Monday, February 29, 2016

Peerage Cloak - The Planning

I've been asked to add the Order of Defense symbol to the peerage cloak of one of the East's premiers of the order. He just so happens to already be a Knight and a Pelican, and have a lovely wool cloak with those two symbols appliqued on the back. He wants to have a 6 inch MoD symbol added to the front of the cloak. And he wants it to be shiny!

Working on an already existing item of clothing is a new challenge for me. All the more so because it's giant and heavy and already has gorgeous embroidery on it. I had choices before me - work directly on the cloak, work on another piece of wool and applique it down, or work on another piece of linen and applique it down. I knew that the owner wanted the background of the symbol to be the base cloak, so with the applique options I would be mostly just be appliqueing the border - the swords for the actual symbol would be a different story.

I had sketched a wide variety of potential designs for the border, and a chain was chosen. This was one of the less complex designs, so that was nice. I didn't think about how much geometry would be going into drawing it to scale. I also got to draw it twice, because the first time the chains were too thick and completely overwhelmed the swords.

The swords in this picture are just a sketch to get an idea of the balance - they will end up thicker in the final version. The chain, however, is exactly what I will be tracing onto linen.

I drew a truncated chain first in order to test my goldwork plans. The solid link is padded by a piece of felt, because I thought that bit of dimension would look neat, and because it was an excuse to work on padding. I may regret this when I have to cut out 16 tiny pieces of felt, but we'll see.
One thing I learned from this practice piece is that I should plunge the ends after each line instead of when a space in entirely filled. It's hard to plunge where you intend with all the extra threads in the way.