I have read and researched Tudor history for many years now. I cannot find an answer for the following:
How did court dressmakers and tailors attach jewels to clothes, I have read they were sewn on - but how ? surely some would have come adrift and conveniently ended up in someone's pocket.Is it possible they used a form of paste.
It appears that they were - at least primarily - sewn on. When you look at the jewels, they almost always are shown in a gold setting of some sort, which would be easy to sew on. There were probably loops on the back or sides to allow them to be attached (there is one example I've seen with loops on the side, but that was a larger jewel setting for a hat). Pretty much everything else was pearls, and those had holes drilled through them sew they can be sewn on or strung together for a necklace, etc.
There is a little about this in Janet Arnold's "Queen Elizabeth's Wardrobe Unlock'd". She also wrote/edited a small book (which I unfortunately don't have) called "Lost from Her Majesties Back" that was a record of all the jewels that were lost or given away from her dresses from 1561-1585. It's in part a transcription of a record book where every lost pearl or gem was written down. So we know that some of the decoration was occasionally lost ... or "lost". :)
Pearls had holes for stringing or sewing and other jewels were set, more like ornate buttons with loops in back or on the side, they were sewn to the dress and then often sewn together. Some jewels were also pinable
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