Saturday, September 29, 2012


After a few conversations with people much more knowledgeable than I am when it comes to casting, it would appear that one of the best options for the button moulds is a two part, room temperature vulcanising rubber and pewter. That doesn't sound too difficult to organise, as there is a shop in Perth that sells all sorts of moulding equipment and materials. Shame its only open weekdays and difficult for me to get to in business hours. Might need to wait for a day off.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Buttons & Skirt Applique

This morning I received my prototype resin buttons from the 3D printer, and am quite happy with the result. The company I used was really easy to deal with, took a lot of care with the product (they cam packed in foam) and were very helpful in making sure they understood what I needed so it didnt cost me lots of money with design edits.

I started by collecting all of the button images from the portrait and working out the main design features. These were translated into a line drawing and series of cross sections and notes for the CAD designers. They took my drawings and truned it into a CAD design file which were printed using a 3D printer into the buttons.

The button shank doesn't look like it will be strong enough or thick enough to cast, so I will probably mould them flat on the back and attach button shanks later. I am looking at different mould making methods and casting materials at the moment. I will need to cast a few :) After they have been cast I will undercoat them in black then paint them in two shades of gold.

But generally, as my first foray into designing and commissioning a piece of work, I have achieved something quite close to what I had in mind. What do you think? Do they represent the portrait reasonably well?

Another major milestone reached as well - All of the applique on the skirt has now been completed. Clocked up 585 hours so far. Moving onto the couching now.


Monday, September 17, 2012


I have had a look at the CAD drawings for the buttons and apart from making them a little thicker, I am quite happy with how the drawings are turning into buttons. As soon as I have the prototypes I will post pictures.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Skirt Progress & Other Projects

After a 5 hour sewing session I have finally finished the black applique on the skirt :) There are times when I never thought I would see the day lol. I have lots of tiny sections to do one the 'gold' applique now, and then its onto the hand couching.

I have drawn up sketches of the buttons and sent them off to a 3D printer who can apparently convert my pictures into actual prototype buttons via CAD software. It took me hours of staring at the button in the portrait and then about 5 hours of drawing and redrawing before they were somewhat similar to the dress buttons. Impatiently waiting to see what they come back with....

In the meantime, I finished off my blue dress for the 2012 Italian Renaissance Costume Challenge. It was based on Eleanora of Toledo's burial dress. I chose the dress because the bodice and skirt pattern are the same as I am going to be using for the Eleanora dress and thought it would be a good opportunity to test wear the pattern. I have made the dress too long though and consequently its not sitting perfectly on the front hem. A quick tuck will fix that.

Next on the agenda...well one of the next projects in the pipeline is the Perfectly Period Pink Challenge running between September 15 and October 15 which is to raise awareness of Breast Cancer. I have picked out a lovely dress in pink and white stripes - and yes its period :).

I was lucky enough to have a day off to myself to go fabric shopping on Monday, and you will never guess what I found.....

Pink and White striped Silk! at only $10 per meter!!!! They only had 11.5 m left so I bought it all. Its a little light and very slippery so I will probably need to self line it, but how perfect is the colour?

More pics of Eleanora soon :) I haven't got hold of the high resolution pictures that were taken yet.