Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Figured I'd finally show you the blue and gold girdle belt

Since I sat around most of my day waiting to hear from realtors, I didn't make much progress on the new dress plan, so, here's more of the backlog documentation.

Jewelry is an interesting thing in 16th Century Italy. Portraits demonstrate that women decked themselves out with girdle belts, necklaces, hair ornaments, brooches and other items, but the reality is that jewels were heavily regulated. Also of note is the fact that fake or paste jewels were forbidden. This is perhaps why the virtuous woman in my allegorical portrait has only the one large jewel that she really isn’t wearing and nothing else.
I on the other hand, love bling. Looking at other, similar portraits, I’ve decided to add a girdle belt, earrings, and hair ornaments. Large drop pearls are the most common type of earring. Girdle belts of this time period seem to be shorter than they become later and don’t have long drops as often. They follow the line of the bodice. Gold is a very common color. Jeweled hair ornaments also find their way into the decoration of ladies as well.
I assembled a variety of beads and findings I had in stash, adding some blue to match my dress.

The earrings are the same leverback findings I've been using with drop pearls and a small blue bead. I'm really happy with the little floral wreaths. I had been collecting a certain toggle clasp that was made of them and a hummingbird in order to have the hummingbirds for a different project for a lady with hummingbirds in her heraldry. I had begun to despair of using the wreaths. I think they're great in a girdle. The bits that are quadrafoils of hearts I bought bags and bags of at the bead faire back in June to attach to my armor. The other gold beads had been an impulse buy on clearance. I'm always amazed at what I can put together with "junk."

In wearing it, my only issue seems to be how tightly the headpins are twisted closed. I had several pop open because of the weight of the zibellino. I also gained a bit of weight from the time I assembled the girdle to when I wore it (as much as I'd like to say I just measured differently, the truth is holiday padding.) I needed about an inch more slack and so the wires had more pressure added than was good for them. Easily fixed with another link, but I didn't have pliers on me and didn't think to just dissassemble one of the four hair ornaments. Easily fixed and its all back together now. Hopefully I'll take off that holiday padding and can take the extra link out soon.

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