Saturday, January 4, 2014

Mom's Age of Exploration Series, Renaissance Male

My mother is a truly excellent teacher, and while she battles to keep Social Studies in the curriculum she has fantastic ways of getting her students interested in and curious about history. As part of that, she has asked me to help her with a two-week wardrobe of clothing that would have been worn during the Viking era and the Age of Exploration.

She already has garb for a Viking woman and a Renaissance Lady, so I decided to start with a male Renaissance look for her. I grabbed a couple commercial patterns, but did refer to Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion: The Cut and Construction of Clothes for Men and Women, c. 1560-1620 for inspiration.

Patterns used:
  • Simplicity #4059: Renaissance Costume Collection (for doublet and shirt)
  • Butterick #3072: Historical Costume (for pants)

When I started cutting out the pattern, I realized that the shirt was actually missing the collar pattern piece, and I was surprised as all get out when the people at Simplicity actually 1) responded to my email and 2) sent me a copy of the missing piece.

The first part of the project actually started with Mom and Nancy back home in Washington - apparently with the aid of much laughter they were able to make and send me a form. A couple pillow sacrifices later, and I now have a duct-tape mini-Mommy! It's good for hugs when I'm especially missing her.
Since she will be teaching in this, I decided to make this shirt collar as the pattern directed, instead of doing a separate ruff. I did add a bit more lace (okay, about double) what the pattern called for, but it's nice and fluffy!
Here's a close-up of one of the sleeves. I've tried to baste and gather before, like the pattern called for, but I always end up ripping it out and then pinning things in anyway. I think I have fabric control issues.
The finished shirt, complete with some lovely pewter buttons to close the sleeves. I'm actually quite impressed with how it turned out. I flat felled seams where I could, for extra stability and durability, and I think this is going to work well for her!
Next came the doublet. I did have to raise the neckline and add a collar for authenticity sake, and the duct-tape Mommy was invaluable for this. I actually ended up using the shirt collar as the basis for the doublet collar, and it worked very well. It allows the lace to show over the edge nicely.
I hand-sewed a silver trim onto the collar and all the tabs at the bottom. It took a little while, but I really liked the effect.
And, finally, we get to see the two pieces together!
Close-up of the tabs and sleeve. I went back, around, and sideways about eyelets vs. buttons before finally deciding on the less authentic eyelets.

Because she is not here to be fitted, we decided the eyelets would be more versatile. The duct-tape Mommy is great, but a lot more forgiving (and pliable) than a real person with flesh and bones.

At this point I was all done - except for the pants. For the life of me I couldn't find the Simplicity pattern (it fell behind the scrapbook tote) so I fell back on the Butterick pattern, which was eminently easier. I made them in a pretty green corduroy, but forgot to take pictures before I sent it off to Mom. Hopefully I can update with some pictures of her in the garb once it arrives.

All in all, I'm quite happy with how this project turned out, and I just hope Mom is going to feel the same way! We'll know in a couple days when it arrives in Washington!

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