Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sture Suit: Finally (almost) Complete

              The full project will be a head-to-foot German renaissance outfit, patterned on the extant suit of Svante Sture.  All in all, this includes a doublet, pluderhosen, shoes, netherstocks, a hat, and probably a belt of some sort.  This documentation will only discuss the doublet and pluderhosen.

The find:
               The find this project is based on is the suit that was being worn by Svante Sture at the time of his murder on May 24, 1567.  The suit was saved and placed in Upsala Cathedral by his widow Marta.  The suit consists of a black velvet doublet and pluderhosen, trimmed with a greenish-grey silk.  The puffs of the pluderhosen were of the same fabric.  Overall, the outfit was fairly moderate—suitable for an older gentleman, or my more subdued taste.
The full suit. (From Patterns of Fashion 3, by Janet Arnold)
              The doublet is a fairly simple form of construction—single piece back (integral back collar), front pieces, sleeves with an interesting cap, shoulder wings, and a single piece peplum.  I chose to leave off the shoulder wings—in the first attempt at making the doublet I included them…then decided that I really did not like how they feel and look.  There were also a couple of pieces inset into the side, presumably to accommodate for weight gain—I left those out as well, because—while contemporary—they are believed to not be original to the pattern.
              As for the pluderhosen, they were fairly moderate, coming to just above the knee.  They consisted of a solid lining of fustian, a very full layer of silk for the puffs, and the exterior of velvet panes.  For various reasons[i], I chose to leave the lining out of my creation.
              The lining and panes are of the same pattern, of three or four pieces, a codpiece (which is sewn in), and a…funky and obnoxious…center back piece.

              The shells of the garments is a black velvet, as is the trim.  Both garments are lined with a reddish fustian.  The puffs and fine trimmings are of a (currently) greenish-grey silk, similar to a modern silk paper taffeta.

              In my creation, I am using a gorgeous dark blue upholstery velvet—synthetic, sadly.  However, it is something I found a full bolt of a number of years ago.  The lining and puffs are a navy blue, heavy linen (the Medieval blue linen found in Joann’s suitings section).  Because I was out of the linen by the time I made the Version II doublet, that one is lined in a pinstriped worsted wool (also blue).  In addition, the doublet contains cotton canvas and cotton batting as part of the interlinings.
Fabrics (clockwise): Linen, velvet, silk twill.  The photo doesn't do the colours justice.

              I chose to sew as much of the garment as possible by machine.  All of the inside seams of the doublet and pluderhosen are done in that manner, as was everything which would be turned (such as the panes).
              The trim and the pants lacing band are both hand sewn with stab and overcast stitching.  All of the eyelets and hook/eyes were also sewn by hand.

Drafting the Pattern[ii]:
              I used a scaling method to draft.  In Patterns of Fashion 3, Janet Arnold has 1/8th scale line patterns.  To start with, I traced two copies of each pattern.  On one, I copied down the original measurements.  On the second, I used my own. 
              The total waist, chest, and vertical measurements need to be measured off yourself—remembering to add in the ease and take it over the correct undergarment, as always.  Many of the others—to keep the correct shape—are based on proportions.  For instance, the front chest is slightly wider than the same point on the back, by 1.15/1.   For this garment—with its small number of pieces—figuring the proportions was fairly simple.

My pattern drafting.
              The pluderhosen were slightly more complicated.  Again, I took the original measurements and marked them down.  Each leg is in two main pieces (at the outseam), plus the funky center back piece.  There was some…finagling.  The pluderhosen came to above the knee; I believe I had to figure the measure based on my proportions of neck to waist / waist to above knee, then multiply Svante Sture’s neck to waist measure by the resulting proportion to get his (inaccurate[iii]) waist to above knee measure.  Then my measurement is divided by his resulting vertical measurement to get the proportion I need to multiply by to get the correct lengths.
              Because I used a much heavier fabric, I didn’t use as much fabric in the puffs.  The fun part was figuring out how much would be pleated.  Essentially, the unpleated (the total width of each panel) sections were subtracted from the overall fabric length—this was done for both the original pattern and for mine.  I then divided the overall fabric length by the amount to be pleated—on the original--to get the proportion to be pleated.  Each section of pleats (original) was divided by this number and marked off, with the correct pane width between them.  The height of the panel was figured by the proportion of pane length to puff length (again, on the original), then multiplying that number by the pane height on my pattern.
              Hopefully, that made sense…


