With November 18 (the latest Historical Sew Fortnightly I'm hoping to make) fast approaching, I figured that it's time for another update on my Byzantine tunic (himation) project.
The tunic-in-progress is still essentially a flat piece (though the gores and sleeves are sewn onto it) because I got bogged down in trying to sew my blue linen strips around the neckline. Part of the problem is that I cut the strips on the straight of grain because I did not have enough blue linen left to cut them on the bias, but another part is the inevitable consequence of trying to fit a broad strip along a sharply curved neckline. In the end, some tucks (and a non-period steam iron) will be involved, but I will make it work. At this point, I've gotten the trim about three-quarters of the way around the neck and have sewn it on the sleeve-ends as well.
I have given up on adding the purchased trim to the tunic, not because I can't find it (though in fact I haven't found it yet), but because although the colors of the trim and linen work together, the textures would be all wrong. The purchased trim is very stiff and tightly woven, and has a very slight sheen. Texture-wise, it's everything the linen is not, and that would create the wrong effect for the tunic.
So, for now, I'm going to stick with using the blue linen alone as trim. Later, if I can think of a suitable motif, I might consider adding embroidery even though I haven't dabbled in embroidery for almost four decades now. The recreated himation on the Levantia web site that inspired this project has a simple embroidered design based upon crosses inside of circles (you can see it in this photograph), but I'm not at all confident of being able to make the crosses or circles symmetrical enough to look good. If anyone has any alternative suggestions, please comment on this post.
There's also a question of what kind of thread I should use. I'd use wool, except I want the dress to remain washable. That argues for a commercial embroidery floss, or for linen embroidery thread. I don't have either of those things and I need to keep costs down. Suggestions on this issue would also be greatly appreciated.