Eleonora x 2

Eleonora and Giovanni.
Angelo Bronzino, Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy.

It’s been awhile since I posted about Eleonora here, but I am currently very motivated to work on it, and that is due to my Eleonora “buddy”, Kim.

I will freely admit that when I found out another person was doing the Eleonora dress I was bummed out about it.  And especially after I saw her work and how far she had gotten already – it was stunning!

But after getting to know each other we both decided that we were in a unique position that no one else we knew was in:  we were the only people who could understand what the other person was currently experiencing precisely BECAUSE we were working on the same project, even though we are doing it differently.  This has become very handy in trying to figure out how to do various parts of the costume, because two heads can be handier than one!

So after much discussion about hose, girdles, buttons, etc., I have new plans for the various parts of the outfit.

  1. Fabric:  I was planning on changing from needle punch to tambour because I had spoken with someone in needle punch who felt it was not going to work with my fabric, and then I found the person considered the expert in needle punch, and she thinks it can be done.  So I am going to discuss with her and hopefully FINALLY get the embroidery started.  I also just got a portable frame in addition to the one I have built based on the one being used for the Peacock Dress, so it is nice to have options!
  2. Caul/partlett:  When I saw the lovely caul that Twila had made for her historical Snow White costume, I knew that was the pattern I needed.  It is the beaded caul pattern by Lynn McMasters.  I think I am going to make the braided cording for it (and the partlett) using my Kreinik braid that coordinates color wise with the fabric.
  3. Jewelry:  This is pretty cool – we have spoken with a company that specializes in Renaissance era jewelry and they are drawing up designs and getting a quote for recreating the girdle, necklaces, and earrings for us.  The cool thing is is that these will also be available to YOU.  As soon as we get the info I will be posting it here, so if you have always wanted Eleonora’s girdle, you will be able to buy it!
  4. Chemise:  Same plan as before – using handkerchief weight linen for the fabric, and at this point possibly going to hand embroider the embroidery as it is very small and uncomplicated.
  5. Stays/Pair of Bodies:  Same plan as before, done in red velvet, with canvas lining for stiffening.
  6. Sleeves:  I took a closer look at one of the photos in looking at the embroidery on the chemise, and I think that the sleeves are actually attached at the bottom and then slit up the top.  Also, according to this lecture, her sleeves were lined in ERMINE.  Since you really can’t get ermine anymore (seriously???) I may skip the ermine.  However, if I am really feeling like I need to have fur in there, I am going to look for a white fur coat at the thrift store and see about using that and modifying it to look like ermine.

    Detail of portrait posted above.

  7. Piping:  Hah!  Turns out it isn’t piping.  As per that same lecture, it is RIBBON.  And the silver edging I thought was just more of the design looks to be the edge of the ribbon.  After doing a lot of searching online for similar ribbon, I discovered that my daughter and my friend The Princess both knew how to make this ribbon – the design is a variation of a Friendship Bracelet that you can find in the Klutz books, or at any summer camp.  Which means the ribbon just got significantly less expensive!  I have found some DMC floss in silver and gold and they are going to make me enough yardage for the bodice and sleeves.  I am estimating just less than 20 yards, which is a lot of floss!
  8. Buttons:  I have talked to so many different places about making the buttons, and have not yet been successful.  At this point the plan is to have someone make ONE button and then make a mold out of Amazing Mold Putty and then make the buttons myself, possibly out of a metallic clay.
  9. Hose:  I have purchased yarn and teeny tiny little needles, and am endeavoring to knit these myself.  Because of the very small size of the needles it takes awhile to see any sort of progress, so I have no photos yet.
  10. Shoes:  In the lecture I linked to above, they also discussed her shoes, which were made of red velvet.  I am going to try to make these myself, based on this photo.  These are not considered chopines necessarily, but pantoufles, and were more popular in Florence.  Also?  I have problems with my balance, so the less amount of additional height added to me, the better.  These may wind up being something that is just not going to happen, but there are a lot of really great tutorials out there, and I might as well give it a try.  

I am hoping to be able to actually get a lot of this done over the coming winter.  I have only one costume to make this fall for an event this winter, so I should have a bit more time to focus on this.   I am waiting on doing the bodice because I am losing weight and do not want to have to redo it.  Margo has sent me the graded pattern for the bodice and so I should easily be able to figure the size I need.

It is nice to be motivated about this again.  Thank you for the kick in the pants, Kim!

6 thoughts on “Eleonora x 2

  1. Kimiko S. says:

    Glad you are motivated again. 🙂 And the ribbon appears to be fingerloop braiding, if I understand the Klutz book you linked to. That can go very quickly, especially if you have help with it. It may be better to make it in smaller lengths than one large length.

    • Laura says:

      In the book it said it was slanted braiding, and my 15 year old says it is a piece of cake, lol. To avoid strings getting knotted we are going to use the 8.7 yards floss and roll it up on floss holders to make it easier to weave, since there will likely be 10-12 pieces of floss to get the thickness we need. I figure this will make ribbons of roughly 40-45 inches long, which is plenty long for the sleeves, and I can piece around the bodice.

  2. Ginger says:

    Peeking in late here… white and black rabbit fur was a common substitute for ermine, at least by the 19th century. And it’s very easy and cheap to get and to work with. Just a thought!

  3. Amy says:

    I do know of someone who has made the stockings, and “fixed” the pattern that had been published for them. She is quite the accomplished fiber fiend, and put over 100 hours into each stocking. If you wish to be in touch with her, I can help..

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