Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Lily Pride Azure - Part 2: The Gilding

Click here to read Part 1: The Acquisition.

In Part 1 of our journey, we learned I was able to acquire 8 yards of blue cotton velvet, 3.5 yards of synthetic, but deliciously rich green and gold brocade, and approximately 1.5 - 2 yards of silk satin for the gown. While not all of these are period appropriate, the period correct fabrics are not currently in my budget. 

Most people might start with construction of the gown, when working on a project of this magnitude. Not I. Instead, I decided to start with the show piece. I cut a piece large enough for a stomacher, of the synthetic, but deliciously rich green and gold brocade with a medallion piece to embroider. I chose a cream silk embroidery floss (splendor silk) that matched the luscious wedding gown silk for the embroidery. I chose a split stitch for the design. Split stitch can be found in extant examples in Opus Anglicanum and is thereby, period-appropriate for 1560 England. 

About 1/4 of the way through the design, I decided the deliciously rich gold was not gold enough. It needed spangles. 

Now is the moment I will take to give a brief history/fashion lesson(ish): spangles vs. paillettes vs. sequins. This topic has plagued fashion historians for some time, as, from what I have found, there is no truly globally accepted, definitive definition for any of these terms. Generally, what I have found is "sequins" covers the gamut of small sparkly adornments which are individually attached to garments and other pieces of decorative fabric. Sequins can be metal or plastic; they can be round or square, or any other shape; they can be flat a faceted. Spangles are usually round, flat, and most often made of metal (again, this is not universal). Paillettes are also typically round and flat, but can be made of any material. 
 Back to the task at hand. I ordered spangles from Hedgehog Handworks (I'm so sad they're closing!). I ordered sizes #12 and #14. I decided to put #12's at the end points and #14's at the intersecting points. It was a ton of work, but also a ton of sparkle. And this project is ALLL about sparkle!!! The center medallion has approximately 20g of gilt paillettes. It was worth every hour of work, every stitch. 

My next step would be the trim. But, before I create the trim, I aught to determine how much I would be needing. So, I suppose it's time to create the gown. Though, if I'm going to be creating the gown, I may as well compile the correct documentation. (Yes, I realize how backward this is...now!) I suppose it's time for a trip to the University at Albany Library.