Baronial Projects

Pavilion Hangings

Hangings are needed to brighten up the Baronial Pavilion at Canterbury Faire. The Pavilion will be used as a dining area and meeting place for visiting baronages and royalty who may grace our fair shores, and provides an opportunity to demonstrate the skill and talent of any who would ply a needle.

These hangings may be stitched in any fashion with any subject or design that you wish, the only requirement being that somewhere within the design there should appear the Tower of Southron Gaard (long may she stand!). Finished hangings will measure 70 centimetres wide by a height of 120 centimetres, so please be certain that your design will fit within this space to allow the final sewing of the work to the backing.

Here are two versions (jpegs) of the tower design, sized to allow you to make them as large or small as need be:
A4 tower (600KB)
A3 tower (1MB)

You can do the work on any appropriate fabric you choose -- linen, wool, velvet, silk. This will be attached to a standard backing provided as part of the finshing process.

You have until the end of the year, so start your needles!

Need ideas? Let your imagination run free -- here's a chance to try out a new embroidery form, whether blackwork, Assisi, raised stitch or trapunto. If the size sounds daunting, get a group together and try making a small motif each which can be slip-stitched to the backing (the ones done by Bess of Hardwick and Mary Queen of Scots are a great example of this approach). Contact katherine kerr or come along to Seamsters Guild.

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Banners and Standards

(See new information on standard layouts below, and production instructions).

The Barony has available to it a large amount of Habutai silk and silk dyes, and has made two large banners to fly at Canterbury Faire, Festival and elsewhere.

Spare silk and dyes are available for purchase by anyone wishing to make their own silk standard (NB: silk must be used for standard or banner production only, no garb!).

For a standard 244 cm long by 64 cm high (2.5 Baronial Girths long), including 5 mompe Habutai silk and silk dyes: $15
For a standard 114 cm long by 32 cm high (one and a quarter Baronial Girths long), including 5 mompe Habutai silk and silk dyes: $8
There is also 8 mompe silk available for a more substantial, but still very light, banner.
Silk and dyes available from katherine kerr.

Please note that, due to the layout used to produce these standards (see below), the cut material will make two of the above.

Notwithstanding the Baronial Girth and its generosity in determining the size, nature and substance of standards, pennons, guidons and other such displays to be borne by the populace of Southron Gaard, we would like to encourage use of the above sizes so that these can be readily used to decorate the hall at Canterbury Faire. Please bear in mind the other requirements and restrictions relating to the Girth, standards, colours and appurtenances thereof. Thus, should any wish to fly a standard of eight Baronial Girths, then they shall be required to undertake the forfeit as outlined by Ancient Custom and Tradition.

The production techniques involved are not particularly difficult. We use acrylic fabric paint to draw the outlines of any design; the dyes are then painted on within the lines (known as the serti technique). Testing has shown the dyes to be easy to apply and control, and relatively quick to dry. A small amount of ironing helps to set the paint/dye and keeps the colours vibrant. See below for more detailed production instructions)

Standard Layouts

Fox-Davies on the topic of standards says:

The term standard properly refers to the long tapering flag used in battle, and under which an overlord mustered his retainers in battle. This did not display his armorial bearings. Next to the staff usually came the cross of Saint George which was depicted of course on a white field. (Kingdom badge or flag) This occupied rather less than one third of the standard. [Actually a fifth in all the examples he shows] The remainder of the standard was of the colour or colours of the livery, and thereupon was represented all sorts of devices, usually the badges, and sometimes the crest. The motto was usually on transverse bands, which frequently divided the standard into compartments for the different badges. These mottos from there nature are not war cries, but undoubtedly relate and belong to the badges with which they appear in conjunction. The whole banner was fringed with the livery colours, giving the effect of a bordure compony. The use of standards does not seem, except for the ceremonial purposes of funerals, to have survived the Tudor period, this doubtless being the result of the creation of the standing army in the reign of Henry VIII.

