My wife and I are starting an embroidery digitizing business
specializing in Medieval embroidery. We are particularly interested in
digitizing patterns based on authentic Medieval designs from various
centuries and countries. I have already searched the internet for
digitized embroideries that are Medieval, and have only been able to
find Celtic designs (such as Celtic knots) and modern cutesy clip art
style designs featuring knights, castles, unicorns, and dragons. We
need help finding digitized embroidery files available for purchase
that are not cutesy nor Celtic, but that are instead either
reproductions or in-the-style-of authentic Medieval embroidery.
The Middle Ages was a golden age of embroidered textile art. The
embroideries produced during that period are simply stunning,
requiring many man-years of work to complete and therefore
commissioned at enormous expense. Many of the greatest treasures
during that period were embroidered garments, and some were deemed
more dear than even gold or gems. Medieval patterns were a
heterogeneous mixture of Arabic, Chinese, Anglo-Saxon, and Celtic
styles. It wasn?t until the Renaissance that these very different
styles coalesced into a homogenous style completely new and unique to
the Europeans. Arabic letters often graced the garments, along with
various human and stylized animals gallivanting about nature scenes.
Vines figure prominently in many examples. Medieval designs tended to
encompass the whole garment without repetition, in contrast to the
later Renaissance designs. Couched gold and silver thread as well as
pearls were common elements in the most noble garments. The results
A FEW AUTHENTIC EXAMPLES FROM MUSEUMS
(Many of these are quite ornate and large, but you'll get the idea.)
OTHER USEFUL LINKS
THE QUESTION: Find purchase-able examples of authentic Medieval
digitized embroidery machine files and/or embroidered accessories
(trims, bags, belts, tunics, cloaks, capes, shoes, hats, etc.)
stitched with replicas of authentic medieval embroidery.
Here are some guidelines.
1) Each example listed must be commercially available for sale, as
opposed to an auction of a single historic piece or a single
2) We aren?t looking for Halloween costume quality, we?re looking for
textiles and digitized embroidery files good enough for professional
theatre, film, and period recreation garments.
3) Medieval means pre-Renaissance (typically 10th to 14th century,
900-1300). Patterns changed significantly in the Renaissance so look
for a date. If in doubt, list the link anyway. Renaissance designs are
typically very repetitive and much more abstract than Medieval
patterns. Renaissance designs are often based on abstract flowers,
pomegranates, pineapples, artichokes, etc. Many fabrics used for
furniture and drapes have Renaissance-style patterns on them.
4) Look for techniques and words like ?medieval?, ?couching?,
?undercouching?, ?stem-stitch?, ?backstitch?, ?opus plumarium?
(stitching like a bird) and ?opus anglicanum? (embroidery for
ecclesiastical garments). Another term for the Medieval style is the
Gothic style (the original gothic style is not vampires and Gotham
city, but rather the source of these later neo-Gothic styles.)