I took pictures while I was going because I was planning to do a demo. That shook out, unfortunately, is more of a how-not-to-do-it, but I’d hate to waste all the electrons tied up in the photos. ;)
The first challenge with this wee-dainty construct is the materials. The original was made from some sort of vintage 1920’s schmada. Unfortunately, I’m fresh out of those. I checked a couple of bins in the garage to see if one had appeared via the sort of random wormhole action that produces fabric I don’t remember buying and ribbon in colors that I can’t imagine needing, but no such luck. Le sigh.
This is a risky move. We’re talking about me, a woman who took over a year to bead the hems and cuffs of a dress for a 16″ doll. The trouble is that the more beads I put on something, the greater the chance of my sewing thread becoming hopelessly tangled around a bead. This is not a proportional relationship; it’s more of an square law. (Oddly, I have fewer issues and bead faster after an adult beverage. I think it’s a tension thing.)
This bit will continue getting acquiring more and more beads over the upcoming weeks. Pearls in off white and somewhat yellowish will be added into the mix.
I want this headdress to be really stable on the head in spite of its height. I thought about hennins like this one and this one, which appear to have a frame that goes below the ear. (I’d just covered the Late Middle Ages in History of Costume, which is probably the only reason this crossed my brain.) Since this headdress can hide a support like that (as can many of the “earmuff” style hennins), I thought I’d give it a go.
Then I glued the base piece down and called it quits for the night.
I have a few requirements for these: they need to be comfy against skin should the contact it, they need to be flexible enough to be reshaped, they need to have a structure that allows them to maintain their shape, and my client needs to be able to hear. No bigs… Right?
A careful look at the original reveals that the “metal” arch cuts in to the ear thingies. This is oddly key to getting the proportions of the headdress to not look off in that way that you can’t immediately put your finger on.
I am now ready to rattle-can a bunch of bits so that they look the right colors – the ear things have to be gold,and the “metal” has to be silver. Spray paint is a tool I use a lot, with a very sophisticated safety spray setup (ie, cardboard box in back yard).
You can’t tell easily in this picture, but the side supports coming up from the top of the headdress have been getting progressively shorter, as missa has been working out the implication of concentric arcs and radii. Specifically, the tops of the side supports are waaaaay to far apart for me to get a base with “sleeves” for them on top of them unless I assemble the two halves separately, then find some way to fix them together. This was not working. I tried, but I couldn’t sort out the hair situation. I seriously over-engineered that.
I put the nicer looking one in front, though. I mean, it seemed like the thing to do.
So let’s talk about those ear things…
AAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!! WHY, GOD, WHY?!?! </melodramaticalmoment> Then I remembered that a) I’m a milliner, b) milliners use a miraculous substance called buckram, and c) I’d been trying to make leather goblets a few years back (because me == me, that’s why) and I should still have that plaster mold lying around somewhere.
If I do, I can’t find it. I might have gotten rid of it when I realized I’d abandoned that project completely.
But I found one of my prototypes. ;)
So I spray painted them on a calm day, thus summoning a wind that smashed them against the side of the box, altering their shape. But that wind happened when I was inside, so I didn’t find out for a while.
Which would actually have been fine if I had still be house-sitting 5 minutes from a Blick Art Supply, but was surprisingly un-fine with me being home. Oh, cruel irony…. No one in my neck of the woods seems to stock this.
Then there’s the hair part. This was the only part of the piece where I was convinced I knew what I was doing, so it was left till the end. Queue ominous music….
Those white things are drinking straws between the two layers of craft foam, acting as sleeves for the metal supports. I wish I could say I thought that through before realizing that gluing the two layers together was a BAD idea and having to add another rectangle of craft foam to the back.
Correction: behind where I think the upper support will go. I’ll figure out that mistake in a bit. *headdesk*
Now, when a normal person wants to do something extreme to their hair, they use hairspray, or gel, or mousse, or Elmer’s white glue (that was a punker I knew back in high school). I have a lot of hair here, and I don’t want it to ever break down, so I’m going to use…..
Seriously? And I was just … over it. You know that point when you’re out of time and out of backup plans and out of the will to do over, and you throw an f-bomb and decide that if there’s no going backwards, you’re going to go forward with great boldness?
This is when I realized that my second line of stabilizing stitches is in the wrong place. I followed the line of the head, not the line of the top of the lower “metal” arc. And I clearly knew what I needed to do at some point, because I made the pattern for the upper guard correctly. This is the problem with a setup where you’re working in bits and pieces – it’s too easy to forget your clues. So I redid those and picked the old ones out of the many coats of spray as neatly as possible. Some where impossible.
I was not injured, incidentally. But between that trauma and the realization that I was giving myself yet another superb opportunity to really screw things up, I started shaking like a leaf. I seem to do that these last few years when I get really nervous. It’s just not helpful.
The guards were hot-glued to the hair. I think some of the hair melted together a little.
The ear pieces were mounted. Hot glue was involved there as well. Hot glue, incidentally, makes spray paint separate from plastic. An alcohol marker was involved in the touching up.
I just realized, scrolling through the pictures, that you can watch the pile of things on the back work table growing and growing. Le sigh. But would anyone believe me if I tried to make it look like I was neat and organized about this?
It looks amazing. Really.
Thanks, Laura. When in doubt, add more beads! ;)
Oh, this reminds me of some of my projects! This post was fascinating and made me laugh, and your end result is fabulous. (My workspace looks the same). If you ever need to do silver hot glue again, I (happily) accidentally discovered last summer that silver Rub-n-Buff just *loves* to latch on to hot glue. I needed seams on a robot head that looked welded. I went over them with my trusty glue gun, then used the Rub-n-Buff. Perfect!
Hi, Daw – thanks! I will tots remember the combo of hot glue and Run-n-Buff in the future. That’s got a lot of pretty aweesome potential! Thanks!
Thank you so much for sharing! I’ve been searching and searching on how to do this without much luck! :D
Hi, Erica – glad to help!
Just coming across your blog…and this bit of fabulousness. And it IS fabulousness. I love how you put in your thought process..es..ez ? I happen to work the same way. It amused me greatly that you do the same. There are at _least_ two of us out there! Woot!
Love your site… good stuff. :thumbs up:
Hi, Kathie – Glad you’ve enjoyed the site! You know what’s completely awesome? There’s more than just the two of us who are like this! Welcome to the tribe. :)
Finding all kinds of cool things for my Renaissance Faire costumes, cosplay, and larping! Your blog is amazing! I loved reading through this to watch an artist crafting something amazing! Just a heads up, just be sure to double check cutters to see if they’re made for cutting steel. Many times cutters like those are made just for copper or aluminium and other soft metals. Thank you again for the amazing blog! So glad I found this place!
That turned out gorgeous! I REALLY enjoyed your ability to add humor to the parts when we all know we would be throwing things or screaming or giving up! Great job!
Thank you, April! Humor is what I use to avoid throwing things and screaming. ;)