Julie's Venetian Courtesan

Who doesn't want to be a Dangerous Beauty?

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Fickle-ness, Thy Name is Julie

I've been going back and forth for the past couple of weeks about what types of sleeves my dress should have. My original plan was for strip sleeves a la eleanora di toledo. I absolutely love those sleeves. I bought the buttons for the decoration/closure all down the sleeves. I have 60 of them. They are gorgeous, and I've already spent $8 on them. So, I'm commited to making those strip sleeves, right? Right?

Well, technically, yes, they're still on my to-do list.

But somewhere my fantasies for a super non-period sexy Dangerous Beauty dress turned a complete 180 and I found myself trying to make an as-period-correct-as-possible venetian gown that I could still claim to be a courtesan. So be it--its certainly turned out to be much more of a challenge, and a much better learning experience.

So, why the fickleness with my eleanora strip sleeves, then? Well, she was florentine (at least, i think), not venetian. And though I searched Bella's very-well-researched site and a few others, I saw no examples of those types of sleeves in venetian art/portraiture. And while they are period, I just can't say as I'm sure that they're very venetian. So I went on a search for sleeves I thought had some flare and that I'd want to do. I came across these:

vecellio Posted by Hello

How I never noticed the helical sleeve look in all my portrait/sketch research before escapes me. Now, these are sketches, so there's a little less to go on concerning materials/construction used, but I'd interpret this to be a sleeve made with the dress fabric with a guard (matching the dress guards) swirling around it. These sleeves fascinated me in their design and unique-ness, so I played with my fabric and found I had enough of the orange dress fabric left to do these sleeves AND the strip sleeves. The strip sleeves have been bumped to a future wear-date, and honestly, my dress is pretty generically venetian/florentine(with the exception of the butt point). So, i think the sleeves would be an "instant" decision as to where i wanted to be from on any particular day. Cool. I like variety.

Now, what I didn't count on was how difficult it would be to get the swirls to look correct. Aspirations to be period and making a curved elbow sleeve pattern caused me some interesting problems. To get at least the most visible part of the sleeve evenly spaced was my goal. I ended up with this:

Its weird, and not perfect, but it works.

And the sleeves all put together look passably like the sketch examples. I used some "extra" buttons from the strip sleeve down the front length, so I havecamica poofing holes. I love that look.

sleeves Posted by Hello

vecellio Posted by Hello

I fastened the sleeves to the dress via buttons and loops. And I was fresh out material for to make loops. I am proud of my solution: I made my own cord from leftover blackwork embroidery floss. I guess all the silly friendship bracelets I made in elementary and middle school gave me some skillz. ;-)

sleeve joint Posted by Hello


Anonymous Peggy said...

I Julie,
Those sleeves look cool. I've been thinking of doing loops to attach a pair of sleeves, did you sew them to the sleeve or the bodice?
(Looks like the bodice) How long is the loop?

10:15 AM  
Blogger Julebug said...

You're right--the loops are attached to the bodice--i just sewed them to the lining. If you were industrious, or thought ahead, you could sew them so the ends of the cord are between lining and outer fabric to make it look more "finished". I should've done that, but i was lazy, so I've got cord ends in the underside of my straps.

As for loop size, I guess it depends on your buttons. My buttons were 3/4 inches across, and kinda deep (mabe 1/2 inch or so).I found that if i took 3 inches of cord and made a loop out of it (for a 1.5 inch loop), they fit my buttons nicely with some wiggle room so i could still get range of movement with my arm.

Hope that answered your questions!

3:29 PM  
Anonymous Peggy said...

Thanks a bundle!
I'll just file that info for later (got to finish DH's new outfit first!

12:28 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Kinda interesting....on Saturday I was also using friendship braiding techniques to make cord. Maybe we really are clones. Mine was for trim on the edge of the partlet.

Love the spiral sleeves. Bizarre they are. And that's a good thing.

9:52 AM  

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