Wednesday, January 25, 2017

1570s Brunswick Man: The Overview of a Year's Journey

So...this is it.  The final post on the projects I've been working on for the last year--the 1570s Germans.  It has been a long journey, full of working on new and old skills, and on my writing skills--a full ten posts have been published to cover the various steps, not including this one and the unpublished doublet drafting system.  In addition, each item was entered in a Historical Sew Monthly challenge over the course of the year.

The project started as an experiment to write a series of tutorials on how to make a pair of pluderhose from the period, using a pattern based on period examples.  Naturally, with the pluderhose I needed a doublet--also from a drafting system I was working on; with the material I chose for the doublet, I found I had to make a jerkin as well, since the doublet didn't match the pluderhose at all.  At that point, it just ballooned to add a set of ruffs, and new hat.  Thigh high boots were in there too, but optional and I never got around to making a last. 

The overall inspiration for the outfit was this, the image Männertracht aus Braunschweig (23v) in Kostüme der Männer und Frauen in Augsburg und Nürnberg, Deutschland, Europa, Orient und Afrika - BSB Cod.icon. 341, which I did a Featured Garment post on waay back in February, within a couple weeks of starting the project.  The image of a Gentleman from Brunswick Germany, has a number of pieces; pluderhose made of wool or velvet and silk, a silk doublet, a slashed jerkin to match the pluderhose.  For accessories, you can see the tall hat of felted wool, a set of ruffs (either integral to the shirt, or separate), and a pair of gloves (which I will also get around to making eventually).  Likewise for the shaube--I already have the wool and fur to make one, but have to get around to starting.  I love this outfit.

Shears down!

So, without further delay, I should probably begin speaking about the various pieces, and will start with the pluderhose.

The pluderhose were made from my own pattern, developed mainly from the three Sture suits in Patterns of Fashion 3 by Janet Arnold, and were quite a challenge to do.  Not actually making them--the sewing was simple, if time consuming (each of the panes is hand bound in the velvet)--but I was essentially drafting from scratch.  I knew what the pieces /should/ roughly look like, but had to figure out how that related to the shape of the body....and since you are making closely fitted pants, which involve complicated areas to fit.  But in the end, I figured it out, and published what  I learned to help the next person who tries looking online for how to make pluderhose.  The full documentation can be found HERE, and the first part on making them HERE.  They took a full 50 hours to make, not including hours of agonizing over how to draft the blasted things.

Materials were mostly cottons, rather than the leathers, silks, and wools that would have been ideal.  The foundation breeches (above) are in cotton ticking, the panes are cotton velveteen and black denim (wrong side visible), and the grey lining is some species of dead dino.  Black linen was used for the waistband, and black linen thread to sew each of the eyelets.

Gorramit, Twobears!  Stop taking photos of me fixing my hose!

The next piece is the doublet, which utilized the experimental numberless drafting system that I have been working on.  This system is based on using a tape to measure, and marking each point on it--then you just use the tape to transfer the measurements to your fabric; figuring out that part wasn't too difficult and actually worked correctly the first time--getting the ease in there was a pain, though.  I had trouble with how deep the neck was as well, but I don't think that is the fault of my pattern.

 Enough on that; the doublet was fully padstitched with canvas and wool over the chest and shoulders (above.  The brown wool areas were covered in stitching from the wrong side) in order to shape it to my body.  Really, that is one of the main features--making it up was straightforwarded once I finished the pad stitching and checking the fit.  I did learn how to do thread wrapped buttons specifically for this doublet, then worked on them further for the jerkin and as a tourney entry.  I entered the doublet into the HSM Patterns Challenge.

Materials include: Linen lining, canvas and wool interlinings, and a shell of another dead dino species--a lovely thing it must have been.  The buttons and buttonholes are done in DMC floss.  For more information, check out the full documentation--all 23 pages of it.  The Doublet took 49 hours to sew.

"Whaaaat?  Not me!" 
Image by Trisha Geiglein-Bryant

The third piece would be the jerkin.  Slashed as you can see in the inspiration image, to show off the fabric of the doublet underneath, and made in the same velveteen as the pluderhose.  I learned quite a bit in making this--it was my first slashed jerkin, and I found that the material should be quite stiff in order to keep the shape with all the I probably should have used extra layers of canvas in it, and/or padstitched quilting.  Of course, it also should have probably been made from a wool broadcloth or leather.  Sadly, you can barely see it when being worn, but the hem of the jerkin skirts is done in tiny dags so the doublet can peek through it.

