Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey and button loops

I'm sure they go together somehow or another. I didn't get much else done today in between baking and cooking and feeding people turkey and potatoes and pie, but had a few minutes for handwork in between turns while playing Chinese checkers with my kids. I finished the button loops on my muff and tacked on a chain for fastening it to the girdle or skirt.

This is the same envelope style I made for my IRCC muff. While muffs may be a little later than my preferred 1540's gowns, with most references to them not coming until 30 or 40 years later, I love having warm hands and adore the Italian envelope style muff with the embellished outer, fur inner and fabulous buttons that allow the whole thing to be opened up into a mini lap blanket so I made one. I don't think its too outrageous or jarring. Furs were certainly being used as accessories in 1540's Italy as zibellinis, mantellinos and capelets, and similar stole type drapes. While the fashion craze didn't hit until 1570 I doubt the fashion police are going to arrest me for jumping the gun a little. I was going to type up my earlier notes on documentation from when I made my first muff in May, but honestly, Jaquelinne Serafina Katerina and Bella have it covered pretty darn well. I do make my button loops differently than any of them do, but that's about the only place I have anything useful to add to the discussion.

Regarding this particular muff, some of the same accent fabric I used for my tassel bag makes the outer. It's lined with a lovely vintage chinchilla. Buttons are made from glass pearls with a spacer bead below and a blue bead that matches my girdle sandwiched between two large copper seed beads. Contemporary descriptions of 16th century Venetian muffs mention the crystal buttons they were fastened with. I looked for some large clear glass beads to use but all I could find were cheesy plastic ones so I settled for the pearls. I actually much prefer the thread worked buttons that fasten my other muff to these for functionality, but the pearls are very pretty.

As I said, I do my button loops differently than the ladies I previously mentioned. Rather than doing loops of trim tacked in between layers or otherwise attached, I finish the muff and then do 3 or 4 loops of embroidery floss. Then I cover the loops in buttonhole stitches. Basically its this technique My reasoning is this: the technique is used to make edges in period needle laces so it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume they might have used it and it holds really well. Since its an integral loop rather than stitched in the chances of it pulling off are very small.

This time around I got to use my new set of buttonhole gauges. My friend Patience made me a set for my birthday. I'd never used anything like them before, just eyeballing things, but the gauges are nice and easy to use. Just wrap the thread over the gauge and pull tight. Once the threads are anchored you can pull the gauge out and each loop is the same size. I did mess up on one of my loops whn I gauged it and then had to go make whip cream for pumpkin pie. When I sat back down I didn't regauge it and it wasn't anchored so it pulled a little more open and is slightly larger than the others. I may still snip it off and redo it but haven't decided how much its going to bother me yet. I'm definitely looking forward to using my gauges for ding button loops on my camping Persian coats, though. I've got 4 or 5 coats all in need of a couple of dozen buttons and they're going to make the process SO much easier.

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