I made this outfit (it has matching pants, but my mannequin doesn't have legs) for my husband for Christmas a few years ago - it's green velveteen with gold trim, and - embarrassingly - plastic gold-tone buttons (which I plan to switch out for nice wrapped ones when I have time).
This is the matching (in colour, not exact style) outfit to my husband's green velvet - I think I made this one sometime in 2004. Or maybe 2003. I really should keep records.
Anyway, this picture is from 12th Night 2007. The dress is SCA - the trim is machine applied, the whole thing is machine sewn, and the ruff is actually made from wired satin ribbon, and needs a supportasse, or at least a more supportive neck than the shift is giving it here.
I still love this outfit, despite its shortcomings - it's flattering, comfortable, and follows the style mechanics for the era, especially the striped arms and frogs down the front of the bodies and skirt. The frogs are the only closure for the skirt (and it does open), but there is a line of hooks and eyes on the bodies to keep them closed.
I should have a small roll or wheel farthingale underneath, but I was selling at that event and the hall was crowded, so I was better off without it.
This is one of the outfits (minus hat; I usually wear my straw hat) I wear to Jamestown when I'm interpreting. It was originally made in 2000/1 (I don't remember exactly), and is brown wool with hand-dyed linen tape trim.
The doublet is hand finished with red linen thread. The doublet is extremely high waisted in the back to reflect the late 1500s/ early 1600s period. The buttons are wrapped red wool over a (plastic - I couldn't find wood beads small enough) base, and the buttonholes are hand-sewn red linen. Depending on the weather, the doublet can be worn open or closed. The petticoat is also brown wool of a different weave that uses a light brown and a dark brown thread, and trimmed with the same red-dyed linen tape.
Underneath I'm wearing a hand-sewn red wool petticoat, red linen bodies and a linen shift. I'm very fond of this outfit, and wear it at Jamestown all the time.
Below, a close-up of the hand-sewn buttonholes.
Click on the thumbnail to see the buttonholes in detail.
These buttonholes are copied from a 1600s doublet in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. They're marked and sewn uncut on the fabric to maintain an even look, then cut once they're finished.
These are the outfits that I made for Havordh and Mary-Grace for their coronation in April 2001.
Mary Grace's outfit is a square doublet (low front, high back), edged with silver braid and white satin "stained" (basically, paint/dye) with a fleur-de-lys design, and a matching split front petticoat. The petticoat underneath was made by Mary-Grace (it's a beaded silk). This picture was taken in the evening, so she's no longer wearing the large open ruff, and the low shift is correct, if somewhat underdressed-looking without the ruff. The cuffs on the sleeves are detatchable.
Havordh's outfit was made slightly more simply, mostly because he's normally a Viking, so getting him into an Elizabethan doublet was quite a feat (and this is the only picture I've been able to find of him in it). The doublet is white satin with blue satin trim, and when he's standing still, it doesn't wrinkle as much (though the wrinkling is somewhat correct, as Antonio Moro's portrait of Sir Thomas Gresham in a splendid black satin doublet shows). The breeches are very simple, being just plain blue satin to match the half-circle cloak he is wearing.
Because of time constraints, both outfits were machine sewn, but the shape and style of each is correct for the period - 1580-1590.
Click on the thumbnails to get a closer view of the details. In these pictures, Mary-Grace is wearing the collar, and it is slightly easier to see the fleur-de-lys staining on the sleeves. I did the staining in a water-resistant ink because of the nature of the SCA and what it does to clothes.
In these pictures you can also see more of the detail on the doublet. On the left, the front. The button loops are decorative; a row of hooks and eyes keeps the doublet closed. On the right, the back, showing the detail and construction of the back seams and the back of the collar. The collar got a bit floppier than I would have liked, but stood up to the stresses of the day pretty well.
Next time, I'm making a supportasse for the collar; I had hoped that the starching and wiring of the collar would be enough, but the humidity in the air (the coronation happened by a lake) defeated me.
