medievalrosalie

A rose by any other name... is still a lot of work!

Under construction- linen bed hangings with roses
Under construction- linen bed hangings with roses

I really am making a concerted effort to finish off some almost finished projects and the next on my list is this one! A set of 7 panels of hand-appliqued roses with 28 roses plus several half-roses on each! Applique is a period-appropriate technique which we see on flags, banners and heraldic clothing.

Roses!
Roses!

This mammoth project has been very close to finished but since it's not been needed, it's taken a back-burner to more important things. next year, however, I want to be using these in my medieval Ladies Solar (bed and bath room) tent display and these are the bed curtains.

1330-40 MS Gg4.6.f3r Cambridge Roman de la Rose
1330-40 MS Gg4.6.f3r Cambridge Roman de la Rose

Many early 14th century manuscripts have great roses backgrounds which might be nothing more than manuscript decoration but, as historians know, was a very popular motif for painting on bedroom walls. The very popular stones-and-roses motif having been popular in the previous century, we now see more walls painted with murals and scenes. We also know that beds had curtains, so my thought process was to melt these together and use the roses motif on curtains to surround the bed.

X-ray film makes the best stencils
X-ray film makes the best stencils

Firstly I made a stencil for the roses from X-ray film are drew around it on the red linen. Next the cutting. as anyone who sews with linen knows, fraying is quite a concern, so all care had to be taken!

Stencil time!
Stencil time!

Rose placement needed to be fiddled with, but on the whole, 28 entire roses and several half roses at the tops and bottoms seemed to be a good fit.

After marking each centre with a dot, the question of the centres of the roses arose. 

coffe-dyed linen rose centres
coffe-dyed linen rose centres

I had no linen in a colour I liked, so I took some yellow linen and over-dyed it with coffee which brought  the colour to a really nice gold-tan. Each of these needed to be hand-stitched onto the centres of the roses, and then, carefully, carefully, each rose hand-stitched on to each drop of fabric.

red linen roses
red linen roses

As I'm drawing closer to finishing this part of the project, I am now wondering if I really need to add little leaves around the petals as seen in the top stencil photo, or just leave them like the manuscript.

I'm also wondering whether the centres need to have little dots in the centres, like some of the medieval rose pictures do. 

All that will remain then will be attaching the rings to the top of the curtains and joining the curtains together at the sides to make a super-snuggly area with no drafts around the bed.

28 full roses and some gaps for the half-roses top and bottom where the pattern repeats
28 full roses and some gaps for the half-roses top and bottom where the pattern repeats

I have another fabric which I hand painted roses onto which was a huge amount of work in green and white stripes with red roses, but I feel very much that linen hangings are much nicer.

To be honest, bed hangings would have more likely been wool in my mind, although we know that according to household accounts of Richard III, bed coverlets were also made from embroidered silk. Wool would have been arm, bright and available in large pieces and was widely used for almost everything warm. 

Linen, of course, was used for actual sheets. 

I'm already thinking what I really need is a canopy over the top of dark blue material which I can put stars onto. 

But as Scarlet O'Hara said- that is "another day!"

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