I first learned to finger-loop braid when I hosted a Newcomer’s Fiber Arts class at my home on January 15, 2017. Since then I’ve found it to be an incredibly useful skill to have, as finger-loop braids can be used for practically anything – medallion cords, lacing, ties, loops, etc.
Most of the braids I’ve made have been used for drawstring pouches and garment laces – from early period Roman garb through late period Tudor.
Revenge of the Stitch
On April 28, 2018 I had the great fortune to be a member of a team of people competing at an event called Revenge of the Stitch. The parameters of the competition dictated that an entire period ensemble be made in 24 hours by no more than six people. As if this wasn’t enough of a challenge, we decided to get ambitious.
In November of 2017 we started planning to recreate the garment worn by King Henry VIII in his famous portrait, painted by Hans Holbein the Younger.
The results were as follows:
- 6 crazy people
- 10 pre-event meetings
- 6 yards of hand-couched embroidery
- 150+ hours of prep and research
- 52 yards of fabric
- 108 fabric pattern pieces
- 74 post-it notes
- 60 hand-cast and hand-decorated jewels
- 52 hand-stitched puffs
- 24 hours of constant sewing with 4 hours (on average) of sleep
One of my many contributions to the project was the creation of some dozen or so finger-loop braided lacing cords, made of silk hand-spun by another member of the team, Lord Stephan Grimm.
For instructions for the lacing cords that I made, please visit:
I used Pattern 29: For to make a lace endented — c. 1475
Manuscript Harley 2320, circa 1450. In the British Library, with scans on the web at
Arnold, Janet: Queen Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Unlock’d. Washington, pp. 220-221, 1988. On these pages are reproduced 3 pages from the following: To make pursestrings, T 313-1960, in the Textile Department, Victoria & Albert Museum; London, England, circa 1600.