CoBloWriMo 11 – Embellishments Conference, Day 1


Today was the first day of Plimoth Plantation’s Embellishing 17th Century Dress conference, AKA a weekend of historical embroidery!  It’s always fun to sit in a room full of people just as nerdy as you are.

Our project for the weekend is a sampler of 17th century stitches in the form of common motifs taken from period sources.  I’m working on a motif that was used on the “Plimoth Jacket”, a beautiful reproduction embroidered waistcoat they made at Plimoth in the late 2000s.

I ran out in the middle of an embroidery session for an interview so I didn’t actually get too much done, but it already looks a lot nicer than the last time I attempted detached buttonhole stitch!

We also had some very interesting sessions with other specialists from around the museum.  First, we met with Mark the blacksmith to talk about making spangles – silver gilt metal sequins!  He made the reproduction spangles for the Plimoth jacket; they’re punched out of silver wire that has been plated with gold and flattened out, and they’re less than 1/4″ across.

The little bag is holding the bits that were punched out of the holes in the spangles; they’re 1/16″ across.

After we talked to Mark, we heard from Talia the Wampanoag wardrobe specialist about Wampanoag garments.

Talia showing us a warrior headdress

Beautiful quill work

Apparently the purple colour of the wampum belts represents healing

In the evening we had a lovely cocktail hour, featuring a viewing of the Plimoth Jacket.  Apparently this was the second time ever that it’s been on a person!  The jacket is gorgeous, and they lit the room with candlelight in order to show off the full effect of the embroidery and spangles.

The first day of the conference was absolutely lovely.  I’ve made a bunch of new friends, including fellow CoBler Carrie, who worked on the Plimoth Jacket!  I’m super psyched for tomorrow – especially for the lacemaking demonstration!  For this evening, though, I’ve got a date with pizza, embroidery, and the jacuzzi tub at my Airbnb.  Good night for now!


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