Here is the general layout for a standard of 2.5 Baronial Girths in length; length and width measurements should be halved for the smaller variant:


Do note that it is important to undertake your silk painting before you cut the individual standards out, as it is much easier to tension a rectangular piece of fabric. This means that it makes sense to team up with someone to work on both standards at the same time.

Below is the template for such a standard with the Kingdom badge in the hoist or the Southron Gaard badge. The latter has been simplified from the full arms to make it easier to produce, yet still recognisable as indicating Southron Gaard (in much the same way the Caidan Cross was used as a populace badge, yet still had references to the charges on the Kingdom arms). You are welcome to use either in the hoist, should you so wish. Though it would be nice to have a collection with the tower on them to fly at Festival to identify where Southron Gaarders can be found within the St Florians encampment...


The top of the standards is at the centre of the page/fabric for both flags, so bear that in mind when planning your design (ie if you're using the Kingdom badge, the standard should have the badge on the left with the top left-hand quarter being blue!) and when drawing them onto the silk.

We have full-size paper templates available so you can slide them under the silk and then trace the design. If you want to use these, contact katherine kerr.

So start thinking about what charges and colours tie in with your current heraldry. Do note that you do not have to have these registered in order to use them on a standard, but if it inspires you to want to make an heraldic submission, contact the Southron Gaard herald.

More information and resources

Painting a Silk Banner for an achievement -- this PDF has clear instructions and good photos and is an excellent introduction from start to finish. It's a fairly complicated design, but does indicates the sort of details you can get. For the sort of painting we're doing, using a brush to apply acryclic fabric paint for the outlines is useful and a lot, lot cheaper.
Heraldic Display, Personal Standards. This provides information on St Florians' approach to mass production of common standards, including a great shot of a couple hanging together (imagine a feast hall decorated with lots of these...). There is also a useful summary of basic design points.
Meridies Guidelines -- very comprehensive guide on practice; do note that Meridies has some very strict sumptuary laws which do not apply in Lochac.
Personal Display for Vikings -- or what to do if your persona is pre-heraldry

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Banners and Standards: Production Instructions

Before You Start

The silk is very, very light, which does make it vulnerable to snagging - remove any rings when you're working on it!

The regional banner silk has already been pre-washed in a gentle soap, but you may want to do so again. If doing a standard, use baby shampoo to gently wash it in warm water and rinse thoroughly. Iron with a non-steam silk setting.

Drawing up the Design

The regional banners are to be approximately 2240 x 2240mm. Design for that size. You may lose some fabric in the casing and with hemming and the centre seam, but at that scale it is not likely to matter.

The personal standards are assumed to be around 2240 x 640mm at the hoist end, narrowing to 320mm at the fly. You'll get two standards per length of silk, and all the design and dyeing needs to be done before you cut them apart, so team up with someone. (It's very hard to tension an irregularly shaped piece of fabric….)

See if you can find someone with a large-scale plotter who can print out your design, or use a program that will let you tile the design for printing. Keep the shapes bold and large. We have paper templates for the hoist and fly ends done for Southron Gaard and for the Kingdom badge, as indicated in the diagram above. If you want to use these, contact katherine kerr.

If you're doing a standard, consider having a painted resist line around the outside of the design. This will hold the silk edges without the need for hemming.

Transferring the Design to the Silk

Lay the paper design out on the floor and tape it in place. Lay the silk over the top of the design and tape it in place; use masking tape. It helps to have at least 3-4 people do this, as you want to be able to put some tension on the fabric to keep wrinkles from forming and to stop distortions in the silk.

Use the selvedges as a guide to keeping the line of the material as straight as you can. Tape the middle, tension to either corner and tape down. If doing a large regional banner, make sure you have some overlap for the centre seam; about a centimetre should do.

You can use a pencil or tailor's chalk to transfer the design. Bear in mind that pencil marks will show through the dyes later, but not through the black resist.

Easy way: frame up the silk and drop it on top of the design pre-stretched, and pencil it on then.

Painting the Resist Lines

The resist lines are the black lines that outline the design - think of a colouring-in books (the resist are the lines; the dyes are your crayons). You'll be painting on the dye in the areas separated by these lines, so you want to be sure that the lines are solid enough to prevent any dye from seeping through.

