Hallie Larsen

A Pair of Earrings and a Muff

Iím actually working on two projects for this pink challenge, one that I am making for myself and some earrings that I will be selling to benefit Breast Cancer Awareness.

Iíve based the design on extant pieces Iíve found in museums and images from those museums as well as those earrings found in multiple period portraits. Pearls were the most popular gems, some round and many drops. The attachment to the ear was typically a hoop rather than a hook. The pendent pearl/stone was often directly connected to the hoop or with a chandelier piece in between. There could be multiple pendants or a solitary one.

A great collection of earrings in period portraits can be seen here

Portrait of a Lady, c. 1565, Parrasio Micheli
Eleonora di Toledo, c. 1543, Agnolo Bronzino
Portrait of a Woman, c. 1530s, Peter de Kempeneer

None of the ones I liked were actually pink, so Iíve just changed the regular components, including pink oval freshwater pearls and rose quartz. To go with the pink, Iíve chosen silver plated findings for a softer look with the rosy hues.

I am so tired of pretty little pink pearls! Iíve been making pendent beads from the tiny (4-5mm) freshwater pearls and silver flat-head pins that I spiralled and cropped. I also attached silver-plated chandelier findings to make them three dimensional with jewelersí glue and wrapped with very fine silver wire. Here are some of the materials I'm be using, including silver, pink freshwater pearls, and rose quartz beads.

After some experimenting, I finally finished my pink renaissance repro earrings! I'm going to make several more, perhaps with rose quartz instead of or in addition to the pearls. They'll be for sale, all profits going to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, non-profit source of breast cancer research funding.

Pink Brocade and White Fur Muff/Manizza

I found several painting and drawings from 16th century that portrayed muffs, including:
Vecellio's Costume Book: Winter Dress of Venetian Noblewomen (left). ďAt that time of the year they also wear a muff lined with fur, which protects their hands against the cold. These furs are marten or sable, and the muff is of black velvet or some other silk fabric, and fastened shut with buttons of oriental crystal or gold. The undergarment is of brocade or similar fabric.Ē

Detail from an embroidered valance, c. 1588-90

Lady Dressed in the French Fashion in Album Amicorum of a German Soldier 1595 

Portrait of Eleanor Verney, Mrs. William Palmer, c 1590 attributed to William Segar


Vintage white fur muff, deconstructed
Pink brocade fabric
Silver metal buttons with chain loops
Pink cotton venise lace
Waxed cotton thread, regular and upholstery weight

Vintage muff

Materials for muff

Deconstructing muff

Open muff

First I broke down the vintage white fur muff. It was an interesting piece with the fur attached to a cotton backing in strips. I left the fur and backing together, but removed old stuffing, lining, and zippered pocket.
I cut the brocade into a piece larger than the rectangle of fur, putting the ďrightĒ sides of both materials together. Using the stronger upholstery thread, I joined three sides of the fur and brocade together with a backstitch. Turning the piece outside in like a pillow case, I slid in a bit of batting between fur and fabric before whip-stitching the fourth edge closed.

Manizza stitching

Manizza turned right side out


I trimmed two edges of the brocade side with lace using the lighter weight thread. Forming a tube, I sewed on the buttons, again using the upholstery thread. I may embellish the muff in the future with more trim and/or beads.

Now the manizza can be used flat or as a buttoned tubular muff! With winter coming quickly, Iím pretty happy with the results.

Banner image taken from: Domenico Ghirlandaio, Birth of St John the Baptist, 1486-90, Cappella Tornabuoni, Santa Maria Novella, Florence.


© 2001 - 2012 Anabella Wake (Known in the SCA as Bella Lucia da Verona) I hold copyright on all information on these pages, and on all images of clothing/costume that I have made. You are allowed to make one facsimile copy for your own use provided that this notice is included on each page. Please ask permission to copy, disseminate and/or distribute my work - I would like to know when and how you are finding this information of use.