Diary Started November 11th 2004 - Finished June 4th 2006
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Research and background

Running cost of project:

Brown corduroy (1.5 m x 129 kr - 20%) 154.80 kr
+ Thread (29.50 kr - 20%) 23.60 kr
+ Contact adhesive 44 kr
+ Brown silk thread (~20 spools at 20 kr) 1kr
+ Cotton buttonhole thread 10kr

Total: 233.50 kr
In preparation for a green velvet doublet, I am making a "mock-up" doublet out of brown corduroy. It will be an experimental project in order to test my pattern, my skills and, hopefully, produce a thoroughly utilitarian - in that I can roll around on the grass without fear of destroying it - outer layer.

November 11, 2004 - The first documentation steps: This project will be documenting the test-run of a doublet pattern. My motive for doing this is the luscious green silk velvet I have left over from an old ballgown enough to make a doublet but nothing more. Before cutting into such lovely fabric I want to make sure my pattern will work, and I have therefore purchased some brown corduroy with a utilitarian doublet as a result in mind. A theory page I found useful can be found at Sempstress.org talking about doublets.

The extant doublet I have started patterning this garment - using the lady's doublet in Arnold's Pattern of Fashion as my main inspiration. It has curved front edges, laced together in front plus buttons added for decoration rather than closure. Side-seams and split backpanel means this is a four-piece pattern for the bodice itself. Most likely I will use a single back-panel, being worried how far my velvet will last. On to this a separate collar plus skirts, or tabs, need to be added. The pattern in the book calls for a two-part skirt, but I may go with smaller tabs instead.

The shoulder-rolls are substantial and the entire doublet is richly decorated with couched cord and embroidery in vertical bands. I will be using the wales of my corduroy to create a decorative V effect and I will also apply cord of some description to gague how much will be needed for the final version of this doublet.

Other's Doublet Diaries

December 1, 2004: Hiatus - Well, I just found out yesterday that I will be getting my own copy of Patterns of Fashion. This means I will not have to wait for sewing circle days to look up tiny little details that I will inevitably miss when checking the book at circle. It will not, however, arrive until the end of January, which effectively means that this project will not get anything done to it until then.

December 5, 2004: Disappointment - Amazon, the big berks, confirmed the order before checking if they had the book to ship. They did not, and have cancelled my mother's order. I'm not getting Patterns of Fashion after all. This changes no plans, merely reinforces the hiatus-status of this projet.

December 20, 2004: Hiatus confirmed - Well now, a small update seems in order since I have gotten very nice mails from extremely nice people offering me scans of Patterns of Fashion. The scoop is: I bought the book from the local bookstore with my own money. This does not change the status of the project, it is still on hold, as I wrapped the book up and will be opening it on x-mas eve. Also, I might be diverted into a shirt project before the doublet comes any where. In any case, I doubt I will get much done on any sewing other than the GFD which I will bring home over the holidays to work on. And a big, warm, heartfelt Thank You to those who wrote me offering help!

January 23, 2005: Fellow costumer - I was helped along with pictures, and some discussion by a fellow costumer who is in the process of wrapping up a similar doublet project, using the pattern found in Arnold as her base, just as I am. Her dress diary for the outfit can be found online, along with lovely pictures. She has done quite alot of the embroidery/couched cord which looks smashing. I hope I can get it to look that good myself in the end.

A New Beginning

Machined boning channels July 11, 2005: Project resumed - Well, today I finally got around to doing something productive on this project again. Having purchased contact adhesive I took another look at my tentative plan for boning channels on the interlining. First, I cut down the curve at the lower end of the centre front to get more of a straight edge, as the Patterns of Fashion drawing shows. Then I stuck together two cable ties and were able to get one solid long piece to fit into the first channel. Four more parallell channels were filled with cable ties for stability as well as one obliquely angled toward the armpit from the front, and one additional channel along the side seam. That ought to be enough stability for one doublet.

By this point I have also already tried out the pattern in my blue linen doublet bodice kirtle so I know it works, and hopefully the re-cutting of the bottom of the front closing will not create the illusion that I am pregnant that the kirtle accomplishes.

Shell front mounted
Shell back mounted
July 15, 2005: Shell mounting - Looking through my Patterns of Fashion simply to reaffirm what I knew about chevron directionality of doublets (they can point up or down with equal veracity) I finally came to the stage of cutting out the corduroy which will be the shell fabric. I chose to have the chevron pointing down along the front closing because I thought it looked spiffiest that way. I used the sandwich of interlining, cable ties and cotton sheeting as the pattern around which I cut out the corduroy, after trimming off the seam allowance and neatening the edges. As for the back piece I realized I would not get a chevron arrangement unless I split it down the middle. Cheating somewhat I have only split the shell fabric, stitched that up at centre back, pressed the seam allowance to either side (with the edges zig-zagged on the machine) and from that point on treat it as if it were one complete piece.

With the shell cut out I then started mounting the interlining to the shell and I am all but done with that task. I also cut out linen pieces to be used as lining once it is all assembled. I had some of the lovely pale yellow linen for both front panels, but not enough for the back, so I used the salmon coloured linen (previously seen as the apron for my tudor working class outfit) for that. I must say, I am so far quite pleased with how it is turning out. I don't know how this outfit will be to wear (I am guessing sauna-like), but at least it looks good at this stage.

