Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Zibellino

One of the things I do when I'm not occupied with this blog is the Historical Sew Fortnightly, which involves making a historical sewing project every fortnight (I get up to all kinds of things when you guys aren't looking).  I don't tend to blog about sewing because this is a sculpture blog and I figure if you're coming here, you're coming here to see sculpture.  If you wanted sewing you'd be reading a sewing blog; this stands to reason.  In this case, however, I think the project qualifies for inclusion here at Seditiosus.  It's three dimensional, check; it's weird, check; it's somewhat disturbing, check.  Yes, it ticks all the Seditiosus boxes.  Here it is, folks!



A zibellino (sometimes called a flea fur) was a fashion statement from 16th century Europe.  It was made from the pelt of an animal like a marten or sable, and often featured a decorative head and/or feet made of gold or some other precious material.  It usually hung from a lady's belt and was worn over her arm or shoulder.



Mine is not an animal pelt, as I didn't have one available at the time.  Instead, it's made from parts of a knackered old fur collar, cunningly stitched together a la Frankenstein to resemble a pelt with a tail.  The seams are concealed with a wool satin lining.  I consider this to be entirely in keeping with period methods.  People were thrifty back then.  They didn't waste anything, and piecing garments together out of scraps was standard practice even for comparatively wealthy people.  I like to think my construction methods show how someone at the time might have recreated the zibellino fashion on a limited budget.

My zibellino's head is made out of a rectangle of velvet.  I used darts to give it a nice head shape, gave it eyes made from jet beads, and added some decorative embroidery in gold thread, to simulate the metal filigree work usually found on zibellino heads.  I don't know if this was done in period, but I'm very happy with the result.

File:Portrait of Bianca Ponzoni Anguissola, by Sofonisba Anguissola.jpg
My inspiration image

All the details about the challenge and what I used to make the zibellino can be found after the jump.


The Challenge: This was Historical Sew Fortnightly challenge #9: Flora and Fauna.  The aim of this challenge was to make a garment related to animals or plants in some way.


Fabric: Scraps of velvet, satin and what I suspect is squirrel fur.
Pattern:  I didn't use one.  I just made this up as I went along, based on the zibellino pictured in Sofonisba Anguissola's portrait of her mother.
Year: 1530s.
Notions: Two jet beads, and some gold thread.
How historically accurate is it? Ahem, well, let's say "historically plausible" shall we?  Maybe 6/10 if we must give it a rating.
Hours to complete: About 5 or 6.
First worn: Not yet.
Total cost$10 all up.  I had to buy some embroidery thread, but I had all the other components already.