We've used Fastex black acrylic paint for the resist. It's quite thick and can be diluted with water - not too much, though, or it will bleed across the silk. You want it about the consistency of a thickish porridge. Around 100ml was more than enough to do a large banner. If you need more, it's readily available from art supply stores, craft shops, Warehouse Stationery, Bunnings.

Keep to a consistent brush size so that the lines are the same width. Best to start with a smaller brush to assess what sort of width you are getting. The finer brush from a $2 selection was good for doing the resist lines (around 6ml in width for the big banners), the larger ones for doing the broader dyed areas.

Some silk painters use bottles with applicator tips - that doesn't work that well with this paint as the ones we tried laid down too thick a line which took a lot longer to dry. The brush gave much more control.

Start from the inside and work your way out.

You can paint the resist lines before using the frame, if this helps the logistics, but it does require care, and is not really recommended.

If taking this approach, lay the silk down on a plastic sheet and masking tape it securely in place, working from the middle to the outer corners as before to keep wrinkles out. We used $2 shower curtains as a base and they worked fine. If you managed good tension on the silk for the design transfer process, trust those lines when you paint the resist - if you don't secure the underlying plastic sheet to the floor, you may get some distortion as you pull, but the lines will be right.

If doing this, try to do all the lines lying in one direction first; then come back and do any which run perpendicular to them. This is to reduce the amount of ninety-degree pull on the fabric, as that can drag the silk across the line of paint, smearing the resist lines. Careful placement of hands or weights can also help stop the silk from moving. Use a cushion or a hand towel to stop yourself sticking to the plastic or the silk as you move around. Check regularly that you haven't got paint marks on your hands or arms that could cause problems.

It is considerably easier to paint the resist using a frame to give you full tension on the fabric (See below for info on how to set up the frame and silk). When using the frame, be careful of a trampolining effect - if you're working with someone else, the fabric will bounce so you want to be particularly careful when working on finer details.

If you do end up with blobs, carefully scrape up any excess paint and use a damp cotton ball or flannel to blot up the rest. Dab it; don't scrub the silk or you'll be in danger of pulling it.

Let the resist dry so that it is no longer tacky to the touch - this is likely to take a couple of hours.

If taking the non-frame approach, carefully peel the silk off the plastic and lay it out to dry properly overnight. (It might be OK to let the silk dry completely against the plastic, depending on the type of plastic, but probably best to take no chances.)

Prepare to

To use the dyes, the silk must be held securely under tension in a frame to keep it off any surface.

We sourced second-hand Dexian shelving supports, which the supplier cut to size for us (approx 2400 mm x 1300 mm). They are bolted together with corner plates to provide rigidity. Dexian is great, as it is perforated angle iron, which offers a lot of holes useful for tensioning via rubber bands and safety pins. It is also reasonably cheap ($40 got us enough Dexian for two large frames as well as the bolts and corner plates).


If using the SG Dexian frame, loop small rubber bands through the holes along the long edges (No 8 1.6mm x 22mm). The main point is to use a consistent size all the way to keep the tension consistent. You can use longer bands at the narrow ends to cover a greater distance, if need be.

The rubber bands are looped through the holes along every edge. Ensure that the bands are at staggered intervals when looking across the frame - if you have them line up, you'll get a pull line in the fabric. You can adjust tension on the corners by using different sized bands, or changing the holes.

Safety pin size doesn't matter, as you're pinning at right angles; honking great big ones should be avoided as like to make too big a hole in the fabric. Ones about 2 cm long were good. The safety pins are put through the fabric parallel to the frame, then through the rubber band loop, then through the fabric again. We found it helped to get the corners done first (ideally with two bands at right angles), then do every second band along the long edges. Pin

The aim is to get the silk evenly tensioned across its full surface and ensure it does not contact the surface underneath it (which I'm sure you will have covered with newspaper or your thin plastic sheeting). A couple of chocks under the frame were handy to raise it off the table.