There is also plenty of fabric left for sleeves, shoulder treatments and skirts around the lower edge - just as soon as I figure out how those pattern pieces should look. I am quite determined to go with a chevron arrangement of wales on my sleeves as well - which will probably be the curved variety for which I have a pattern already.

July 18, 2005 - Well, I managed to bugger it up. After doing the herringbone stitch to keep the interlining and shell fabric together I very carefully clipped and pressed the edges of the shell fabric in around the interlining. I pinned it into place and was about to start stitching it down when I realized - oops, I do not want to stitch it down along the sides nor at the shoulders because I want to stitch straight through there to attach the pattern pieces together! Well, the rest is fine then, I thought, and have spent some time stitching down the folded and clipped seam allowance down. Only to realize that it really would have been much easier not to have any of that done before I attach my three panels together. *sigh* Oh well, for next time: herringbone stitch the shell to the interlining, assemble panels and stitch along all seams and then clip and fold over seam allowance.

The Home Stretch

August 16, 2006 - Since the last update I have finished my doublet and worn it at an event. How did I get there though? Well, seeing as it has been over a year I had plenty of time for the finishing touches.

waisttabsStarting with the collar, I cut out a single curved piece from corduroy, mounted it on a layer of interlining and stitched it to the neckline using whipstitches. The original doublet has skirting at the waist simply divided in two halves - I decided that would look silly and opted for tabs instead. Four per each side, eight in total, the front tabs are longer (14 cm) than the others (9 cm), and the centre front and centre back pieces are angled to overlap when worn. They were all finished by baglining with linen before I whipstitched them into the waistline of the doublet.

Stitching in the liningWith those pieces attached, I could start adding the lining for the body panels and collar by hand. As the picture shows, I did not have quite enough of the yellow linen for all of the lining, so I opted to cover the back panel in the salmon, and, before I could think about it, also the collar. However, the collar is one piece which is more likely than not to be visible while worn, so I had to cut a new piece to line this in yellow linen. I admit to being lazy at this step; I did not remove the salmon linen first. The result of the re-lining can be glimpsed here.

At the same time as stitching the lining in place I also added hooks and eyes all along the front opening as my means of closure. However, I was not content with this alone, so I produced a couple of lacing strips out of white linen, handbound eyelets and all, and stitched those in place on the inside to much swearing and gouging of fingers with needle and pins. At this point we have come to January 2006 for the first try-on of the doublet with lacing and hooks and eyes, and wouldn't you know it - one of the long bones along the front opening snapped in half while I was handling it. I grumbled and frowned, but fortunately this particular mishap is an invisible one when worn. The break is far enough up that the bone has finished its most vital task of giving the doublet the correct shape.

Finished nearlyShouldertabsAfter the closure was finished and the entire doublet was looking spiff and fit over my other gowns (front, side, back) there was only one step left: shoulder-decoration. This was accomplished at the June 4th 2006 sewing circle, when I ripped up the lining along the armscyes, inserted six little tabs at each shoulder and stitched it closed again. The tabs were simply constructed by taking a long, narrow strip of the corduroy, folding it double to make it half as long, stitching along the sides and turning it right side out. The unstitched end goes inside the doublet between interlining and lining, so I did not bother finishing that off.

And that, as they say, is that. The doublet itself is finished and wearable. The only thing that might be considered missing is a pair of sleeves. I found, when wearing only a chemise beneath it, that it was a little too cold to go at night, so I had to pull on the only pair of loose sleeves I own - a pair of blue linen curved sleeves. I looked like a crazy quilt, so I think I will produce a pair of sleeves for the doublet eventually. When and if I find time for some finished doublet photos, I will make a photo page as well, for now, check out the gallery.


August 21, 2006 - Here I am again, poking at dress diaries that I thought were closed. But, as noted above, a pair of sleeves were missing from the big picture, so I thought it best to remedy that, while testing a new kind of pattern.

Paned sleeve patternI had, in antipication of this, copied Margo Andersons patterns for paned sleeves from the sewing circle's stores, but when I pulled them out to look at them I could not understand what I had drawn. I recognized the shapes, and the general idea, but not some extra lines that I had added at strange places, nor the length. I called for backup, but Viscountess Helwig didn't know any more than me so I went ahead and drafted a paned pattern for myself starting with the GFD sleeves as being the only straight sleeves I had on hand. I rather think I did alright. The photo shows the pattern and the shell fabric cut out. Doing them properly would probably include interlining and lining and only tacking the edges together at intervals between the three panes. However, since I want the sleeves to be warm, I will skip this step and sew them closed all the way, inserting a line of slashed fabric between them, picadils, for visual interest and because I've always wanted to try that.

Finished sleeves, left frontApril 30, 2007: All finished now - And I mean it, this time. The sleeves are now finished all the way. Rather than insert picadils in the three seams, I was given some spiraling piping which I think worked rather splendidly. In the picture to the left here you can see the left sleeve worn pinned to the shoulder tabs of the doublet. In the gallery there are shots of the same sleeve from the back, as well as gratuitous pictures of the right sleeve front, and back. Yes, I do need some permanent means of fastening sleeves to doublet, but that is a five minute job with linen, hole poker and buttonhole stitch. The end result will look much the same as these images show. And thus, I declare this doublet completely and utterly finished. Any new developments will be nothing but retro-fittings and I shall not include them in this diary.

Picture gallery

For images I may not have linked in the diary, close-ups and overviews et cetera please have a look at the photo gallery.

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