1. I just love old paintings of people embroidering.  This one is from 1936 by Nikolai Bogdanov-Belskiy.  

     

  2.  

  3.  
  4. Some lovely examples of Bashkir embroidery.

     
  5. Voila!  Here are the final pictures of my Men’s Ukrainian Shirt.  All in all I think for my very first attempt at one it didn’t come off too badly.  I’ll now be shipping it to my darling so he will have it in about 6 weeks probably. Hopefully it fits!!! 

    Some thoughts for future shirts based on this experience:

    1.  I think next time I would leave lots of room along the edges of each of the pieces and simply fold over the cloth and sew it in place rather than having to do all that gluing and fastening.  I guess it really depends on how fancy a border you want.

    2.  I would have very much liked to make my own collar.  However this being a winter shirt I opted for the polar neck.  Next time I might try a short sleeve shirt with no collar so as I can practice making my very own collar.

    So it has been a really interesting project.  I enjoyed it very much and hope maybe I’ve inspired some of you to give it a go too.  You can make up your own pattern or (like I did) simply flip through hundreds of images on the Internet and work out the pattern of one you like.  You can copy/paste Вишиті чоловічі сорочки into your search engine (it just means embroidered mens shirts in Ukrainian) and let the magic begin. :)

     
  6. How to make a tassel.

    A few days ago I posted a video on how to make a tassel in the traditional Ukrainian way: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZklUoFJ8DHs  

    Here I will show you how I tweaked that process just a bit since all I had was some old red yarn to play with.

    1.  So first of all simply cut yourself a nice long piece of yarn.

    2.  Cut a second piece of yarn just slightly longer than you would like your tassel to be and wrap it around the palm of your hand.  In this photo I did it ten times.  Later I decided I wanted a slightly less voluminous tassel and did a second one wrapping only 5 times.  It is up to you, wrap as many times as you would like.  The important key is that the beginning and end of your thread must both be at the bottom of your wrap.

    3.  Take your wrapped yarn and simply thread your original long piece through it.

    4.  Wrap the tail end of your long piece over the top of your wrapped piece and again let it hang down just below the wrapped bit.

    5.  Next you will cut a third smaller piece of string and place it under all your wrapped pieces and the tail you just flipped over the top.  

    6.  Next you will tie this third smaller piece in a knot and again let the two sides hang down with everything else you have done so far. 

    7.  Next take some scissors and trim everything to approx. the same length (the wrapped pieces, the hang over piece and the two bits from the short piece).

    8.  You can tug (very, very gently) on the main long piece just to get everything nice and tight.  Don’t tug too hard or the whole thing will come apart.

    9.  Repeat all of this on the other side of your long piece and you’re all done!

     

  7. Anonymous said: Thank you so much for your latest post! Will you show us how do the shirts look like in the end, please? A grand thank you in advance!

    Yes, absolutely! :) Either tomorrow or Tuesday I’ll have several photos of the finalized shirt that I will post.

     
  8. I’m going to show you in the next several posts how I went about putting together an embroidered Ukrainian style shirt.  

    1.  Here is what I started off with.  I embroidered the design on what is called “bread cloth.”  You can find it at some craft stores.  If you can’t, do it on linen or Aida 14 soaked in water and dried to make it a little softer.  It took me approx. 3 months working an hour a day to do all of the embroidery.

    2.  After cutting out my pieces of embroidery here are the three things (besides needle and thread of course) I am going to use to put the shirt together.  Bias Tape, Liquid Stitch and small pins to keep things in place.

    3.  First of all I unfolded the bias tape and placed it along each edge of each embroidered piece I had.  In this photo it is the sleeve cuff.  So basically your piece of embroidery fits inside the tape like a sandwich with one bit of tape on the top side, the embroidery in the middle and the last bit of tape on the bottom.  Apply some liquid stitch on the inside part of the bias tape and press against the embroidered part with your fingers gently.  Be sure to only add a tiny bit of glue too.  Too much and it will seep through.

    4.  Next take an iron (no steam) and gently press down on your edges on both the front and back side of the fabric.  Don’t go back and forth like you would iron a shirt.  Just firm presses along the edges for about 20 seconds each.  (I didn’t put a cloth over the embroidery before I did this.  I wish I had because the iron was a bit too hot at times and burned the bias tape a little bit.  Nothing tragic but not as perfect as I would have liked.)

    5.  For those pesky edges of bias tape just fold it under as in the picture with a little dab of liquid stitch glue between the folds and again press down with an iron.  

    6.  Next I fit my cuffs around the sleeve and simply sewed it in using standard white sewing thread.  I sewed a straight line around the bottom embroidered part of the cuff as well as near the top.  Don’t worry about going in and out of every square - as long as you have stitches in the majority of your line going around the cuff near the bottom and near the top it will hold in place just fine.  

    7.  Repeat this process of simply sewing with white thread along the edges (not through the bias tape just through the part where there is embroidery, you won’t be able to get a needle through the bias tape anyway because once it is glued it is really stiff).  In my case I bought a polar neck shirt so I sewed my chest piece high enough up the collar so I could turn it over to hide that top edge.  This is not traditional.  In Ukraine they typically make a small collar out of embroidery too.  I ended up not using the two pieces I had intended to make a collar out of.  The reason was I couldn’t find a collarless shirt.  I thought I could have attached embroidery to the polar neck but when I held up some embroidery against it I felt it would overpower the chest piece and be too much so I opted to leave the neck plain.  Many (ok probably most) people in Ukraine make their shirts from scratch from linen.  Whilst I’m a pretty decent embroider I am a totally inept seamstress so I opted to simply buy a shirt and attach my embroidery to it.

    Next I went about making a tassel for my shirt which I’ll show you in the next post. 

     
  9. Some more examples of Finnish embroidery.

     
  10. These are patterns from Finnish embroidery.  It is typically referred to as “Käspaikka”  It is a technique also popular in the Karelian region of northern Russia.  It is always done in red thread on a white background.  As you can see the concept is quite simple - it is just a typical running stitch where you skip every other bit and then double back to pick those bits up.  It is basically the red version of blackwork.  The symbols are typically folk motifs.