Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Playing catch up so I can do my wrap-up
So, I guess we'll start with the most recent thing (because I'm most excited by it) and work backwards. My sweetbag! I have wanted a 16th century sweetbag for a very long time, but the time commitment required for the embroidery has continually put it on the backburner. Then I found this! The Metropolitan Museum has several Italian drawstring bags with the unique style of tassels that get them grouped with sweetbags. The other two are embroidered, and they are all listed as 17th century, but the first one that caught my eye is listed as macrame or punto a groppo. Knotted lace is much more my style, not to mention more easily done with materials I had to hand. I was lucky enough to snag 3 yards of a beautiful thick reticella border/trim on ebay a while back, and wanted a way to display it, since it seemed too lovely to just use it on the edge of a random clothing item.
There are a couple of extant sweetbag sets with a knife sheath and pincushion all matching the main piece. I was particularly interested in the one in the Manchester Gallery. (I'm having some trouble with their site right now and it doesn't want to link.) I decided to go for a full blown sewing kit with some pieces based on the extant ones and a few more modern takes on the theme. I decided to adapt the knife sheath into a holder for my stiletto, go ahead with the pincushion and main bag, add a needlecase with sliding cap sort of based on the Italian one I talked about here, do an additional more modern needlebook, and a modern style scissor keep. I've also got some gold shell threadwinders I intend to add to the set. When it hangs the pincushion, the needlecase, the stiletto case and the bag will show, and the more modern pieces will be hidden inside the sweetbag.
I tacked the reticella into place on a gold wool fabric, and lined things in a peacock color silk. The pincushion is stuffed with wool stuffing, the needlebook has wool felt pages. I rubbed a little gold enamel paint onto the pewter badge I got for completing the Artemisian Costuming Challenge so that it would blend with the gold of the set, but still show the amazing detail Mistress Giliana Attewatyr included on the pewter piece. The part that was both most time consuming and the most fun was doing the tassels and beads and all the buttonhole rings to attach everything. I hope to eventually find smaller wooden core beads and do the tiny beads/buttons in silk more in keeping with the extant types, but I wanted to at least do the right shape and style of tassel since that seems to be the identifying factor for sweetbags. Thirty-three buttons, thirty-one tassels, fifty-two loops, and a couple of yards of interlooped trim later, it is done.