Thursday, December 1, 2011

Last pearl is finally stitched on the mantellina

I've apparently been getting the word wrong. I originally ran across the article of clothing at Mistress Belphoebe's site.
From there I dug a little and found three portraits in the Realm of Venus' selection of portraits. Two are by Licino and the third by Catena, all of them in the 1520-30's.
They remind me a great deal of modern fur stoles, especially the Licino ones which are squared in the front and have interestingly shaped hems.

I didn't have enough fur around to make something this full, but Davey had picked up a beautiful chocolate brown shearling hide to play with. He brought it over for me to look at and I swiped it and cut out the mantellina right then since I had the outer cut from brown velvet. The ones in the portraits might be velvet, might be fur. I really can't tell. I ran across Katherine's mantellina and her discussion of the mentions of them in Moda a Firenze Kat lists wool,taffeta,satin,and velvet with ermine lining. Red is the most popular color listed. Embroidery of gold and decorative frogs are also mentioned. As I don't have a copy of Moda (yet) I haven't done my own reading. I'm really grateful for her summary of options other than the dark and plain ones in the portraits. Not that dark fur isn't beautiful on its own, but I like playing with embellishment.

It's gone through a few design changes. There was the moment of peach flowers. Then I moved on to trying some cutwork to expose one of my favorite flaming orange silks. I designed something that I hope looks like my Krin/fleur on a heart, but isn't so detailed that it is out of style with cutwork designs.
The velvet has a bit more stretch than would have been ideal, especially with the curved shape having most of the mantellino on the bias. When I clipped the krins, it sagged out of place and refused to lay nicely. I didn't interface the velvet or treat the edges. It was a conscious choice, but I wouldn't do it that way again. In trying to come up with a solution, I decided to add some pearls to further decorate the points where I tacked the cutwork motifs in to place.

I'm mostly happy with how it ended up, but it was another of my harebrained decisions. In adding the pearls, I could not use a glover's needle that would have made it easier to put the tacks through the velvet and silk in to the leather of the shearling. I needed a small pair of needle nose pliers to pull the embroidery needle through the leather after awhile as my fingers got cramped and full of holes. I ended up bending about 7 needles in the process of putting the 351 pearls in place. It's not that many pearls, but it certainly seemed like more.

Originally, I had a collar on this, but the curve of the mantle was sitting too far up on my neck once I finished it. I took it off and re-cut the back neckline. I was going to add the collar back on, but decided to keep it closer to the portrait shapes. The largest reason for this is the general lack of collars in the 1530's dresses/partlets/etc. After spending some significant time looking at partlet styles over the last couple of days, a collarless mantle seemed more correct. It is also more in keeping with Katherine's mention of the wearing of mantellinas under other coats for additional warmth. With the oversized baragoni of the dress, trying to stuff more under the zimmara didn't seem like much fun or at all comfortable.

I'd toyed with some gold frogs or edging the mantel in a gold lace, or maybe putting a flat gold braid on the inside of the cutwork, outlining a border. I'm afraid it would further downplay the cutwork and the contrast from the orange. I'm open to suggestions, however, and to be contradicted since I want this to pop and look as finished as it can, especially after all the time spent on it so far. In the meantime, I added a subtle antiqued bronze clasp I've had in stash for a couple of years. It has vaguely heart shapes in the filigree and the color blends nicely in to the velvet. I'm declaring victory and moving on.

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