Hi all,

A couple of months back I took a class at one of our SCA Collegiums (a weekend event where volunteers teach classes) on how to gold leaf a dress. The best part is… It’s washable! (Thanks for teaching this one Marianna!)

Anyhow… This week I’ve been busily gold leafing and illuminating the front of my new coathardie that Sheila made me (Thanks Sheila!). I ran out of gold leaf and am waiting on my order to come in to do the back.

So here’s what I’ve been working on… (If you want to see larger pics, please go to my Photobucket, listed at the top of the page , and click on Art Work, then Fabric Painting, then Hrefna Dress.)

The illumination is a spiky leaf design (which fits with the period of the dress), that I really hate to draw out each one by hand, so I made a template. One good thing Bristol Board is good for. I started by measuring above the hem by about 1 foot (12 inches). I marked it out with a washable fabric pen, then I freehand drew the vine shape on, and started tracing the leaves where I wanted them.

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The next step was to gold leaf the leaves. After they were completely dry, I then outlined them and darkened the vines with a sharpie marker instead of fabric paint. Totally cheating, but worth it as you get a cleaner looking line, and it won’t wash out either.

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Butterflies and other bugs were part of this style of illumination. Granted, not usually this many of them on one piece, but I’m taking artistic license. Since I have a couple of butterfly books, I chose European butterflies and photocopied them in black and white and cut them out and used them as stencils. I wanted them to look right, and let’s face it, symmetrical stuff can really be a pain in the but!

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Then it was on to drawing on the butterflies with the washable fabric marker and painting them. I used fabric paint instead of acrylic because I have enough time to let it set on the fabric before I intend to wash it.

Butterflies, part one.

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Here’s the first quarter of the dress finished.

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Butterflies part two.

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Here’s the second quarter of the dress done.

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I’m really hoping my order of gold leaf will come in the next couple of day so I can get back to working on this project. It’s quite repetitive and does take up a good chunk of time, but it’s a lot of fun and I LOVE the result so far!