Pluderhosen Draft(s):
              After scaling up the paper pattern onto the fabric for the muslin, and cutting, I assembled the first draft.  And promptly discovered that I forgot and really needed that center back piece.  NOTE: At this point, I had not figured out how that piece is actually sewn in.
The absolutely first draft. There are pieces...missing.
              On Mark II, I trimmed the seat slightly—the curve was extremely rounded.  I again sewed it together, and discovered that the codpiece is integral—prior to this, and a lot of reviewing of the pattern, I thought that codpieces were removable.  Instead, it serves as a gusset, the last piece to give ease to the front rise.
The pluderhosen draft, before making the changes mentioned in the main post for their assembly.

Doublet Draft(s):
              Onwards to the doublet draft.  Again, after scaling and cutting, I sewed it together.  In the first draft, I found I was getting wrinkles on the back neck—I theorized that this was due to the neck piece being too wide.  To fix this—on the Mark II—I moved the shoulder seam forward (on the outside), and narrowed the back collar.
              I simplified the sleeve cap by removing the two gores (which are likely to accommodate the extra width from the weight gain).  If I remember correctly, at one point I sewed it in backwards.
The Mark I doublet draft.

              A couple of years later, I had to draft a new pattern.  I went off of my original measurements—somehow too bit, then brought the sizing down by measuring off of my main fencing doublet.  If I remember correctly (no pictures, sadly), I drafted a more normal ‘S’ curve sleeve cap.

Doublet, Mark I:
I started off by cutting out the linen lining and putting it together with basting stitches in order to check the fit, which it did.  I later rediscovered the importance of wearing the same undergarment while you check the fit.
              The next step was to cut out the velvet exterior, and put together the pattern for the shoulder wing, followed by the collar, and finishing up putting the lining together.
              All seams are being double sewn with a basic machine stitch, and pressed open, or in a couple of cases, to one side. 
              When I got to sewing the exterior I learned two important lessons about sewing with velvet; 1. Only cut one layer at a time; and 2. It helps if you attach the interlining to the velvet around all the edges with a small zig-zag stitch.

              When it came to sewing, it was fairly straight forward, until the sleeves.  I attached the shoulder wings to the sleeve cap before sewing the armscyle in place—I did this so that for one, the wing would be part of the sleeve; and two, because it seemed like it would be the easiest that way, rather than sewing it all at once, or to the armscyle.
What the trim would have looked like if I had used the original type.  This--the shoulder wing--was many hours of work and bleeding fingers.

              The lining is being hand sewn in, with a fine stab stitch at the very edge of the fold.  When it came to the lacing strip I checked Patterns of Fashion to find that it should be one inch wide, two layers of linen, and sewn to the doublet waist seam with a backstitch.  On mine, the lacing strip is slightly over an inch and a half, and quadrupled—since I had a strip of fabric long enough and wide enough.  I quadrupled it because only two layers didn’t feel like it would be heavy enough.

Doublet Mark II:
              Fast forward around a year.  I caught a wild hare and decided to restart the project.  And naturally, the doublet did not fit.  I suspect this is partially due to not drafting measurements over my fencing shirt, and mainly because the full canvas interlining and the heavy linen lining took up some of the ease.  My goal when I made this was speed—I was attempting to make and finish this outfit in a week.
              After drafting a new mockup, and fitting it correctly, I cut out the doublet shell (one layer at a time) and lining.  I decided to use a partial canvassing (I had been studying modern tailoring, and applied some of the theories), with some quilting over the upper belly/front, and at the back collar.  I was bad, and used machine quilting—the period method would have used a loose pad stitch.
Cheater method of canvassing/quilting.
              At the edges, I sewed the lining and shell right sides together and turned them.  The rest of the construction was done as a flatlining.
              I did have to redo the collar once—by lowering the edge of the front collar seam, and removing the quilting (but not the canvassing) on the front collar.  The skirts went in without much trouble, and the sleeves—while a pain (according to my notes)—eventually fit smoothly .
Back Collar

