Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Plotting the Next Major Project...another 1570s Suit

So, shortly after being asked to join the Laurels in the SCA a touch over two months ago at Oerthan Winter Coronet* I decided that I needed to attempt a real masterwork project for my elevation.  My last major project, the Brunswick Germans was decent...a good trial run of techniques and getting me closer to my goal of a tailored period court suit, but not an attempted masterwork--if not the use of machine stitching, the choices of non-period fabrics was a bar to that in my mind.  But now, I can actually afford the good fabrics to do it right, rather than working primarily from stash.

So, I decided to poke around, and see what I could find for inspiration.  This was somewhat complicated by wanting to find something I could/would actually wear, but other than the Germans I have been playing with.  Eventually, I ran across a certain portrait--one Sir Edward Hastings at the age of 29, in 1573.  It is absolutely gorgeous, and I will probably do a Featured Garment post on it sooner rather than later.

ART UK 597951

You can see that the doublet is not only closely fitted, but heavily tailored to hold its shape.  The trunkhose are slightly moderate--not horribly poofy, and ruffs are being worn...with weird tassels at the throat (which is what caught my eye in the first place).

Then, of course, I noticed the slashing in more detail.  It is...extreme.  Plus I love the trimming, with all the black and red, with faint hints of gold.

My Plan:
Overall, I actually only need to make two garments--the doublet, and trunkhose for the outfit.  However, I decided that I finally need to make a proper 16th century shirt, since my current one is for fencing--it isn't nearly as full, and has four layers of linen to pass the punch test.  It's also a slightly later pattern than the one I intend for non-fighting wear.

If I have time (bloody doubtful!), I have a jerkin in mind as well.

Pattern-wise, I will develop my own, of course.  The doublet will use the numberless drafting system I have been slowly developing, and I will probably base the trunkhose on PoF3, and the new book from the Victoria and Albert Museum, which is later in period, but should give me hints and construction details.  I will likely put out drafting/construction tutorials for the trunkhose, as well.  Other new books for the project include The Modern Maker, and PoF 4.

Given the social class of the inspiration and materials, silks are the main--or only--option. So silk it is.  Happily, I have this silk canvas in my stash which I have been dying to dye.  Ok...not really, but the fabric is somewhat light in colour, and darker would work better with my complexion--I went seeking advice on whether the colour would work on me when I bought the stuff.  In fact, the material was a lucky buy at Fashion Fabrics Club....they even still have it in stock, if I need to buy more.  Even more astounding is that it passed a bleach test--dissolved completely.  Since it is a light greenish colour, I hope to attempt to dye it much darker, and have already gotten the acid based dye from Dharma--wish me luck on that, since I've never dyed yardage before (and only a little fiber/yarn).

If you look closely at the painting, you can see that not only is the outer layer slashed, but so is the underlayer (which appears to be a shot silk?), showing yet another layer of silk underneath.  I am still deciding whether I want to do this particular detail--it means the garment will have to have 2 layers of silk, plus one of either silk or linen (as I can document that in such as position).  This is, of course, not including the underlining, canvassing, padding, and lining.  Oy, vey.  I figure I will decide on the contrasting colour /after/ I see what comes out of the dye pot--however, I am thinking either a golden yellow, or silver (although that has distinctly Slytherin connotations in my group of friends).

The trunkhose will require the same layers, essentially; maybe not quite as many, but I believe the best way to build the poofyness and structure into it is to use a fairly light, but dense/springy wool to flatline the underlining.

Another issue is that I will--finally--have to learn to tablet weave.  I've done a little, but not much.

So there you have it.  One, seriously ambitious project--my most ambitious, and certainly fanciest yet (and probably ever...).  Especially since I suspect I will have to make shoes as well.

But I'm drawing the line at stockings....I will buy those, since I'm sick of the fabric ones I make falling down on me.

*I received confirmation from Their Royal Highnesses, Miles and Shannon, on Sunday.  Vigil will be at Purgatorio...meaning I have a little over four months to do this.

© 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.  Photographs of my work may not be duplicated.

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