Pattern Puzzle & Quiz: Threads pt.2

I’m out of town today, off to Los Angeles again through Saturday. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with the answers to the most recent challenge. I thought the answers provided in comments to the quiz were very interesting and educational!

Robyn mentioned the raised embroidery technique was called passementerie. Wiki says this includes effects like fringe and tassel making. Hmm. The photo of the sample there doesn’t convince me but what do I know? There’s more on passementerie too.

Els described the effect as made with bias tubing -with which I’d concur. I don’t think it’s corded though. I think the fill we see is due to seam allowances. For comparison, here’s a photo of a bias corded sample from Colette Wolfe’s book, The Art of Manipulating Fabric.

I love Colette’s book. I love everything about it. All black and white photography (all you need if it’s done well) using plain muslin; it’s the definitive work on surface design effects.

Laurie mentioned the effect was called “Bonnaz” after the Frenchman who invented the sewing machine to do it. That was something else I’d never heard of. Amazing the things you learn eh?

Regarding the gathering feature on the left, I would have described this as cartridge pleating. A lot of people think cartridge pleating must be corded (as on judges gowns) but that’s not necessarily true. Liz C. said this feature is called “stroked gathering”, a technique I’m not familiar with. She says:

Stroked gathering is similar to cartridge pleating (or gauging, as you’ll find it called for the mid-19th century, which is my favorite era), in that the finished results are both low-bulk and very orderly. Stroked gathering is worked along a cut edge and that edge is eventually included in the seam; gauging is worked through a folded edge of the fabric, and is not included in a stitched seam with the flat portion of the garment.

I’ll have to look into this more later. The released fullness I would describe as tucks dispersed amid the “stroked gathers” or cartridge pleating.

More than anything though, I’d be interested in seeing what this pattern would look like. This is the sort of thing I like making.

Thanks for your many contributions!

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  1. Robyn says:

    I also didn’t like the picture on Wiki for the Passementerie. It wasn’t what I remembered it looking like. But went there to look up how to spell it, couldn’t google it correctly without the spelling. I just remember that we sent out the cut fronts or collars to a contractor and they applied the design, So I never saw it being done and don’t know the process. I also agree that it didn’t have cording in it, the seam allowance filled the tube to make the thickness. sometimes it was sewn on with the stitch showing and sometimes it was hidden, depending on the look the designer wanted.

  2. Tay says:

    It’s all attached in the home method by using a braiding or cording foot to guide and stitch the design on.

  3. Liz C. says:

    You’ll find stroked gathering illustrated and described in sewing manuals from about 1830 through about 1920; it’s used earlier than 1830 (the gorgeous gathering on men’s linen shirts from the 1700s are one example), but not often diagrammed. Time consuming and a bit tedious to work, but the results are lovely.

    Scroll down the Hollis & Bell page linked here for a peek at gauging versus stroked gathers; when looking from the right side, the only real difference is that gauging will often have the visible shadow of the folded portion of cloth, and stroked gathers won’t.

    And here’s a vintage dressmaking manual with instructions for the stroked gathers, waaaaaaay down the page:

    (Sorry if that link broke.)

    I tend to study some odd stuff–I teach dressmaking and patterning for the 1840-1865 era.

  4. dosfashionistas says:

    Unless I misremember, this type of work when done with turned bias is done on a bonnez machine. The design is drawn on the piece, or the piece and the design can be drawn on the uncut goods. Then the operator simultaneously applies the bias to the upper side while guiding the machine from underneath by means of a handle that moves the goods freely in all directions, much like free motion sewing. When we were using this type of embroidery some years ago the company that did the work for us, told us there were only 2 people in Dallas that could operate this machine (and they were both handled with kid gloves).

    Fascinating quiz!


  5. Natasha Estrada says:

    Oh I wish I had known that you were going to be in LA I could have arrange for us to get together for a Vegge dinner.

  6. Mary says:

    Bonnez, or Cornelli, is the name of the machine company. I had to train myself to run one; right hand, under machine hand crank, not easy for a very left-handed operator, but do-able. Very long learning curve. The only way to get good is to put in the time, and most companies don’t want to pay for the training time. The machine company will provide the initial training for a new machine purchase, but the real training is the operator using the machine and the manual for 60-100 hours.

    The machine makes a chain stitch, so I don’t think it was the machine used for this dress due to the look of the stitch; it looks like a lock-stitch. There are machines that draw the embellishment material- in this case bias tubing stuffed with its own seam allowance- under the foot and stitch it down at the same time. This piece is stitched to the fabric from the top along its side with a lockstitch.

    A Cornelli, or Bonnez, machine uses a hook rather than a needle. The machine differs from a sewing machine in that it has no top threading, tension or needle. It is threaded only from the bottom, and it uses no bobbin. The thread is pulled directly from the cone through a guide and tensioning disc, and is drawn up through the needle hole to the surface with a wire threader. Instead of a regular presser foot, there are two different ring feet (think embroidery hoop), about 3/4″ in diameter, one which has a rubber ring applied to its base, and one that has teeth all around the ring.

    A needle bar holds the hook, which is screwed into its base and is inserted down through the machine from the top and the hook comes out through a nipple- the size of which controls the stitch size, in combination with the hook size and thread size. The needle bar is held at the correct depth by a screw fitted at the top of the machine.

    When the hook is facing the front of the machine, it creates a chain stitch by pulling a new loop up through the old loop which is held on the shaft of the hook as it re-enters the fabric to pick up the thread. This is exactly the same process as hand-hooked Tambour beading, and crochet.

    This same machine produces a chenille stitch- the raised pile loops that are best know in Varsity Letters- by rotating the hook 180 degrees, which pushes the stitch off the hook as it re-enters the fabric to pick up the next stitch.

    You can “Draw” and “Write” on the surface of the fabric by manipulating the omni-motion drive of the machine with the hand crank which is under the machine table on the right. This rotates the hook in the machine in every direction, in infinite increments, controlled by your foot pedal speed in concert with the speed and direction of the hand crank. Tight turns vs. loose turns or straight lines. Chain is usually straighter, chenille is usually very tight overlapping circles. Very tiring for the operator! It’s a very neat machine to know how to use, but I was never treated with Kidd gloves!!!

  7. RebeccaF says:

    “The machine makes a chain stitch, so I don’t think it was the machine used for this dress due to the look of the stitch; it looks like a lock-stitch. ”
    Mary – I think your right. I have been doing a lot of research on these machines. I first thought this was the type I needed to make this type of design. But as you said it a lock stitch not a chain stitch. I’m thinking there must be a foot and a feeder to attach to Industrial lock stitch machine’s but that is where I am stumped. I have piping feet but they are a straight foot so I can’t do tight circles or sharp angles like on the vintage dress Kathleen pictured. No one seems to know. I manufacture western wear and want to add this effect on some of my styles.

  8. Anir says:

    Thanks Mary for explaining the Bonnez or Cornelli machine. They sound like the mechanized version of a tambour stitch. Tambour stitches are chain stitches made with a hook and used for embroidery/lace and beading. Most beaded dresses are tambour stitched with the fabric stretched out on a frame.

    As far as the technique used on the dress pictured: There must be a special foot for straight lock stitching the bias tube onto the base fabric in order to make the tight curves shown in the photo. Could be like a soutach foot but maybe one sided since the bias is sewn down on the side not down the middle.

    Thanks Kathleen for this interesting quiz.

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