Patterns patterns patterns…

So unfortunately I’ve been dealing with some health issues that limit my sewing time, but I’ve still been somewhat active!  In preparation for attending a 10 day long event next year in Sweden, I’ve been patterning out some outfits for my partner and myself.

For his doublet, I decided to try my hand at drafting a doublet using the bara system detailed in Mathew Gnagy’s book, The Modern Maker Vol 1.  The bara system is based on actual period practice used by 16th century tailors, so I was very eager to give it a go.  The method is completely alien at first, but I found that I was able to get my head around it fairly quickly.

In general, I’m extremely pleased with the resulting pattern.  I needed to use the errata notes Mathew provides on his Facebook page, as my partner has a chest measurement 11”/28cm larger than his waist, which results in some weird patterning, as most of the pattern is based on a chest measurement.

Here is the first doublet chest pattern, before I tweaked it at all.



Don’t you just love that grow on collar?  😀

You can see some pretty minor adjustments that need to be made, but all in all, the shape is promising.  I adjusted the shoulder seam to account for shoulder slope, raised the waist a bit front and back, and brought in the bottom half of the back seam.

Pleased with these results, I then drafted out the sleeve.  This is where I struggled with the pattern- my partner is really tall (6’2”/188cm), and broadchested, and the sleeve is drafted based on height and chest measurements.  It was supposed to be a pretty loose fitting sleeve, but I still ended up with a sleeve that was just way too large.

You can see here how much sleeve I had to take in, and also how long the sleeve was- it reached halfway down his palm.


So I made all the tweaks, and the final pattern (save one mistake on the sleeve) looks like this (adjustments made on model’s right hand side):



I cut a bit too much length off the sleeve, so need to add some back on (though it’s not as short as the photo looks, the cuff of the shirt here is pulled a bit past the wrist.)  I’m looking forward to making up the doublet from this.

I’ve also been working on some items for myself.  First is an English style fitted gown to go over my kirtles.  A friend draped the pattern, which resulted in the below:



And I’ve also started work on a sottana pattern for myself, for a mid-16th century Italian gown.  Here’s the pattern front, back, and sides, in a layer of canvas and two of wool.


All in all, I’m happy with how it’s coming along, though there are still some adjustments to be made.  The back needs to be brought up, as pinned here, and the side waist as well, and I want more support in there as well.  It will be machine stitched for stiffening, though I think I’ll add in a layer of linen canvas I just got as well.  I’d like to experiment with glue stiffened fabric some time too, though I’m a bit wary after reading about one experiment where the person’s bodice interlining broke in two.  But!  Further experiments in the new year!

Happy new year to all, all the best for 2017!


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