Girdle Book Phone Case

I’m a part of a local embroidery group, the Keepers of Athena’s Thimble, though I don’t typically do much embroidery. I do rather enjoy openwork, however. As celebration for Athena’s Thimble 30th anniversary, some of the senior members have issued challenges for others to complete. I’m a sucker for a challenge, but I didn’t get around to what I had planned originally.

But recently, I bought the latest and greatest phone and remembered that I have long wanted a girdle book phone case to hide my phone at events. Since I am locked into this phone lease for the next two years, now is the perfect time to make one! It coincidentally lines up well with one of the challenges, listed below:

Elizabet Marshall’s Challenge: Documenting your steps.

Select a period embroidery of your preference. Design and execute either a copy or an embroidery in the same style.

The specific challenge is to document your process, from selecting the original embroidery, through all aspects of design and execution. I want to know how you chose your original piece (“I’ve always admired this” or “I need a cushion to take to events”, etc.), your steps in designing the piece (search clip art, trace the original, happen to be a decent artist and drew it, had an artist friend draw it), all materials considered (including the ones rejected, and why) and reasons for selecting the ones chosen. Good things to include would be any sampling/swatching done, original sketches during design phase, original drawing if you don’t draw directly to your fabric, photos of the piece in progress. The documentation does not need to be a formally written document; use a notebook and present that — the idea is to show your process. Your project notebook should have doodles, thoughts, taped-in swatches of fabrics and threads, etc.

So as I begin this project, I will attempt to document the entire thing, in real time (instead of my usual hindsight summary post).

I started with a collection of links I saved of openwork at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I looked through about three before I saw the one I knew I would use. It was a “this is it” moment, so I looked no further. Unfortunately, the resolution isn’t great, so I put out a call to the other group members to see if anyone had a clearer image.

16th Century Italian Lace Fragment

16th Century Italian Lace Fragment

 

In the meantime, I couldn’t stop my momentum. Though I can’t determine every stitch, I can tell that there is a base grid of what looks like woven bars with picots, so I graphed out the basic design on 1/4″ graph paper. I made some mistakes, but was able to correct them decently. However, after I finished the primary design, I decided I didn’t like the way the it looked at the edges. I took a break, then redid the graph with no mistakes and a much better design.

Bad=L, Good=R

Left=Sucky, Right=Much Better

Since most of the work will be drawing the threads and wrapping the bars, I don’t need a better image just yet. 

Now to figure out materials…

A Fur-Lined Muff

I have completed an embroidered and fur lined muff. My inspiration for a muff comes from Venice, Italy, 1590. Cesare Vecellio’s woodcuts include a Venetian noblewoman in winter dress holding a muff. “Clothing of the Renaissance World” by Jones and Rosenthal contains a translation of his description, indicating that the noblewomen wore a fur-lined muff to keep their hands warm. They were frequently made of black velvet or silk with marten or sable lining and closed with buttons of crystal or gold.

newvecellio5

 

From the description and image above, we can discern that the Venetian muff was not sewn in a closed tube, but rather a flat envelope with button closure. This is how I chose to make my muff. I started with a piece of grey wool-like polyester, cut large enough to fit both of my hands comfortably inside. I stitched down the gold trim and embroidered my SCA badge. This is my first time doing free embroidery, so the tree is a satin stitch and the monogram is a back stitch.

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After I completed the embroidery, I cut a layer of cotton batting to give the muff some fluff and then I cut my fur, a brown faux mink that is super soft and not at all like most faux furs. The fur was cut an inch and a half bigger than the wool. I then folded the edges of the fur over the wool layer and whipstitched it down. I then sewed the buttons on the front (embroidered) side of the envelope.

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Lastly, I fingerloop braided some perle cotton and sewed the loop onto the opposite edge of the muff. Finished and warm!

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