King bling

•August 25, 2016 • 2 Comments

Pair of new brooches to fasten johns cloak. Plus more rings becauses I don’t think he’ll be happy until he has at least three on each finger.


To be honest some of the stones could do with more burnishing, but because I’ve had to set them at Gareth’s I’ve had nothing to brace against, so I’ll have to give them some remedial attention when I get home.

i am officially all pearled out now – pearls on my dress, pearls on johns tunic, pearls on hair wotsits and pearls on these. I’m going pearl cold turkey for at least a month.

Fake plaits

•August 24, 2016 • 5 Comments

I spent Monday morning at the grubby end of Sheffield, hanging around waiting for the nice plater to whack some gold on a few things for me.

things including hair wotsits ( if there’s a proper name for them I have no clue what it is) which a set the stones on, pearled up, and attached to fake braids this morning


Because the hair is quite fake looking I decided on wrapping it instead of just a straightforward plait. I think these May end up being a trail run for something better after I’ve learnt what goes wrong with these – not something I particularly relish the idea of because making tubes is a pig of a job, and making tapered tube is a whole herd of pigs.

they are quite long, like knee length long, which is how my dream princess’s fantasy hair has always looked in my imagination. However, I think in practice these things are quickly going to annoy me.

hopefully the silk brocade dress will be done tomorrow. I’ve got as far as trying it on for the first time. It’s now known as the noisy dress, because Gareth could hear it swishing two rooms away.

Gareth thinks it’s ghastly.

•August 22, 2016 • 7 Comments

He keeps wandering past it making ew noises, and last night he told me was deeply offensive to his eyes.

so I must have done something right?

i started by tracing round the pieces I’d cut out for the neck


It made more sense to work out from the central stone, because I needed to get the pearls spaced correctly inbetween


Id already set rose Quartz, amber, carnelian, malachite, amethyst, garnet, mother of pearl, ruby, amazonite( not authentic but a reasonable substitute for turquoise, which is), and topaz, in silver bezels (I used thin copper for the backs because it won’t show) as well as prepping enamel panels. Eight enamels are cloisonné, which were my first attempt, and four are champleve.


The pearls cover the anchor points nicely. As you can see I’ve put the champleve panels to the back of the neck where they won’t show much, it’s because I don’t like the blue much.


As you can see I ruined a beading needle by getting a pearl stuck on the end of it – if it weren’t so fine it would make a nice wimple pin!

and I have one set stone leftover. I’d thought it would be more because I’d deliberately done more than I need.

Am now trying to decide which pearls to edge the design with. I’m tempted to use up the microscopic one millimetre ones because I’m running short on three mill. They might be a bit subtle though, I’d have to use plenty of gold with them.


•August 19, 2016 • 8 Comments

I was thinking it would be freestanding, but now I’m thinking it needs an extra row of pearls and gold to enclose it…?


Sleeve the first

•August 19, 2016 • 6 Comments

Pearls, gold, and silk.


I’ve yet to put the lining in, but I think that’s going to look ok. I will just have to be careful not to turn round suddenly lest I smack unsuspecting passers by in the gob with my incredibly heavy sleeves…

Procrastination finished

•August 16, 2016 • 6 Comments

Yesterday I cut out six shirts, ten tote bags, and a couple of skirts.

Then I spread the silk brocade out, wiggled it a bit, screamed at the pretty, squealed some more, and made Gareth come and admire just how pretty it was.

Then I measured it properly and discovered I had six and a half metres, rather than the six I thought I had, so I went back to drawing on graph paper for a bit.

Then shortly before dinner I finally got round to cutting out.


There really isn’t much of the silk left, just one row of about five circles.

its basically two straight rectangles front and back, two enormous semi circles for the skirts, two short rectangles for the side body, and sleeves. The sleeves and body panels will be lined, but not the skirts or side body- I’m lining the body because I’m worried about stressing the silk by side lacing the dress, so the lining will strengthen it ( the plum silk is very thick). I’m seriously considering making bias tape from the rest of the plum and using it to protect the hem, that way I can replace it if it gets snagged – people are idiots who do not understand why I get cranky when they stand on my skirts, because modern clothes are so cheap and nasty.

i also discovered that the brocade lines up perfectly at the edges for almost invisible piecing, which I don’t much need, but was very pleased by.


Also, if any of my uk reenactment friends can use it, I have two strips of silk leftover from revamping johns tunic. They would work perfectly as edging on a wool tunic, and allow the wearer to talk about patronage, and the value and reuse of fabric. I’m happy to send them anywhere in the uk, but obviously I shall expect a photo of what you do with them.


That took forever

•August 15, 2016 • 10 Comments

When I made john his silk brocade tunic lays year, he decided it was too short – I’d made it mid calf, but it turned out he wanted full length.

so I tracked down another silk that toned with the body, but with circular patterns to echo the cuffs. I just got round to sewing it on.

it took almost a week. The new silk had to be hemmed top and bottom( never easy with silk) whip stitched round the bottom of the tunic ( and two tiny inch wide panels pieced in where the new silk was almost but not quite long enough) silk taffeta tape had to be made and then couched down with red cord. A trip to the dark depths of Huddersfield ensued in order to spend an obscene amount of ( thankfully not my) cash on freshwater pearls, which were then also couched down.

in order to pass the time I also had to watch two seasons of devious maids, which was really trashy and probably bad for my brain, because I’ve already watched all the sci fi.


I wasn’t sure it was going to look alright until I got the tape down. Just the two silks whip stitched together looked a bit crappy, but now it has pearls it looks nice. Excessive amounts of pearls improve everything.


Apart from using fake plastic pearls( spitty spitty) I think the biggest mistake most reenactors make with pearls is just not using enough of them – spacing them out makes it look like you’re on a budget, which defeats the object of using pearls. More really is more, people, how many times do I have to say it?

I’m somewhat disgruntled with whaleys. I rang up to get a sample of something during the week, and they’re now saying your only allowed five free samples, then you have to pay. Which would be fair enough if it were five a year, or five per order. It’s five per lifetime, per ever. Which seems to me like a great way of pissing off your customers and driving business away.

well, I’m off to spend the day procrastinating about cutting the silk brocade for my dress…


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