Today I will be talking about the bodice inset for the folk costume of Hardanger and Hordaland. This is also called plastron, stomacher, bringeduk, brystduk, brustklut, and other names besides. It is one of the two major focuses of ornament/embroidery for this costume, the other being the whitework on the shirts and aprons, hardangersom. Recently, one usually sees some variant of the design shown above, red cloth with black velvet edge, ornamented with seed beads and bugle beads in a design of one full and two half white eight pointed stars within diamond shaped outlines. Here are some more examples.
There are three different techniques that use beads.
The first is the same combination of bugle beads and seed beads arranged in different patterns. Hearts are popular.
Beadwork may be combined with applique of cloth and/or ribbon.
Another technique is to sew seed beads onto cloth in a pattern, with each bead forming a pixel of the design.
Sometimes they are combined with cross stitch.
There are three main embroidery techniques that are used; darning stitch, counted satin stitch, and cross stitch. Brick stitch, chain stitch and others were also used, but not as frequently. These techniques were often combined. If you decide to replicate any of these designs, do not be too literal as to color. These pieces are old, and some of the colors are faded, Colors do not all fade at the same rate or in the same way.
Here are a few pieces done in unusual techniques, or combination of techniques. I think that some of these are quite striking.
Outline or Holbein stitch combinations
This is a very old technique and is very widespread. Married women in Hordaland often embroider their shirts in black darning stitch. The darning stitch embroidery on the breastpieces is usually red. Sometimes this technique is used alone, as in these examples. These are very old designs which can be found in many other places.
Black 'stars' form a major motif in many of these designs.
Counted Satin Stitch
This technique was also applied in various ways. One variation was similar to the above, but the frames of the diamonds was made not of darning stitch, but of rows of zigzagged satin stitch.
By reducing the zigzag lines to one, these become area designs, mostly featuring the eight pointed star.
If the diagonal lines are completely removed, this creates a different effect in these area designs. These can be combined with cross stitch.
Another common technique is to embroider satin stitch triangles onto red cloth, and build up various designs in this manner. This is often combined with other techniques, applique, beadwork, or cross stitch. This results in a unique effect, although from the state of many of these pieces, the result is not very durable.
Red star with striped center in the points.
I will cover cross stitched designs in my next article.
Thank you for reading. I hope that you have found this to be interesting and informative. I strongly encourage you to use these designs. Bring a touch of Hardanger into your homes. Use them on wall hangings, clothing, pillows, etc. Help keep these beautiful designs alive.