Second week in January, I went to Hobby Lobby, to scope out the 80% off Christmas items sale. I picked up some really great stuff, including this bead garland, for $1.
I spent a bit of time last night trying out possible "edits" to this garland to turn it into a renaissance girdle belt, playing off different styles seen in paintings of the period, and a little jaunt to the Sapphire and Sage site for inspiration (if I had the money, I'd spent a LOT there.).
I discarded the first variation, then spent more time tonight trying different options before coming up with this final version. This is just the section that will hang down from the center front of the belt.
This is the bottom edge, showing the bottom decoration.
This photo shows the center section, so you can get an idea of the pattern to the design. Nearly all of the "gold" plastic (shudder) beads are from the Christmas garland. The except are the gold metal beads that are placed next to the larger pearl crosspieces. The large pearls are from a Christmas ornament that I bought at the same same for 50 cents (and I had pearls of enormous size left over). Again, plastic. Yuck. But, they will do. The smaller pearls are 8mm (oyster) and 10 mm (ecru) glass pearls. The red glass beads are 6mm, and quite a lovely red (not so bright red as in the photos). The red oval-ish beads at the bottom of the piece are acrylic, and I have had them for years.
I was worried about using the plastic beads, but this ended up being pretty heavy as it is. I can't imagine what it would weigh if I had used all metal and glass beads... Besides, no one is going to get close enough to be able to tell the difference. The designs of the beads are within period bounds, so I am not too worried. I am creating a look, not 100% accuracy. Besides, the dress itself usually weighs enough that saving weight elsewhere is essential.
This was a great project for a blizzardy day...
Note: This was a "stash" piece. I did not buy anything to complete it, with the most recent purchases being the garland and ornaments. I am trying to see how many jewelry and garb pieces I can complete without additional purchases (with the exception of duct ties, for bodice boning, because I am completely out). The only additional allowable purchases will be thread, fastenings, and maybe cotton for lining.