Tambouring works!

Success! The one concern I had with the embroidery for the Cook Waistcoat was how tambouring would work with two layers of fabric, one linen and one of tapa cloth. I was worried the tapa would tear, or it would be very hard to get the hook through both layers. However, having tried it on the sample pocket flap, it works quite well. The hook is sharp enough to go through the layers, and the tapa copes well. The holes even close up a bit afterwards. I even managed to separate the strands on a skein of silk embroidery thread so I had single strands the length of the whole skein. Tambouring is quite a bit quicker than chain stitch, which will help the time boggle, too.

One question when I was examining the waistcoat was which parts of the stitching were chain, and which were tamboured. I think the wavy lines in the designs were tamboured: there is no starting/finishing of threads on the back which you would see with chain stitch. The threads seem to be continuous. However, the brown stems were chain, I think. The sections are too short to be tamboured. If they were stitched in this way they would need to be continued across behind the silver stitches and leaves. There is no sign of this on the back. Instead the brown silk is threaded through the back, especially where the buttonholes occur. That has to be chain stitch: you couldn't do it with tambouring thread which is one long thread from a spool.

The picture also gives you a feel for the brightness of the original colours. There was - inevitably in a piece 240 years old - some fading of the colours on the front of the waistcoat. I used the back of the embroidery to match the colours for the Silk Mill threads, and look how bright and vibrant they come out. The only thing missing now is the silver thread and spangles, which is on the way, I hope, from Benton and Johnson. Can't wait till it comes to see the final effect!

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