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Pretend Alchemy: Turning Silver into Gold

For the Queen of Margonia gown, I knew I wanted a wide gold trim that looked like embroidery.  I fell in love with this trim: I ordered a yard of it to experiment with. This is always a good idea when you're planning a major purchase. I'm glad I did, because when it arrived, I was disappointed to find that it wasn't the rich gold in the picture. Instead, it was a light beige-y gold with a green cast to it. But I still loved the design, so I sought a solution. Paint wouldn't work, because gold paint looks like gold paint.   I thought about dying it, but I'm not skilled enough at dying to be sure of getting the color I wanted....

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The gown: Dyeing and Sewing Velvet(een)

When I started this project, I knew I wanted the gown to be made of purple velvet. Now, "purple" means different things to different people.   I could have gone with the most authentic choice, Tyrian Purple, the color that was the true "Royal Purple"... no, actually I couldn't.  True Tyrian purple is made, according to Wikipedia, from a certain species of predatory sea snails, and it takes tens of thousands of them to make enough dye for one garment.  Aside from the difficulty of finding the wee beasties and extracting the dye from them, I have a severe gastropod phobia and just the phrase "predatory sea snails" makes me break out in a fine sweat.   So, scrap authenticity..but I could use a...

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Cats in the Sewing Room: A Public Service Announcement

I get it, I really do.  Sewing, and especially costuming, results in lots of little ends and pieces of stuff strewn around your sewing space. Who wants to be constantly stopping to clean it all up when you could be sewing?  It's easier and some would say more efficient to leave it all till the end of the project and then do one massive cleanup. Unless, that is, you share your sewing space with cats. Cats like to play with that stuff, and often, playing with it leads to eating it.  If your cat swallows string, thread, ribbon, or the like, that is a veterinary emergency. Untended, it can be fatal.  At best, it will be expensive. A week ago, Nicola...

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Embellishing the Forepart, Part II: Jeweling

Now that the cording is applied to the forepart, we move on to the real fun: jeweling! I'm going to use some of the jeweled ouches I discussed here and here.  These are made from square gold plated filigrees, with large square "black diamonds' in the center, surrounded by rhinestone and flat backed pearls. I tried putting them in each of the diamond shaped openings, but that looked too static.  Then I tried alternating them, but the diamond grid didn't work well for that.  So I decided to go with alternating horizontal rows of filigree ouches and clusters of gold and pearl beads. I've spent the last two weeks of evenings stitching the filigree ouches on by hand.  I could have...

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Embellishing The Forepart, Part I: Cording

As with most large projects, things have changed.  In this case, it's the design for the forepart and sleeves. My plan was to use a solid fabric and apply gold cording in a grid, like this:   Then the grid spaces were going to be filled with jeweled ouches alternating with the monogram from my logo, embroidered in gold thread and rimmed with tiny pearls.  After some deliberation I decided not to go with the monogram. It just seemed kind of hokey. I might do a big one on the end of the cloak train, we'll see.   I wanted to use a brocade fabric, for several reasons. The first is to add texture. The second reason is that the right brocade can...

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