Artists Statement

I paint as often and as much as I can. I take classes when I can afford it, but the money usually goes to buy more art supplies. This blog is to share the results with you! I am a Work in Progress.

Dianne Lanning Fine

Monday, September 16, 2013

I'm Baaaack. . . . (echoing) Hellooo?

OK, so this is what I've been up to. Feeding another obsession, or passion, whatever. Two new kirtles. I haven't taken pictures of the the first one and it's embroidery, yet. It was sort of a warm-up piece. For the first one I had some knit fabric(which did not exist in the Middle Ages) in white I knew would be comfy. This post is of the second one in a nubby beige.

Years ago I had purchased these lengths of fabric to make chemises and kirtles for some of my costumed activities. Then life took a different turn. But I'm back.

Kirtle/Lanning - biege, neckline embroidery and beading in progress.
This is turning out to be a "Sampler" kirtle. A basic dress worn by women and men(shorter versions usually) from shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire until about 1500. At that time they still existed, but became more of an undergarment or chemise. That's when corseting began. That's when I STOP now. Been there, done that.
Anyway, here is the neckline so far, all kinds of stitching and over stitching, all kinds of thread, floss, beads and perle cotton including metallic floss in copper. The crosses are in a really interesting DMC copper metallic floss that looks like actual metal. A trial to work with, but with patience (and some language unbecoming a lady) it can be done. These are something called a Syrian cross or a Persian cross or Armenian. Anyway, you embroider an unattached grid, then you weave the metallic threads round and through the grid to make the cross.
The light blue marks are for further elements.
Kirtle/Lanning - neckline and front opening.
This is a little more of the front. Since this easily slips over my head and will be a loose gown, I'm going to fake a front lacing (spiral style). I'll add hand sewn eyelets and a lacing cord, but not open the seam. Gap-osis prevention.
Kirtle/Lanning - right shoulder seam guarding
This is the right shoulder and armhole seam. I've always loved the guarded seams look, so I went to town on this one. All seams on this were initially stitched three times. Basted, then the seam allowances tucked and sewn down with gold thread. Then an insertion stitch in a deeper gold to connect the seam securely. Then I went back on these seams and over stittched in green to add that accent of color.
Kirtle/Lanning - left sleeve, braid
OK, here is the funny part. The woven braid at the end of the sleeve is what I bought originally to be the only trim, to go around the neck and the hem, too! Then I began to embroidery it, even adding that tiny row of green right next to the braid at the sleeve end! Maybe I can make a girdle (belt) of the rest of the trim, since it doesn't seem to be going onto the gown. Well, no there's not enough to go around the hem! Hey, I can use it to cover the openings of the pocket slits!
Kirtle/Lanning - seam guarding of gores
This is right below the armhole. The triangles are gores inserted into the side seams and often the center back and front. They were a part of a kirtle because looms tended to be rather narrow and this added width to the gown's hem. Being unable to decide which stitch I liked best, I did a different stitch (and color) on most seems to guard them. This stitching was used to actually sew the seam most often, but it did also strengthen the seam and protect it from wear. Used Grain of Wheat and a Buttonhole variation stitches here.
Kirtle/Lanning - hem treatment
Got a little carried away here. At the bottom I put a double cable stitch in brown, then a double herringbone in rust and deep gold, then another stemstitch row in rust. In wanting to secure the hem turn up from the top, I did a few more things, including some beading for accents in glass beads with copper lining. The little green circles and the gold overstitching are in cotton perle #8, the brown row above that it is perle #5. The one just below is cotton perle #8 in a brighter brown. Thinking it still needed something, I added the green cable stitch triangles. Hmm, still needs ... something.
Kirtle/Lanning - hem treatment - next
Hence the motifs within the triangles, I couldn't decide if I should only put them on the bottom. This is Gutermann metallic copper floss that sparkles nicely. Just not in my photographic attempts. Empty spaces, can't have that. So I added the motif to the top triangles. It looks funny, so I thought I'd fill the motifs. The fill is a lattice pattern, in green, with the crossings secured with rust colored floss. Not visible here. This is a bit more Jacobean than medieval. Medieval embroidery would be filled solid. I wasn't sure I had enough floss on hand and I can't afford to go out and buy a bunch right now. This will have to do. I am not actually a paid up member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, so I fudge a bit. Maybe later I will fill it in more solidly. When my ship comes in.

The entire garment is hand sewn, indeed the seams were sewn at least three times to do it the Medieval way. This is still a work in progress. You should see the To-Do List.


  1. Hi Dianne:) I want to see the finished piece. Oh my what a lot of work is involved! Nice to see you back! It means you no longer paint? Well as long you have fun! Take care:)

  2. Hi Renate! Thanks, yes, I'm still painting. I keep working on different pictures, just can't seem to let go and consider anything finished. I just have to be careful to not get paint too close to the fabric I am embroidering. I try to do them on different days!

    1. Love your paintings. I had an instructor tell me once, because I was unable to call any of my work finished, to just stop at a point before I needed to mix any more paint. It was very good advice. Oh, and I agree with of the finished garment please!

    2. Thank you Ute, your instructor does give very good advice. I'll have to put it on my dress form and take a picture of it. The amazing thing is that it is comfortable.