It is begun! I cut the pink taffeta, spray-basted it to some white twill for body, and sewed all the side seams of the bodice. Then I started hand-sewing on the trim. Have to start with trim over the seam lines, you see, then work out in 1.5″ spacing.
I’m not actually doing the exact same pattern as on the portrait. This is because I couldn’t find narrow trim in a silver-grey or antiqued silver tone. Everything was screamingly bright silver, and my pearls are nearly hematite in color, very dark silver, almost black. Bright silver trim would look wrong next to that.
I also nixed the gold trim after much soul-searching. The combination of pink + silver-black pearls + gold looked, well, pretty gaudy. Probably period-accurate, but neither like the V&A portrait nor attractive on me! So I decided to go with silver trim and the silver pearls.
Alas, that lead to the problem of finding silver trim. I hunted far and wide, online and off. Most trims are wider than what the portrait looks like, and almost all of them are the aforementioned bright silver. Like tinfoil bright, super shiny, silver-white.
The best I found was a slightly wider trim at Jo-Ann’s, made by Wright Trims, with a mix of silver lurex and black. It’s a bit shiny and does have a tad of that plasticky touch, but the color is the perfect shade. Really looks right with the pearls and the pink. I bought all my local Jo-Ann’s had and all the online store had. Intense measurements of the bodice pattern (based on my high-collared original mockup for the late 16th-c. doublet), standard Elizabethan sleeve pattern from Hunnisett, and my farthingale estimated that I would need 32 yards of trim. Hunted around online and found a source to buy more, which will hopefully arrive soon.
And tonight, I stitched and bitched to start some trimming. The wider trim means I can’t do the two rows, up and over, next to each other as in the portrait. As I was laying out the single rows, I decided to take the vertical lines all the way up to the shoulder because of the width and also because I couldn’t get a tidy end point with this trim. The trim pattern will be a bit larger scale than in the portrait, less delicate, but hopefully the same overall effect. (Note: In the photo, I just laid a hank of pearls on the bodice for color comparison; I will sew them in groups of three.)
I plan to take the bodice-in-progress with me on an upcoming business trip and get a bit more trimming done in the hotel room.