Tricia resumes the thread of the story (pun intended):
I was so excited with a possible solution that night that I took the silk gobelin I was working with and ‘made’ a wire wrapped thread by expanding a purl on the silk after threading the two. I placed my fingernails on the first spiral and pulled out the rest of the ‘spring’. You can see the expanded spring on the thread here.
Next, could it be embroidered with? This picture shows a small rectangle of detached buttonhole worked with this homemade thread. Exciting as it glittered in my lamplight. But it doesn’t quite match the historic photos. (Note: we can’t put any historic photos up as we would need to pay royalties on the number of times people visit this site – please visit the V&A website to see close-ups of the jacket). In the historic photos, the metal stayed wrapped around the silk tightly when it was stitched. In my sample, the metal wire seemed to detach and stick out.
I wondered if this was because the threads weren’t the right scale, maybe I needed a thicker thread in the center. So I got out some green soie perlee. Again I expanded a purl on the silk and then stitched with it. As you can see here, it wasn’t much better. So what was the problem???