              All of the panes were sewn right sides together along the edges which would be exposed, then turned.  I eventually figured out how the center back piece actually worked, made a few modifications (see the blog post Pluderhosen: Some Assembly Required), and assembled.  The waistband was handsewn on; cuffs gathered to the right size and a cuff sewn on by machine and hand.  I straightened the front opening, and left a decent amount of overlap, since I made the outfit to fence in; then bound the edges with the silk.

              The last step was to stitch a bunch of eyelets—far more than the period pair, which only had eight (a pair on each side, and a pair on each side of the codpiece)—and the eyelets on the lacing bands.  The front points are made of heavily waxed linen.

What I Learned:
              Oh, jeeze.  I’m not sure if I even know what I learned in the making of this outfit.
·       Once again, I learned the importance of the ease.
·       This was one of my first projects with pattern drafting—so I learned quite a bit just doing that.
·       I learned—after much frustration—how pluderhosen go together.
·       I had to figure out the best way to make a codpiece which would fit over an athletic cup.
·       Padding on garments of this period…it’s important.
·       The right way to install hook and eyes. 
·       When working with a synthetic velvet, melt all the edges right after cutting.

The main thing I would do differently next time would be to make the pluderhosen longer—I don’t have quite enough ease when worn with thick kneepads for fighting.  I would also at least consider adding in the solid lining, and make sure that the height of the rise is as snug as it should be.  I would also like to make a doublet with the correct methods of shaping, one of these days.

Left to be Done:
              I need to redo the hooks on the doublet, as well as apply the silk trim all over the doublet and pluderhosen.
              In addition, netherstocks and a tall hat, and a swordbelt need to be made--a purse and cape are both optional (especially the purse, since the pluderhosen have a pocket).

Bibliography (such as it is):
Arnold, Janet. Patterns of Fashion 3.  Primarily pages 57-59.

Mockup for doublet:           Mark I  1:10+| Mark II  2:00| Mark III  1:15
Mockup for pluderhosen:   Mark I 1:45| Mark II 2:00
Sew doublet:                       Mark I 24:35|Mark II 11:30
Sew pluderhosen:            2:18| 39:40 

The Challenge:  HSM February, Blue

Fabric:  Velvet, linen, and silk.

Pattern: From Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 3.  Svante Sture Suite (p. 57-9)

Year:  1567, or a few years prior.

Notions:  Hook and eyes.

How historically accurate is it?  Patterns is very good (drafted off of an extant example).  Materials are of a type used, but the velvet is synthetic for reasons of cost.  It is also machine sewn on the inside.  Maybe 65%?

Hours to complete:  See above.

First worn:  January 17th 2015.  Winter Coronet for the Roses Tournament (Rapier).

Total cost:  I honestly don’t know.  I bought the materials something like 5 years ago, and the velvet was a one off bolt (and I don’t have the bolt) in the Red Tag section.  I could find out the price of the linen next time I go to Joann’s, if I remember. 

In Agrippa's First Guard, narrow.

In Agrippa's Third Guard, wide.

I had to figure out my own pattern--one of these days (maybe on the next pair of pluderhosen) I'll figure out the correct cut.

Assembled Codpiece.  I think the puffs should be...more poofy.

[i] Said various reason is primarily to conserve fabric, and because it took quite a while for me to understand about this layer.

[ii] Bear in mind, I am trying to remember my process of drafting something like two and a half years after doing so.

[iii] Inaccurate, because my body shape is different.  However, using the same proportions as mine can get me in the ballpark.

© John Frey, 2015. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this document for non-commercial private research or educational purposes provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.  Photographs of my work may not be duplicated.

@Travis Abe-Thomas and John Frey, the two photographs of fencing.

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