Monthly Archives: May 2013

Swabian dress #4: Sleeve in progress

The appliques are down on the sleeve and the beading has begun in earnest. Here are some of the pictures of the sleeve in progress.

Base appliques

Beading begins

Full sleeve with appliques down and some beading

We have squirrels

And so you have the reference, here is what we are trying to achieve.


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Elevation cap- heraldic

I made a hat veil thingy. I swore up and down there was no way in hell this thing was going to stay on anyone’s head. The straw form just slid off my head. However… When you put the whole thing together, gravity keeps it on the head. It was like a light bulb went off over my head and words were uttered. “Holy crow, the English actually knew what they were doing in the late 15th century.”


Linen, with linen applique sewn down via detached buttonhole, with metal thread.


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Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Embroidery, Heraldic, Pelican, Sewing


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Bhakail Investiture Subtlety- Gredechen

Concept art
This is based on the door, which is used on the sleeve of the incoming Baroness’ dress.

The structure is a combination of wire mesh and plaster. At this stage it could be a salamander. It could be a duck.  Or a really strange loaf of bread.



Finished structure
It looks more like a salamander with all the plaster on.  You can see the final shape.

Sugar application


Lessons learned
Gilt application
I did not particularly enjoy this step. I played with gold leaf. I went with 23K edible leaf because I will want to use the left over leaf on food at some point. I tried 5 different methods of application, tragacanth, arabic, honey, glare and breath. The arabic seems to work the best, followed closely by breath on the dried sugar.

Tragacanth worked … funny. Maybe because there is tragacanth in the mix, but I don’t really know.  The glare caused the paste to get too gummy. The end result is some of the leaf stuck well. Some of it sticks out off the flames in a weird hybrid of 1/2 on 1/2 off fashion, but the end result makes it look like “living flame”.  Whatever. It’s on and I’m done.  And for the record, leaf is a PITA to work with.  It is fiddly, and delicate, and a wee bit persnickety.

Period pigments
I discovered an interesting side effect to using powdered illumination pigments, quite by accident.  And it’s awesome. I left my red pastry paint at home, quite by accident. I remembered to pack the illumination pigment baggies that Holly and Heather gave me. In the bag that Holly sent was a lovely red. I donned gloves and went about mixing the pigment into the sugar paste as if it were a powdered food coloring. The pigment is designed to be used by scribes, but worked very well to color sugar paste. The gum tragacath/egg mixture has enough moisture to rehydrate the powdered pigment with out adding additional moisture to the paste.  It was so super easy to use.  The color was less bright than a modern color and that was perfect.  I then painted a very fine layer of re-constituted pigment (with gum arabic) to the dried paste.  I didn’t need a lot of pigment to color the paste.   I am very glad for this mistake. I want to try more pigments now. It will increase the cost slightly.  But it really isn’t much more expensive than the powdered food colors I currently use. I would probably get the synthetic versions of the truly toxic paints.  This could be “very exciting” ™.

Here is the documentation for KQAS.Documentation Salamader

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Posted by on May 14, 2013 in Projects, Sugar


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HRE tour: Bavaria- Completed Dress

The Bavarian was completed for 12th night. I am just now getting to put the pictures from the project. I still need to work on getting the headwear to stay on my head with out getting a head ache. And this is definitely a dress that is for sitting. With the 4 yards of material in the skirt, it is heavy and difficult to move quickly in. I also had a hard time keeping people from stepping on the train.However, more than once, I was told I looked like I stepped out of a portrait. So I will take that as a win.


Bavarian 2




In a few days I will post the BFG about making skirts with trains, the easy way. But right now I am just trying to get caught up on the back log of completed projects. So bear with me. 😀

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Posted by on May 13, 2013 in Uncategorized


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HRE tour: Friesia- Design refined

I needed to update the mock up of the Friesian. I had used the same template I had for the Flanders, and it wasn’t working . Friesia (The Netherlands) and Flanders (Northern Belgium), two different places in the HRE. The clothing is similar, but also very distinctly different. I stepped back, selected the image I wanted to work with and modified accordingly. It is always tricky working from a 2 dimensional painting/illustration and trying to figure out what exactly is being portrayed.


I went with the colors and style of the girl in the left back. I will be adding a head covering as I am married (and I have cut my hair short and I can no longer do period hair styles).

Here is a different image, showing the shortness of the skirts. Hendrick Avercamp, Winter landscape with skaters.

Fresian Modified

The challenging part of this garment will be the pleated high collar shirt. Which looks like it will be similar in technique to cartridge pleating. At this time I am going to just bind it with a collar, and wait to do the smocking embroidery. I will post photos shortly of the garment.

Original article:

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Posted by on May 13, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Sugar : Starch ratio experimentation

Defining the problem
How much starch can you cut into sugar paste recipe and still create a paste suitable for use in structural subtleties?

Background research
In the late 16th century, confectioners started publishing recipes for housewives to create sugar paste for entertainment. There are 3 recipes, which are used most often when creating a modern redaction of period sugar paste. The basic ingredients for this paste are rosewater, sugar and gum tragacanth. Some recipes call for the addition of starch. This was cut into the expensive sugar, to make it go further.

This is the paper I presented at King and Queen’s A&S 2013.
Sugar:Starch Experiementation

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Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Uncategorized