Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Finally found the super zoom so I can see how to tie the frogs

The inspiration for my overgown is another painting in the Prado's collection and I've been taking advantage of the super duper zoom feature. It's a portrait of Catherine of Austria (the wife of Juan III of Portugal.) I saw it first in Janet Arnold in one of the little portraits above a couple of loose and academic gown layouts. The two things I found most interesting were the full sleeves, slashed open and then buttoned closed, and the fact that Catherine is a larger woman. Always nice to see how something fits a bigger body before embarking on its manufacture.

This project is actually supposed to be my mock up for a more extensive version down the road. The inspiration portrait has all that lovely goldwork. I didn't think about it too hard when I started this, but grabbed a blue and yellow cotton upholstery with a pomegranate print I had in stash. That was over a year ago. I'm still working on it and thinking I should have considered harder. This has become a lot more than a quick mock-up, quite obviously. Thankfully, I don't have anything against the fabric, but it is probably not the most accurate choice. With the bright colors, its certainly going to turn out to be much more whimsical than the inspiration. 300 yards into making trim and dozens of buttons later its staying those colors though. I better like it once its done. Like it a great deal, or I don't see myself doing the goldwork, let alone a bunch more buttons in order to make the "real" version.

I stitched on several of the buttons, just to see how I wanted the layout to be. Not particularly thrilled with it. Hoping I'll like it once I get the frogs tied and stitched into place. There are loads and loads of those to make. They don't seem too bad. Just a 4 loop configuration and a knot with a bit of tasseling fringe on the end. Only issue is the sheer number with a pair for each button. Each sleeve has 9 slashes. The inspiration has 3 buttons per slash. I was trying to do less, in part because I have two sizes of button and wanted to use one size only for the sleeves. I alternated 2 on one and then 1 in the middle of the next. Doing that leaves the openings too large. I was going to just fill them with a poof of some sort, but I'm not seeing that sort of treatment on a zimarra with the buttons and frogs (the sleeve on this portrait is unusual enough)so I decided against it. I also have no idea whatsoever what fabric I would use for the puffs. I got 3 opinions on alternating the slightly smaller buttons with the large ones I've already added. The consensus is that it will look just fine as long as they are done in a consistent pattern. I'm going with that. Just need 27 buttons per sleeve. I have around 50 of the buttons done, so that's not too bad. I'm not even going to count the slashes in the chest and the front opening yet. I'm not going to like the totals.

So, I guess I'm going to take a break from button making and switch to tying frogs for a bit and keep experimenting with this sleeve. Doesn't really look like its getting completed this month to be honest. It takes me approximately 25 minutes to make a single button and the whole thing is consuming more time than I'd hoped.

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