Dye Hard

Dharma Pigments are a cross between dyes and paints. That means they are not as "aggressive" as dyes -- ie they don't gallop across the fabric and wrestle under the resist. To achieve an even effect, it's best to treat them as a paint. Paint with a brush up to the resist line. Don't load up the brush too much, though, as you don't want the dye to puddle on the silk. If that happens, a bit of brisk judicious brushing will help spread the excess dye.

The colours available are red, blue, yellow, green, brown and black. They can be diluted up to 1:4 with water; best not to go past 1:2 if you want a bright result. If you're mixing the colours, make sure you do enough for all the areas required, as you're unlikely to match it again without very careful measuring. If you do mix, it may pay to use an eyedropper to control the amounts in a measurable fashion.

Be very careful with the mixing and proportions, as you can get an unexpected result. We found that a gung-ho approach to mixing red and blue gave us brown…

How much dye you need will depend on how much coverage you require and what dilution rate. A 250 ml jar of dye (approx half dye, half water) was more than enough to do all the red used in the large Kingdom and Southron Gaard banners.

You want to work reasonably fast so that you are always painting from a wet area. If the dye dries and you paint next to a dry area, you will get lines forming -- this can be used to create some nice effects, but is not good if you want a plain block colour. So resist the urge to paint around all the resist lines first and concentrate on doing large areas from one side to the other. Keep the application of the dye even.

For the regional banners, you can use small housepainting brushes (1-2 inch) to quickly cover large areas. Keep a reasonably stiff brush (eg a glue brush) to hand to spread any excess dye (don't let it puddle!). Do watch out for the tendency for the dye to flick into areas you don't want it to be in, so try to work smoothly.

If you drop dye into an area that it should not be in, spit on it to keep it wet and then grab two damp cotton wool balls. Put one under the mark and one on top to soak up the dye. You can get rid of most of it this way. Wet cotton buds are also useful. Dab, don't drag.

The dye will dry to the touch in around an hour or so, depending on the room temperature. Once it's dry, you won't be able to easily do any touch-ups, so try to get it right first go. (It's actually fairly easy, honest!) In 24 hours it will have set -- no steaming or ironing required, although you will need to iron the acrylic resist in any case.

If doing a regional banner, which takes up two lengths, complete the first length. Once dry, line up the second length alongside it to check that the designs will match up reasonably closely when sewn together after both are finished. Make any necessary adjustments to the design of the second length.

Carefully remove the silk from the frame. If you're doing more, wipe the safety pins, as residual paint/dye can affect the next job even when apparently dry.

Finishing Off

Iron the silk on a non-steam silk setting. This will set the resist acrylic and help keep the dye colours brighter. You'll find that there is a certain amount of "feel" in the painted areas compared to the non-painted, but it's all within the material rather than on the surface.

If doing a regional banner, line up the designs and sew the centre seam. You can fine tune any resist lines at this stage if necessary. Re-iron if you do that to set the additional resist.

The raw edge at the fly end of the regional banners should be hemmed. The hoist end should be sewn into a cotton drill/canvas casing, about 4cm wide, to reduce the amount of stress on the silk.

Sew a cord inside along the length of the casing and allow 30-50cm to protrude at either end or make a loop. This will be used to tie it to either end of the halyard for hoisting up a pole.

Standards may not require hemming, if you've used the resist paint to hold the edges. Or you can try using something like Fray-Stop to hold the edges (it does make ironing a little tricky though).

The hoist end can finished with a casing as above, or make a tube casing closed at the top end which you can slide over the end of a pole. It's your call. Bear in mind that with a 2240mm-long standard, you'll want a pole that is at least 2.5m tall, if not taller.


Bear in mind this silk is light -- try to avoid putting it up where it is likely to get snagged on anything (eg trees, armour etc). A ziplock bag is a good container, though be sure the fabric is completely dry before you fold it up for storage.

Flag etiquette demands that you take the flag down if it is raining and at night. The former is very practical -- repeated drenchings will wash out some of the dye and weaken the fabric.