And Sew It Begins — The 15th century Doublet Project

Let me begin by giving you an idea of what I’m trying to accomplish. 

A period of history which really interests me is the latter half of the 15th century in England – the Wars of the Roses.  The climate of thought in Europe was reaching the fever pitch that was to become the Renaissance.  Dynastic struggles were taking place in England which would have a huge impact on the political thinkers – precursors to the thinkers who influenced the middle-class uprising of the Commonwealth, who were the precursors of the thinkers who founded America. 

Take really sophisticated political theory, advanced theology, hauntingly beautiful music, achingly sentimental romance literature, people looking at a damp horizon and saying to themselves “I wonder what’s over there?”, armour that makes you look like a frackin’ toaster, and really awesome-looking clothes.  Stir.  Place in Bob’s brain.  Wait a few seconds for the sparks to die down.

Okay, that’s pretty complicated.  That’s how my brain works, okay? 

I want to look like these guys (click on any image to enlarge):

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Of course, with any sewing project, it’s necessary to choose some nice fabric.  For this doublet, I chose a soft, forest-green twill wool.  I’m lining it with a mid-weight natural (unbleached) linen.

Since I’mpattern_layout.jpg using RH003 – 15th century Doublet & Hosen – and live with the pattern’s creator, I don’t need to worry overmuch about getting it right the first time, even though I’m a beginner.  I just cut my size from the pattern paper, laid it over the fabric, and started cutting (according to the instructions, of course; shown at right).

There’s really only one choice I needed to make – plain sleeves or those goofy “balloon-top” sleeves you sometimes see on upper-class doublets.  Since the plan is to make asleeves_outer.jpg nice man’s gown (RH005) to go over this, and the only way you can make the required enormous shoulders for a sball_tops-2.jpgtylin’ man’s gown, I decided on the balloon tops to the sleeves.

I cut sleeves (shown left) and puff-ball parts (shown right) out of wool and lining. 

And a collar.

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But before I started on anything else, I had to decide how exactly I was going to do this.  Like before, I wanted to use ALL RH ALL THE TIME – so I pulled out some of our Bockens linen sewing thread, made myself a new needle, and grabbed a block of beeswax (to wax the linen thread).

Because I assiduously follow all of Kass’s instructions – and she wrote the Instructions in RH003 – I sewed the Doublet Body Lining together and got her to teach me how to fit it (shown left).body_lining-2.jpg
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That done, it was “lather, rinse, repeat” for the outer material.  Of course, I was SO on a roll I completely forgot to take a picture of it. 

The next step is to assemble the collar by sewing the lining to the outer material along the top and sides (shown right), affixing that to the outer material (shown left), then tacking down the lining on the inside of the Doublet’s body (also left).

collar_attached_outside-2.jpgFrom there, it was time to look down.  At the bottom of the Body live some Tabs.  Those need to be sewn on.  The Tabs are constructed exactly like the Collar, in that you sew the lining to the outer material, then clip carefully and turn them inside out.  It’s like you made four little dice bags.

Where’s mycollar_attached-2.jpg 20-sider?20sider.gif

Oh, there it is.  Whew, thought I lost it!  That’s the one I used to throw like a bullet at players who questioned my calls as a DM.

Let that be a warning to you.

Srsly.

Where was I?  Oh, yeah.  Tabs.

So I sewed four dice bags, er, Tabs, and turned them right-side-out.  Then they get attached exactly like the Collar.

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Next time, kids, we explore Sleeves!