With trial construction safely done, I felt ready to finally cut husband's first Proper Doublet, complete with all the bells and whistles. Inspired by Giovanni moroni's fantastic portraits, and an extant fencing doublet, I had patterned, drafted, and tested to death. There was nothing left but to start in earnest. I had decided at some point along the design process that this would be an ideal garment for him to wear to the fancy elizabethan event we were going to for our anniversary, so I was on a bit of a deadline, and with my own gown yet to make. Still, with six weeks to the event I felt comfortable getting everything done.
I had already started making the buttons, so they were well in hand, but I still needed two strips of
eyelets for the sleeves. I made those out of a fold of the the exterior fabric with the ends sewn in. It was my first time making hand eyelets and at first they went very slowly, but it quickly picked up speed as I got the hang of the process. The first strip of 15 eyelets took me three episodes of star trek, the second, half that. Then I cut the collar and sleeve wings, and padstiched them to a layer of felt.
For the body of the doublet I used a layer of upholstery fabric, a layer of batting (Dream Angel, is a manmade fiber batting that i keep a roll of on hand. It happens to be fire retardant, in case husband ever decides to stand too close to a bonfire) I sewed the side seams of the doublet preparatory to marking the cording out. This is where I first discovered that this was, in fact the devils upholstery fabric. Ironing the seams open (after clipping the batting back to the seam line) had no apparent impact. They had to be ironed open and then whip stitched down to the batting. Once I'd done this I lined the seams up with the seams of the black Kona Cotton lining (dyed black cotton. very nice) and pinned through the seams to keep everything stable.
With the collar firmly attached I could finish the last of the cording on the body of the doublet, and work all the ends in.
This is where I discovered another wrinkle. What looked like an enormous amount of bias tape when I made it up wasn't going to be enough to bind the tabs, the front and around the collar, much less the sleeves and armholes. I had to adapt the plan, because there wasn't any more dupioni. I scrounged enough scraps to make it up to the collar. So that meant I had to just find alternate methods for the wings, armhole, and collar.
I had already cut the collar lining, so I did have that to work with. I installed it schooched up about half an inch, and sewed the bottom edge down to keep it in place.
With them tacked into place, I sewed a strip of black bias tape around the entire armhole, and (you guessed it) turned the seam allowances to the inside, graded what of it I could to reduce bulk (the felt and batting, and the jacket lining were safe choices) and whipped it down to the inside of the jacket. If you don't do this your wings will have a distressing tendency to not stay that the angle you intended for them, and may even tend to stick UP from the shoulders rather than out.
With the wings on it was time to turn to the tabs. They had to be sewn on, the seam allowance turned
sewed the seam allowances down carefully so as not to have stitches showing on the outside, and then fully lined them from the top, and finished the bottom with a scrap of the silk satin left from cutting his trunkhose out. I added a pair of buttons and button loops to each sleeve, and was finished. Ideally I would have put coordinating lacing eyelets on the top of each sleeve, but by this point I was beginning to feel desperate about getting it done, so I used a large blunt needle to sew the lacing ribbon straight through the sleeve. I'll later enlarge those holes with a bodkin and make proper eyelets.
And it was finally, finally, done. This thing was a true labor of love. I figure 200+ hours into the doublet once you start counting time spent making buttons. A lot of that was extra time spent dealing with the devil's upholstery fabric, or flailing because I ran out of bias tape. Still, just the basic labor in creating this kind of extremely tailored garment is nothing to be sneezed at. I will take what I learned from this one to the next one (Which will NOT be corded and quilted) and hopefully improve my time. I have to say though, seeing husband in his suit, it was worth every minute I spent. This makes two suits done, of the four he needs, plus a proposed black velvet and blue silk court outfit.........
|for some reason it will only let me load this photo sideways, but here's the doublet front!|
|The husbeast, handsome dog that he is.|