15th Century Doublet Project – Parte ye Thirde
Note: This is a replacement for the post lost in the server debacle. Photos will be added once I can find the bloody things.
So I thought I was doing pretty well. Smug I was, yes, Precious.
I shoulda followed the instructions more closely.
When I put the Doublet on – with collar and tabs attached – I noticed something important: I looked like an idiot. That lovely wool I was telling you about? Yeah, it’s soft and sploofy and wonderful. At the same time it collapses like the Dutch army in May 1940.
The collar on one of these Doublets is supposed to be upstanding and somewhat rigid. The sploofy wool just isn’t up to that. Reinforced with something, it’d be right as rain. A roll of buckram, scissors and a few minutes later, I had two layers of buckram cut to match the Collar. All I had to do was snip the seam where I’d attached the Collar, insert the buckram and stitch it back down. So I did.
Unfortunately, however, it looked like poo.
Thus was I set up. Husbands, rally round. Hear my shame.
“Sweetie?” I tremulously queried.
“What?” she thundered. “What what what what?”
“Er. Um. I say,” and here I had to pause. Kass was working on another doublet for me – a late-C16 one – and I was loath to interrupt for fear of being blinded with a pin. “I say, this collar thing, just not cricket, what?”
Pinned on the spot by a burning gaze – now I know what butterflies pinned to a board feel like – she scrutinized my work.
“Which,” she began slowly, “Part of the instructions to fit the collar were in Swahili?”*
“Why, none, dear. I just don’t really know what I’m doing.”
A whirlwind touched down, scattering pincushions, spools of thread, dog biscuits and spent teabags. Out of the swirling shrapnel Kass materialized, holding a bit of tailor’s chalk.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
“If you’ll stop blithering for half a moment,” she replied, “I’ll set this collar where it belongs and mark it so you can sew it down.”
Holding my head very still indeed – for SWMBO is wicked accurate with a pin – Kass twitched, smoothed, pinned, and chalked the collar. Doffing the Doublet, I laid it out on the cutting table. It was really quite interesting to see how much of the Collar had to be removed in order to lay right against my neck.
Curious, I asked why.
“Because all necks are different,” she replied. “You, for instance, have a neck which resembles that of a Cardassian going to seed. Others have dowel rods coming out of their shoulders. The collar, like the body, needs to be fitted to the individual before sewing everything down.
I cut the Collar down to the spots indicated and stitched it down.
Now, yesterday I promised you Sleeves. Let’s begin.
There are two ways one can put Sleeves on a Doublet like this. First is a normal sleeve. The second option is a puffy “ball top”. I’m after the second option. That means sleeves in two pieces: One the bit from the bicep on down, which is one trapezoidal piece, and the bit that makes the puff, over the point of the shoulder.
Knowing the wool was a bit too floppy, Kass recommended I interline the puffs with linen.
Then it was a matter of attaching the puff bit to the trapezoid. In order to do that, you have to gather the puff into the top of the trapezoid. That sounds a lot harder than it actually turned out to be. It’s a matter of loosely stitching a “drawstring” along the line you need to make fit a smaller bit, then fiddling with it until everything looks right.
Kass gave me another tip: Fold bits. Find the center of both pieces and pin. Then fold the “wings” in to the center of each piece. Match those folds and pin. One piece IS larger than the other, yes; but if you match the folds, you can much more easily make the gathers even across the entire line you’re trying to sew.
At the end of the day, you end up with something that looks like this:
The next step is to make it from a flat thing with a puffy thingy on top into a cone with a puffy thingy on top.
* Note: Evil temper added for amusement purposes only. Kass is sweetness and light. Really.