Other things I found while doing this is some of the best way to do buttonhole stitches--including how to seamlessly restart a thread if it breaks or runs out, and I really focused in on period buttonholes, since I found I have this fascination with them.  If you are curious about some of my findings, check out the handout I wrote for the class I taught on the subject.  I also further developed my thread wrapped buttons, and incidentally began doing video tutorials to help find my verbal teaching voice.  If that isn't enough, I also learned that it wasn't uncommon for jerkins of the period to only have 3-6 contrasting buttons up top, so only the collar would be buttoned. 

The materials on this are somewhere between the doublet and pluderhose, since it has the velveteen of the pluderhose, and the linings/interlinings of the doublet...much better.  Each slash is edged with buttonhole stitches to keep it from was only afterwards that I found I could document the use of a binding there.  The full documentation (but not as long as the doublet!) can be found on the appropriate page, and this part of the project took 53.75 hours.

We're getting there! Only a couple more pieces to review, and I believe I am going to do the hat before the set of ruffs.  The hat is an interesting case...the overall appearance--even from only a few feet--is pretty much correct.  However, the construction is entirely stitched--pad-stitched--, rather than being blocked to form.  Still, I am fairly happy with it.

Because it was such a short project--only 14.5 hours--and involved one of my favourite sewing tasks, it was particularly fun.  Many of the other projects in this dragged on, and on--binding the pluderhose panes, and buttonholing the jerkin in particular.  I did find that I was able to create a rounded top to the hat entirely with pad stitching, which made me quite happy.  To read more and see the full compliment of construction photographs, go to the documentation, as usual.

*glares suspiciously*

Now for the final piece...the ruffs.  This  Yeah, that's the word.  Actually, it wasn't too bad--it just involved doing 300" of fine rolled hems, then the same length of wide buttonhole stitches.  These are the first set of ruffs I made, and I learned quite a bit once I actually got to put them together (most of the 32.3 hours it took was the edging). 

Making sure those gathers won't shift.
The materials primarily involved linen, more linen, and linen thread.  Go figure...this helped result in one of my most accurate projects to date.  I leaned heavily on the instructions of one Noel Gieleghem of the ECbees to construct it.  I did not actually manage to poke it into proper, even sets--I found I needed another, smaller, curling iron for the wrists; still, I roughly set it by hand, and can document messy ruffs such as in the photo of it being worn.
One of the other interesting things about making the ruffs was that is was my first time starching /anything/.  I'm not sure whether I enjoy it or not--it's messy, in a "five year old would love this" way,'s messy.  Still, I'm glad I tried it and found out exactly how stiff a starched ruff can be.  If you have any questions....ask them on the documentation.

I'm should be scared.

So...that's it.  One massive project, started within a week of Winter Coronet AS 50, and finished the day before Winter Coronet AS51.  Five garments, and a total of just under 200 hours of sewing.  Note I said sewing...the time does not include drafting, except perhaps for the jerkin, since it only took a few minutes.

A dolorous verse, a poor poem,
Made for a Magistra without heart,
Amused will she be by my efforts
As I sit, scribbling by rush light in tavern.
But…wait!  The inkeep I see coming my way.
Phaugh.  This ale has turned to vinegar. 
The skies grey, so I shall sink into misery,
Though my clothes be fine, and ruff still clean.

Inspired by Magistra Cynehild (so blame her for this travesty)

Mine!  My shears....NO TOUCHY
  Image by Trisha Geiglein-Bryant

I see you.  And I know you drank my beer.  Horrible as it was.
Image by Trisha Geiglein-Bryant

Muahahaha.  Mine is an Evil Laugh

And at the end of the event, Their Royal Majesties of the West, Roger and Zanobia, offered me admittance to the
Order of the Laurel.  Date and offer to be confirmed later.

Image by Trisha Geiglein-Bryant. 
Who enjoyed my hat hair way too much.


© John Frey, 2017. 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.  Credit for the photos goes to the respective photographers.

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