Silk Road garb (Part 10 – Cuffs & arm bands)

11th Century Byzantine costume (without the cloak)

11th Century Byzantine costume (without the cloak)

In this post I’ll show off the last two items I made for the 11th Century Byzantine costume, the arm bands that go around the upper arms, and the wrist-bands which are like cuffs for the undergown.

Arm bands

printed fabric for the trim on the sleeves and arm bands

printed fabric for the trim on the sleeves and arm bands

The arm bands are pretty simple – but I still wanted them pretty! I had a small amount of the silk-like red fabric printed with gold/copper, which I sandwiched between the embellished trim, the cotton interlining I used on the other pieces, and a piece of the dress fabric used as lining. The pattern of the block printing is totally obscured by how small the red trim is, but I think it adds extra texture.

Trimmed and lined arm bands

Trimmed and lined arm bands

Once the arm bands were complete, they were sewn closed, and then whip-stitched to the dress with silk thread. I wanted to attach them semi-temporarily, so that they’d be simple and easy to remove when I want to launder the dress.

Wrist cuffs

The embellished wrist cuffs were a simple item as well. I opted to do these as separate cuffs for four reasons.

  1. I wanted to use an underdress that is quite plain, and didn’t want to embellish it since it’s barely seen, and I wanted it to be more versatile to be worn with other costumes.
  2. Having the cuffs be removable makes whatever garment worn with them more easy to launder.
  3. Working with big embellished cuffs might pose a challenge (resting my wrists on a table for instance) – I could remove these for work, and put them back on for ‘show’.
  4. The illuminations make the cuffs look very fitted to the wrist (in some cases suggesting they’re bracelets or removable cuffs like these and not actually attached to the garment) and this mimics this look.
Printing fabric for the wrist cuffs

Printing fabric for the wrist cuffs

I started by printing the fabric for the cuffs.  Although the cuffs would have a slight curve, I printed these straight. I used gold paint with textile medium, and the same geometric block and straight block I used on previous projects. Once the paint was dry, I heat-set the paint with the iron. The fabric is the same red silk-like fabric I used elsewhere in this project.

I already had a very-fitted gauntlet pattern, so I adapted it (making it shorter) and cut out the fashion fabric and the cotton I’d used as interlining  on other projects (though this time I was using it as lining). They were sewn right-side together, bagged, and I hand-stitched the seam closed using a mattress stitch, leaving a small gap at the smallest part of the wrist to allow me to put the cuff on and off more easily. I considered a hook and eye or button kind of scenario, but couldn’t find anything that would suggest that was period-appropriate, so I skipped that.

sewn wrist cuffs and lining

sewn wrist cuffs and lining

Of course, once they were made up, I wanted to give them a little more bling. I used small pearls, and little flower-shaped spangles to embellish two rows of the floral motif inside the block print.

assembled and embellished wrist cuffs

assembled and embellished wrist cuffs

 And… done!

With that I’ve showed off everything I ended up making for this fashion show/event, and the event is… tomorrow! (Of course, you know from my original Historical Sew Fortnightly post that I had this done well in advance…) If you’re in Calgary, why not come on by and join us and see what everyone else made too?

On January 14th, one of the event organizers asked us to submit documentation in advance of the event – since I have these posts scheduled to roll out one at a time (and there’s WAY more here than they’ll need) I put together this very simple document sharing the who/what/when/where/why/how for my costume. You can view it on Google Docs.

Follow me on Facebook!

Want to follow the rest of the posts for this project? If you don’t want to check back to see what the next step is, I’ll be auto-posting to my Facebook page Dawn’s Dress Diary. Just click “Like” to follow me there!

2 comments on “Silk Road garb (Part 10 – Cuffs & arm bands)

  1. […] Back in 2016 I made a Byzantine costume for an event/competition (where I won first place in the advanced category!) and part of that was a pair of beautiful red silk cuffs. […]

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