Completed Outfits and Lessons Learned

So, the 30th of June has come and gone.  What did I manage for Coronation?  A new pair of Venetian pants, the slashed doublet, and some tweaks to my beaded loose kirtle.  All in all, not bad.

This doublet was my first attempt at handsewn buttonholes.  In general I’m pleased with how they came out.  I did the full basting…


Then blanket stitches over each hole…


Then buttonhole stitches (very similar to, but not the same thing as blanket stitches, despite what many websites seem to want to tell you)


In general I’m pleased with how they came out.  Next time I definitely want to use proper buttonhole twist though- no stores around me seem to sell it, and as time was a factor, I had to make do with cotton perle embroidery floss.  It worked out ok, but it did fight me some, and want to tangle and snarl no matter how much I ironed the thread.  I think buttonhole silk would give a bit finer and more lustrous buttonhole as well.

In addition, the doublet was so light that the buttonholes wanted to pull a slight bit and it was a bit difficult to keep them straight across the top- next time I do a super lightweight doublet like this, I will experiment with double or triple facing the buttonhole area to give some stability and thickness to the area.  I did one silk facing on these, but it wasn’t quite enough.

Here we are at Coronation- photo by Margaret de Mey.  All clothing and hats in the photo made by me, except the shoes and stockings (the coif is handsewn by me, but made from machine worked blackwork from TrulyHats- I wanted the right look while teaching myself to embroider.  A handworked one is on the list!).


Overall I’m happy with the outfits, though the next steps will be to add and upgrade accessories.  I need to do a set of collar and cuffs for the doublet, and a different hat for myself (I really should be wearing a French hood here, this is too middle class of a hat to wear with this rich of a dress.)  I also need a set of ruffs.

I also want to work on a fully drafted doublet pattern- this was based off a commercial one in the interests of time, and there are a few tweaks I’d like to do.  It’s also about an inch or two too short in the waist as well- as the person wearing it has a fairly unusual body type (chest measurement 11 inches more than waist measurement), I think a custom draft is going to be the best way to go for future doublets.

I’m pretty pleased with my beaded loose kirtle, though looking at it I can see the line would be improved by a proper farthingale instead of the corded petticoat I’m wearing under this.  That will be one of my next items to create as well.  The loose gown is an ongoing project- I’m tempted to recycle the sleeves and remake the body of it as I’m not particularly thrilled with the line of the cutaway front- I’d rather get the same effect with a straight front gown over a farthingale, which would give additional versatility with the outfit as well.

The beads themselves have proven somewhat tricky too- the weave of the fabric is juuuuust loose enough that the knot can slip between the threads of the fabric, and then the beads start coming off.  I’ll be repairing the dress soon, as it was just worn at events these past two weekends and lost a few pearls, and will be cutting small bits of tightly woven canvas to sew behind the beads.  Hopefully this will hold them in place better.

So, for these outfits to be complete I need a farthingale, a French hood, a set of collar and cuffs, and a set of ruffs for me.  But, I also need to work on some suitable daywear, as I realised this past weekend I pretty much have no casual wear at all, and possibly something Italian for our local group’s Italian themed event in September.

In addition, this weekend I’m hosting a sewing day for local shire members to help make clothes, and a sewing weekend next month.  Busy busy, but I’m enjoying it!

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