A new material (to me!): Shrink Plastic!

Some of the shrink plastic projects I've made recently...

Some of the shrink plastic projects before shrinking

A few years ago I was admiring the broach a co-worker was wearing, and she shared that she had made it herself – with shrink plastic! Even as a kid I don’t remember playing with ‘shrinky-dinks’ though I remember them… but it got me thinking. Of course, all of the cool shrink plastic projects on Pinterest and finished items for sale on Etsy didn’t hurt…

I wanted to try it too!

Unfortunately, I had a REALLY hard time finding shrink plastic that wasn’t pre-printed with  kid-centric designs. I tried the #6 plastic option instead (and still have a drawer full of take-out containers!) but the pieces just weren’t large enough for some of the things I had in mind. (Considering shrink plastic shrinks down to about half to 1/3 the size of the original.)

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1480s Florence – my costume jewellery

Finished necklace for my 1480s Florence costume.

Finished necklace for my 1480s Florence costume.

In an earlier post I shared some of my research thus far on jewellery for my 1480s Florence costume, and here I’ll show off some of the things I made to go with the outfit.


The first necklace (above) is frankly, the one I’m most pleased with. I think it LOOKS reasonably appropriate, it took a lot of work, and I think it turned out pretty well, so hurray for me!

This one is a “gold” setting with a black “stone” with minimal faceting (there’s a bit, but it’s pretty minimal, which from my reading is appropriate It’s strung on a faux pearl and (real) coral bead necklace with a toggle fastener (the same toggles I used to lace my dress, minus the bar) and there are three teardrop-shaped pearls hanging from the pendant.

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1480s Florence – Points

My version of lacing "points" - work in progress

My version of lacing “points” – work in progress


The History of Costume blog describes “points” as :”resembled shoelaces, used to attach trunk hose to doublets or sleeves to doublets or bodices”. The Complete Costume Dictionary (Elizabeth J. Lewandowski) suggests that in period these were called “Punta” and the term first referred to the tips on cords or ribbons used for lacing to reinforce them – but later the word came to mean the entire lace.

In the Glossary in Words & Pictures site, author Anéa references “Moda a Firenze 1540-1580” and says that in Renaissance Italy the word was “Sengaletto”  or “Stringhe di sengaletto”, which referred to the string used to lace bodices. She adds “They were often of silk, with knots or metal points at the end, to make them easier to thread”. Since I’ve most commonly heard them referred to as “points” – that’s the term I’ll use here.

My DIY points

To attach the sleeves to the bodice of my Italian gown, I made 6 “points” – this would have been ribbon or cord bound at each end with a small metal tip – like a shoelace with an aglet which helps with lacing and keeps the material from unravelling through frequent use. (Plus – pretty!)  Since I wasn’t 100% sure on the fit of my sleeves and how they’d work with my bodice, I opted to use black elastic cord instead of regular cord or ribbon, so that I could secure the ties – but still have a little bit of movement. Continue reading

Blue linen underdress

Focus on neckline and cuff of new blue linen underdress

Focus on neckline and cuff of new blue linen underdress


In November I attended a Tavern night with the SCA group in Calgary, and found that my skirts (well, dresses) were just a bit too short for the cold weather. I made a mental note to explore the wearing of pants by women (there are stories in the Icelandic sagas that mention this..) and also to make a longer underdress that I could wear for indoor events like this.

I used some of the navy lightweight linen from Fabric.com that I got for less than $5.00/yard (before tax and shipping) – it was such a good price that I bought 25 yards of it, and have used it for a bunch of other things too… it washes up really nicely!

The pattern

I used the same kind of pattern I’ve used a few times before for general early-period underdresses.  I’ve used this same general pattern (with some variations) for my most recent brown linen underdress, a blue underdress (with an embellished hem), a white linen underdress (with embellished hem) and a pink & purple underdress, and the black linen underdress I blogged about last year. Continue reading

Hand-sewn eyelets

For a circa 1480 Florentine gown

sewing around the ring

sewing around the ring

As I’m working on my 1480s Italian costume, and waiting for my order of lacing rings to come… (waiting.. waiting…) I thought it might just be time to accept that I might need to give hand-sewn eyelets a try.

Frankly, I’m not looking forward to it, but it might be the only solution if the lacing rings don’t arrive in time, or just as bad, arrive in time but don’t actually work for what I want… I decided to do up a “sampler” of different ways of doing the eyelets to see which method I like best, how quick (or rather – slow!) the process is, and take it from there.

The truth is – making the holes with the awl is more effort than actually making the eyelets – the stitching is just time-consuming.

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