Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sprinting to the end

I've changed my mind multiple times on my project for the Artemisian Costuming Challenge and hemmed and hawed about what I was doing. Back and forth between Russian and Italian and in the process time has run out on me. The deadline is in basically a month, so I'm going to have to buckle down and run to the end.

Since my IRCC dress would actually count for the ACC according to the rules of the challenge, I decided doing another Italian would be the best idea since I could fill in with pieces of the IRCC ensemble for things I don't get done. I'm going to do the Lotto gown, as I've got the hat pretty much done already, the mantellino in progress and a few other bits and pieces in process.

I also made the soccaccia, a couple of girdles and other bits of jewelry, and have the muff almost done. Since I'd like to get back to posting on a daily basis, I'm going to wait and show those one at a time and talk about sources and such separately rather than putting everything in a pile today.

So, today's project is a tassel bag. I wasn't really happy with the IRCC one, so I've been working on doing a better version this time around. I'm pretty happy with this one. The picture also gives a glimpse of the fabrics I'm using for this project. The dress will be orange and blue instead of the orange and green of the portrait. I'm using a smoky/frosty blue dupioni and the rosy orange dupioni silk that I used to line my red dress. Both are stash fabrics and, while not as nice as a taffeta, are a step up from the cotton brocades I'd originally thought to use. I splurged and spent $14 of my $100 budget on a half yard of upholstery fabric for the muff and this bag. Not that easy finding something to match my crazy fabric choices, so I was happy to find it.

The tassel bag is an attempt to make a tasseled round bottomed drawstring pouch worn on long strings over the dress. It hangs low on the skirt. There are two portraits in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion showing this. Illustration 40 is Parisian and 52 is Dutch and I've found a few in other portraits from a variety of countries. Here's a French example from 1581. This print by Jacques de Gheyn II is from slightly before 1600 (de Gheyn stopped engraving in 1600 and was active from the 1580's.) It is a lower class individual, but it has the flap top in addition to the rounded drawstring purse shape.
Album Amoricum of a German Soldier dated 1595 has a number of them pictured, including this lady and this one.

Bags and purses seem to be much like modern ones, with shape size and preference shifting a bit according to the whims of the wearer. I wanted something with a bit more structure after my plain unstructured tassel bag. Looking around, I took inspiration from this German bag made in 1596 and this French tasseled bag from 1595
Although this is later (17th century) I liked the tassels and feel of this Italian coin purse at LACMA

I knew I wanted some structure, lots of tassels, a covered opening, and to be able to use the nifty metal mount I had picked up at a garage sale awhile back attached to a really sad pouch with an elastic opening. I cut the flap to match the mount and then tried to figure out how to give it some structure as I didn't have a purse ring. What I ended up doing was cutting a thick piece of leather that stiffens the back section even with the width of the flap. It also helps the bag hang nicely rather than droop. Then I cut two wide tear drop shapes from my fabric and lined the bag and flap with a blue linen that I'll be using as the lining for the dress as well. I placed buttonhole slits around the top edge and inserted a drawstring. It's a plain piece of grosgrain ribbon with a sliding bead to tighten it. I finished the bag off with little tassels made from the fringe I'll be eventually edging my parasol with and beads left over from my girdle. At present I'm planning to attach a short length of chain to each side of the stiffened section and bring them up to a single attachment point that will attach to another longer piece of chain that attaches to either a pin or my girdle directly. I haven't sewn the chain on yet as I'm going to have to buy the long chain for this and it might not match my short pieces. Or I may change my mind as I dig in stash a bit further since I'd prefer not to spend any of my budget on that.

Anyway, I'm back working on this and determined to finish by the New Year's Eve deadline.

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