Matching Russet Outfits Part 1
Part 1 contains the male half of the outfits, click Part 2 for the female half! We scored some lovely red wool from a local vendor, and had enough to make two outfits out of it. It’s rather thick stuff, like what you would expect a wool coat to be made from, and will make us a warm pair of outfits indeed. We are loosely aiming for 1560’s in northern Italy, especially Moroni paintings for men’s attire. The doublet is pretty standard Milanese fair, but we had to travel a bit to Venice for the type of pants he wanted for this outfit.
The pattern was originally taken from the various men’s doublets in Patterns of Fashion 3, melded together to get something that is about the right proportions, but drawn up to his measurements. We have used this pattern before to make him doublets, but I modified it so I could try out the ‘grown-on’ collar method.
Instead of a seam all around the collar/neckline, the back is all one piece, and the front gets the seams. I was very excited to try this out, but found myself disappointed when he tried it on. All sorts of crazy wrinkles were forming; such big ugly things too!
I tried looking back at the POF book, and it provided a possible period solution: pad stitching. Adding some interlining to give it structure, and pad stitching those two layers together. I took two bits of brown wool fabric I had around, one covering much of the upper shoulders, and the other just the collar area, and pad stitched them on one side, doing my best to encourage the fabric to curve nicely.
Then I pad stitched again on the other side, this time adding the red outside fabric. I tried to make the stitches that went through all the layers as invisible as possible, but I didn’t worry myself too much over visible stitches, since at least one of the extant POF ones had the same visible stitches from the pad stitched interlining.
In addition to padding the back piece, I shortened the collar a bit, and made new collar pieces for the front to create more flare at the top. Not a huge difference there, but enough to matter I think.
And it looked so much better after that! Not completely smooth, but so much better than it had a few pictures ago, right?
Now, it was looking pretty good, but something still seemed off. When he pulled the doublet on, it was still doing some odd twisty thing, and making persistent wrinkles between the armpit and neck.
The arms had been sewn on incorrectly! I was silly and matched the back of the arm seam to the side back seam of the torso, which evidently do not match up for this pattern. That mistake is what was causing all that bunching behind the shoulder/arm.
I should really know better! I understand that the highest point of the sleeve pattern’s ‘bump’ should go wherever the top of the wearer’s shoulder will be. For some reason, I thought “No, clearly the back seam of the sleeve and the side back seam of the body should meet, and make a neat little point where they come together. You must ignore all other knowledge of how to set in sleeves.”
Here’s his outfit in an incomplete but wearable state. Eyelets have been added to the waist band of the pants and will eventually be added to the doublet so his pants stay up better and prevent the white shirt gap in the back. The hat was made for a previous outfit, but it matches rather well, don’t you think?
With most of the construction done, it was time to start thinking about trim for his outfit. I knew I wanted to slim black silk strips to the seams and edges, similar to the various portraits below.
For pants, I had to go back to the Nobleman in Hunting Attire. It’s a little bit difficult to tell exactly where his trim is placed, but it definitely goes down the side of the leg and around the knee, which is what I was thinking of doing, although with many less lines than the Nobleman.
If you are interested in this style of pants, here’s a few more pictures I found while trying to find some from the mid 16th century in Italy. Note that many of these are not mid 16th, nor Italian.
Half-Length Study of a Man Standing in Frontal View, Leaning on Armor and Accompanied by a Boy Attributed to the Workshop of Federico Zuccaro (Zuccari) (Italian, SantAngelo in Vado 1540/42–1609 Ancona).
Onto pants embellishment!
I sewed his lines of black silk bias trim the same way I did on my own dress bodice. As you can see below, I pinned the trim in place first to make sure I liked the placement, and that I had enough trim.
Normally, I would sew pockets in before I add the waistband, when all the pattern pieces are still nice and flat. But since the pants were already constructed (honestly, I just simply forgot that I wanted to add pockets to these!) I had to seam rip the red waistband, and the white waistband lining.
To make the slits for the pockets, I simply cut an opening about 7-8 inches long, and folded the edges down. Just one fold, and a mixed running/back-stitch to tack it down.
6 out of 8 of the pants in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 3 have pockets, and are made of fustian (3) or leather (2). One has a pocket slit, but no remaining pocket bag. My pocket is about 18 x 12″, which seemed like it would be about the right size for a cellphone or wallet plus a little more. The ones in POF range from 15 x 6.75″ to 44 x 13.5″.
To avoid any fraying issues, I double folded the two edges of the pocket. Then I folded them in towards the center of the linen, and stitched down the bottom edge. Ta-da, it’s a pocket!
So you need to make the top edge of your pocket a little smaller, either by gathering it like above, or pleating it in a bit, or even sewing the top corners off (rarely do you really need much at the top of your pocket for storage.
I did not want to have the white linen peaking out of his pocket when worn, so I used a piece of scrap to become a sort of facing/placket in the center of the pocket. I forgot to do this before I gathered the top of the pocket, so I had to remove the gathering thread. Most of my projects involve a lot of sewing, seam-ripping, and sewing again. If you are curious, two of the extant pants with pockets I mentioned earlier use a strip/section of ‘fashion’ fabric behind the opening to match the rest of the pants.
Here’s the scrap set in place. It is just a little longer than the slit in the pants.
Since it’s wool, I didn’t fold the edges under, just whip stitched it in place right at the raw edges.
The linen pocket was then sewn to the pants opening, right at the top with black thread, twice for strength.
Instead of gathering like I showed before, I tried just folding the edges toward the middle. I ended up doing one pocket folded like here, and the other gathered at the top. Not sure yet which I prefer.
Then to sew the pocket to the opening! The extant pants either did this, or used a strip of binding around the opening to join the two fabrics.
I used a lazy back stitch.
I tried to sew the linen a little bit away from the edge of the white, to prevent it from peeking out.
With the pocket done, I can sew the waist band back into place, on both front and back.
And done! He said that the pocket was quite useful during the event, and as you can see here, the red bit of wool inside the pocket successfully created a uniform appearance to the side of his pants.