Sunday 22 February 2015


The current Historical Sew Monthly challenge is Blue. You can see what other challengers, whose time management is better than mine, have made for this challenge here.

I’ve decided that this challenge is the perfect opportunity to finally get the entari of my Ottoman costume finished. So far the blue cotton lining has been cut out and constructed, ditto the blue linen/rayon outer layer. The next stage is to attach the fastenings, and for this I’ve decided to make and use frogging.

Although some entaris fastened with buttons, frogging also seems to have been commonly used. It appears in my original inspiration picture of dancers, and in other illustrations from the period, as well as on extant garments.

Dancers, image possibly from the Bodleian

Woman, mid 1500s

Woman's costume, image details unknown

Caftan associated with Selim I the Terrible (1512-20), frogging just visible

Indeed it seems to have been so widely used that it also appears on Turkish-inspired European clothing.

Woman in Turkish dress, Titian, date unknown

For my frogging I used some dark-red soutache which I had been given, and added a narrow gold cord, which I couched into the channel in the soutache. This livened the braid up a little, and also tied it in with the teardrop motifs which I wanted to add at the braid ends.

The fastening is a simple button knot and loop, and to make the knots I used a Clover button knot maker. This is a simple flexible plastic template, just under 5cm / 2” square, with numbered notches and holes. I forgot to take any photos when I was making the knots (despite making 8 of them!) so these pictures are of a sample I made just now without the gold cord.

Knot template, front and back

The knot starts with the cord coming from back to front through the left-hand hole. Then it is wrapped around the template, following the numbers. In some places the cord has to go under an earlier layer, but this is clearly indicated on the template.

Making the knot

Completed wrapping- front

Completed wrapping - back

Once the wrapping is complete, the template is bent slightly to ease the loops of cord free, and then the ends are gently pulled to shorten the loops and form the knot.

Finished knot

I left long tails of cord on my knots, and sewed the tails together with tiny overcast stitches.

The completed knot braids with gold cord

I wanted to group the fastenings together, rather than have them spaced evenly down the caftan, so I placed around with ideas until I was happy with the arrangement.

Planning the braid arrangement

Then I marked the seam line, outer edge of the decoration, and the individual lines of braid onto the caftan fronts with tacking.

Braid placement marked with tacking

I made the loops braids slightly differently. First I sewed the soutache together, then I tacked the braids onto the caftan. Next I couched the gold cord around the loop section, with the stitches very close together so that there would be no long trails of gold thread on the underside of the loop. For the rest of the couching I sewed right through the soutache and the fabric, which secured the frogging to the caftan. This worked so well that I did the same with the knot braids.

Blurred (sorry) picture of the loop braids

Finally I cut the braids to length, and covered the ends with the teardrop motifs.

Part of the completed frogging

Next up - complete the caftan by the end of the month!

1 comment:

  1. How interesting! I never knew how these were made, although I had heard about it!