This silk jacket and petticoat were made in 2002. The jacket is entirely hand sewn, while the petticoat was machine seamed and hand-finished, including the band. The date of the outfit is roughly 1600-1610. While most of the surviving jackets are heavily embroidered, there are some Dutch paintings that show women in fitted plain jackets.
The jacket pattern was redacted to full size by Carla Bauer and Sandy Toscano of the Trayn'd Bandes, Gardiner's Company, and I am deeply grateful that they got to it first, since all I had to do was size it to me. The construction of the jacket made it easier to hand-sew than machine sew.
This is me in (I think) 2003 as "Fanny" - the alewife who runs the Cat's Perch Inn as part of the Trayn'd Bandes impression. The doorway is part of our house in Virginia, where we re-did the front room to be a "tavern" so we could hold Gardiner's events.
I'm wearing a linen square doublet over a hand-sewn reed-boned pair of bodies made of green wool and top-stitched in brown linen thread. My petticoat is red wool, my apron is linen. The square doublet is straight pinned into place, and my shift sleeves are turned up to protect the doublet cuffs from dirt. The shift is linen, as is my coif, and the under petticoat.
This outfit is a mish-mash collection of things in my closet. Fortunately, the layered look is very popular in England in the late 1500s - the weather is usually cool and rainy, so dressing in multiple layers keeps one warm. This outfit represents the summer working clothes of the late 1500s not just in its composition and design, but in the way it is worn, with sleeves turned up, collar open, petticoats tucked up and out of the mud.
This is me in March of 2004. If you can ignore the completely non-period clove cigarette in my right hand, this is a middle-class outfit of roughly 1590.
My hair is curled ("fryssed") to create the high effect popular at the time, and dyed red because I like it that way, and it's a very fashionable Elizabethan colour (you can take my dye away from me when you pry it from my cold dead fingers).
I'm wearing a high-necked shift that was machine-embroidered (made many years ago) in simple straight lines in an attempt to get people to see that they could get an "embroidered" look without using the more twee of the stitches available on an average sewing machine (put down the daisy stitch and back away slowly...). The doublet is what was known as a "square doublet" - a doublet with a low front. It's often mistaken in pictures for a pair of bodies, and has also been called a "bodice" (a non-period term) a lot. It's neither; it's cut exactly like a doublet except for the neck. It closes in front (this one closes with hooks and eyes, though hidden or visible lacing, and, after 1595/1600, buttons could be used) and is made of wool with a yellow linen lining (linings were often quite colourful). The edging on the epaulets and peplums is a thin roll of the same wool sewn into place then cut into little tabs.
This is a hand-appliqued doublet I made for my husband in 2005.
Well, actually, from 2003 to 2005. I think the final time spent on this got close to 1000 hours, as the entire design was appliqued by hand, bit by bit.
This is a doublet from Patterns of Fashion - at least, it started out that way. The original is leather appliqued onto pink satin - mine is black napless velvet appliqued onto burgundy satin. Mine is also made entirely from artificial materials - an exercise in how you can use modern materials to period effect, but you have to choose carefully and take the time to do it right.
Here, he is wearing the doublet at Pennsic 2008.
(click on pictures to enlarge.)
My husband in the doublet, January 2007.
The original design turned out to be so time-consuming to cut out that I simplified it drastically - and it still took me almost a month to cut each piece out. The entire applique for each pattern piece is one piece of fabric - I held it temporarily in place with Wonder-Under while I sewed it down.
I was vastly relieved that it fit - one of the terrifying things about projects with vast amounts of hand-sewing is that there's always a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I've done something bad to the pattern (I *never* make something this complicated without knowing the pattern fits, but there's always Murphy's Law to contend with), or that the nature of the hand-work will change the way the fabric fits. I never know until I'm done what it's going to look like, so there's always a moment when my heart is pounding, hoping everything turns out okay.
Man, what a rush. I'm totally addicted. This is why my husband coined the term "extreme costuming".
Text and images copyright L. Mellin, 2000-2008, except where noted. All rights reserved.