Dressing Ye Part — Part Seven

Alright.  We’ve been talking about this picture:

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RH211 – Elizabethan Feminine Doublet
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Some of you may argue that she’s not wearing a jacket at all; that she’s wearing a feminine doublet.  Fair enough!  That is of course also a possibility.

So today’s project is to build a feminine doublet. Of course I’ll be using RH211 (shown at right) as my basis.  I will be making the collared version with intergral sleeves so as to be as close to the picture above as possible.

The feminine doublet has a lot more structure than the typical English jacket.  The English jacket is worn over stays/a boned bodice (I wear mine with my Effigy bodys).  The feminine doublet has its own built-in support.  Larger figures may still wish to wear stays under a feminine doublet, but most people will be able to wear a kirtle and the doublet alone.

With garments that close in front along a straight edge, I find that putting in the fastenings early in the construction phase and then using the fastenings to help fit the garment makes a lot of sense, even though it seems counter intuitive.  So last week, I made a pair of eyeletted bands to close the front of this doublet.

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Next, the interlinings.  In the original doublet upon which I based the pattern, there are two layers of interlining in the fronts with bones sewn between them.  So this is where we start.  I cut four fronts and one back on the fold from my interlining material (bleached twill hemp canvas) and sewed boning channels into the fronts.  Instead of my usual 1/4″ reed, I used the wider 5/8″ reed that I normally recommend for farthingales.  The reason I used this is because the bones in the original doublet are about 1/2″ wide and there are spaces between them.  I didn’t think single rows of 1/4″ reed would hold up very well without other rows of 1/4″ reed next to them.  So I decided to bone with the 5/8″ reed instead.  It’s bulkier, but I think it will do the job.  I could always sew up the center of the boning channels and put in two parallel rows of 1/4″ reed if this doesn’t work.

I made use of the selvedges and whipstitched the front edges of the interlinings together.  Then I sewed a line of running stitches 7/8″ from the edge.  Into this I put two pieces of 5/8″ flat oval reed, flat sides to flat sides.

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Then I sewed each eyeletted band over the running stitches, this time with a back stitch.

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Then I folded the eyeletted band into the position it would have when worn and whipstitched the folded edge to the running stitches holding in the first bone. This kept the eyeletted band folded over the boned edge where it should lay when worn.

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I realised, however, that I put the eyeletted bands on backwards. When I cover the interlining with wool, the back of the eyelets is what will show. But it will only show to me, so I’m not going to take it off and do it over. The underside of my eyelets aren’t as pretty, but they’re still perfectly functional.

Then I sewed boning channels in the rest of the front.  Below is the doublet interlining all laced up and laid flat.

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When I pinned the fronts onto my mannequin to fit the side seams, I realised something was wrong. The boning was coming up far too high on the torso, well onto the upper chest. Then I realised the problem. When I cut fronts for a garment that has a high neck or collar, I tend to cut no neckline. In other words, I leave the front as high as the back and then mark the neckline when I try on the garment. I have had many incidents of cutting the neckline too low and really mucking it up. So this is how I prevent myself from making that mistake. And while I set the lacing bands down where the neckline of the doublet should be, I boned all the way to the top.

Luckily you can cut reed to length and that’s precisely what I’m going to do. I’m going to cut the center front bones to be even with the lacing bands. Then I’m going to cut the rest of the bones in graduated order to match.

bonedfemdoublet1.jpgbonedfemdoublet2.jpg
The boned doublet interior in two different lights. I think I’m going to take another inch to inch and a half off the bones.

Tomorrow — The Doublet Exterior…


© 2009 Kass McGann. All Rights Reserved. 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, the author’s name and website, and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.