These guys must be cold and wet! No tunics, no trousers/hosen, no hats…brrrrr… It’s really fun to make up stories in my head as I work on this piece!
When I studied the stitching direction in the photograph from David M. Wilson’s book “The Bayeux Tapestry”, I could see that the stitch direction changed according to which part of the piece of clothing was being stitched. It appeared that the embroiderers had tried to be “logical” about the direction of the holding stitches and made them all go in the same direction according to the part of the clothing – i.e.. the sleeves vs the body vs the neckline, etc.
On the blue tunic above, the holding stitches on the sleeve run from the left to the right of the sleeve shape regardless of which direction the arm is pointing. The same holds true for the tan tunic in the photo below. The body of the tunic generally has holding stitches that run from the left to the right side of the body.
The most ornate neckline is on the tunic in the top photo. The holding stitches are placed diagonally towards the center of the V neck with a vertical stitch in the center. This really brings out the shape of the neckline. In the photo below you can see a dark reddish/brown stitch in the middle of the neckline and the holding stitch running at a slight diagonal. Honestly, the holding stitch running uphill is my workmanship (or lack thereof). It’s more horizontal in the original!
The belts are also different from one sailor to the next. In the top photo it is stitched with Bayeux stitch.In the second photo it’s left empty for the linen to show through. In the third photo (directly above) it looked to me as if outline stitch had been used, so that’s what I did. In the photo directly below there IS no belt and in the last photo it’s outline stitch again and flows into the forelock of the horse!
The one uniform piece of clothing in terms of how it’s stitched are the caps: each one uses horizontal stitches as the laid work with vertical holding stitches.
This sailor is the only one with his legs visible and his hosen/trousers are stitched so the holding stitches are running horizontally around his legs. I quite enjoyed doing all these tiny spaces in the design. It was a bit fiddly but it was also fun to see how the direction of the stitching affected the texture of the clothing and how I perceived it when looking at it from afar.
I’m sure they’re much warmer now and I love the color their clothing has added. We know the clothing is a general representation of what they wore. Which “outfit” is your favourite? Let us know!