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When planning the forepart, I already knew that I had to make something really, really nice – because, let’s face it, the rest of the gown is rather plain for a coronation gown…
First I wanted to use a plain fabric and over and over embroider it with Tudor roses in gold. But then I thought of the fact that sleeves and forepart should be made of the same fabric, and as the sleeves were made of the fabric the whole gown was made of, I omitted that idea.
So I cut the forepart from the same fabric as the rest of the gown – and started decorating like mad. I have absolutely no idea what possessed me when I did this, but I just couldn’t stop doing it.
In short terms, I have decorated the forepart with:
- about 300 rhinestones in various shapes and colors, in all possible attaching methods – sewn, glued and crimped on,
- c. 1000 pearls in two different sizes, ,
- about 50 yards of couched cording with various golden cords,
- c. 200 yards of silver embroidery yarn, hand stitched,
- countless beads in gold and silver,
- c. 15 yards of bouillon wire which I stitched on.
In short terms: That forepart became more or less a sampler of period and not-so-period-yet-nice Elizabethan decorating methods… 😉 It’s an item that has entirely been hand decorated – no usage of the sewing machine here.
And in long terms: It took me almost 100 hours just to decorate this forepart.
Then I remembered that the sleeves should be the same as the forepart… and so I also partly decorated the sleeves – especially the upper, outer side – with the same methods.
And here’s a comparison.
First image is an animated gif, showing the non-decorated fabric as well as the decorated fabric; and the second image compares them both side by side. Both images show one pattern repeat of the fabric.
One more thing: My method of working. As you can see in this picture:
I’ve worked on the forepart in a rather chaotic way, practically doing all decorations at the same time. That means I didn’t first finish all couched cording, then embroidered silver yarn, then stitched on pearls etc. – but I took one thread length for stitching on pearls, the next thread length served for doing some couched cording, next for bullion embroidery etc. The picture above shows the forepart about, well, not yet half finished, I guess…
And here is the complete, decorated forepart…:
…and the sleeves…: