I can never let well enough alone, it seems, and so while I had a perfectly serviceable tabard I knew I’d need something to make it more visually interesting– more “royal,” in other words. As usual, a simple idea (adding silver trim to the hems) quickly ballooned out of control with the idea of getting several different kinds of silver iron-on trims and constructing a faux chain of office to go across the chest, and it wasn’t until I discovered that my chosen trim was unavailable in silver AND realized that it was probably not a good idea to count on ironing velvet (risk of crushing), that I came back down to a relatively sensible level of planning and decided to just make a real chain of office for my husband to wear over his tabard.
Yeah, you read that right. For some reason I thought that constructing a chain of office– which would eventually require several dozen metal bits and pieces, rhinestones, epoxies, and a few different kinds of pliers– would be the more sensible route.
In any case, I ordered several square silver filigree stampings in various sizes off Etsy, planning a basic outline and figuring that I’d fuss with them when they arrived to plan out the exact design of the chain.
I also picked up some silvery-gray pearls to use as connectors to form the chain– but then thought things looked a little monotone, so to bring in some color I bought some 25 mm sapphire-blue acrylic cabochons for the centers of the large filigree stampings. I will note that I also ordered some silver bead caps to put on the pearls and some silver settings to frame the cabochons, but due to some issues with the seller they never arrived. It was extremely frustrating, since I’d ordered them over a month in advance, but there was nothing to be done– I’ll get a refund (eventually… boo to the seller!), but I had no bead caps or settings… Whatever, it’s a costume and no one will notice they’re missing, right?
Anyway, once I had
all most of my supplies I started putting everything together.
First I made a whole bunch (84 to be precise) of connector links with the gray pearls, using eyepins as the base. I found that working assembly-line style made the process go faster– first I put the pins through all the pearls, then I bent the pins into loops, then I clipped the loops to the right length. In order to allow the chain to hang in a gentle curve I intended to put one pearl link on the top (inside) curve and two links on the bottom (outside) curve, so I linked up pairs of connectors ahead of time to make them easier to work with.
I hooked the connectors up to the small filigrees, preparing to use them as links for the larger ones. Then all I had to do was connect the large filigrees in– 14 of them, which was just long enough to drape nicely around the shoulders and across the chest.
Next I tried the effect of the blue cabochons, but somehow they didn’t look right– too bright or something. I went out and bought some other options– clear round faceted acrylic jewels and some smaller oval faceted jewels in silver settings– and put all of them against the filigrees, trying to figure out which looked best.
The round ones were out– they didn’t stand out enough. The oval ones were okay, but didn’t pop against the silver. I finally decided to alternate the blue cabochons with the oval jewels, the combined effect of which looked pretty good. Because the new jewels had loops in their settings I was able to use some silver wire to help affix them, along with my trusty E6000 adhesive.
I tacked the chain down to the tabard at the shoulders with a few stitches, just to make sure it didn’t slip off-center while being worn.
In addition to the chain, I also made the last-minute decision to make a fancier belt than the one shown in my last post. Well, I still used the original belt, but instead of having the buckle in front I moved it around to the back. Then I took more silver filigrees (different design on these) and used silver wire to make loops on the back that I slid the belt through. That let me just slide the filigrees around to the (new) front, where they looked like a fancy belt buckle. I used hot glue to cap the ends of the wire so they didn’t stab him in the stomach while being worn.