New Plimoth Historic 17th Century Silk Thread Palette Kit created by Access Commodities

As many readers of this blog may be aware, the Plimoth embroidered jacket in all of its glittering splendor was shown to the public for the first time at a reception on 10 December 2009, at Plimoth Plantation.

A modern day interpretation of a garment nearly 400 years old is in itself not that unusual, for many people today make period clothing for a variety of reasons. However, to my knowledge this is the only group effort to “interpret” a 17th century embroidered jacket using the same caliber of materials, and needlework stitches as the original. As a decorative artifact made by the skilled hands of many dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers, to me the Plimoth jacket is a further testament to the power of the beauty of embroidery to transcend even time.

The development and creation of the more unusual threads used in the embroidery of the jacket have been chronicled by the Embroiderer’s Story blog on the websites Plimoth Plantation and Thistle Threads. However, the twisted filament silk, Au Ver A Soie®, Soie Perlee used for the needlelace motifs also played a major role.

Soie Perlee is a three ply filament twisted silk thread made in France by the Au Ver A Soie® company and is one of the family of silks produced for hand embroidery, that are distributed by Access Commodities.  Even after hundreds of years, needlework stitched with filament silk still gleams and twinkles, a singular aspect that is not lost on today’s embroiderers who remain beguiled with its effects.

The selection of colors for this historical palette silk thread kit closely approximate those used by embroiderers in the early 17th century, and its genesis is due to our belief that other embroiderers would appreciate having these threads for their own use. How can one truly know what the original colors looked like, if the vibrancy and splendor of those shades have been diminished by time? One method is to look at the colors on the reverse or inside of the original piece if possible.

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