestment trims and notions and so much more. You may also find us on  Ecclesiastical Sewing  on Facebook , Twitter, and Pinterest. Sing up for our mailing list  at the bottom of the page on our online store front and receive a free copy of our Small Linens Booklet as our way of saying thank you for following along.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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