Period decoration techniques for surcotes.
I have a surcoat being made for me, but I wanted to decorate it my self. I know embroidery was commonly used, but does anyone know of any other methods for emblazoning your arms onto a surcoat? Needle work isn't my strong point, and I don't want to ruin the seamstress' efforts.
You'll want to supply the forumites with a time period and locale for more specific answers ;)

As someone who studies medieval embroidery as a hobby, I can't say that I've run across very many garments that were decorated with embroidery/beadwork/etc except for church vestments (which are usually completely covered in embroidery/beads/jewels/gold spangels/etc.) or specifically heraldic garments (e.g. tabbards). In other words, not necessarily something you'd be wearing day-to-day, in battle, at court, etc. One notable example that springs to mind is the 16th c. pourpoint in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC, which is decorated with silk floss as well as silver/gilt gimp. Then again, the decoration is hardly heraldic.

Something you may look into—and again, I haven't seen specific examples—is applique. That is, taking chunks of fabric cut out into heraldic motifs and sewing them onto the surface of your garment. I've seen some flags/banners worked this way. Another historically-appropriate possibility is paint.

Look forward to seeing what others have to say on this topic!
Thanks for the tips. The surcoat in question is for my late 13th C English portrayal. It has applique shields on it and I was wanting to put heraldic charges on them.

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