Action Garb! 16th Century Men’s Suit

Long time, no write…  unfortunately the medical issues I started having last year really flared up this year, severely limiting my sewing time.

But, under the pressure of two events coming up, including an archery event, and with my partner having nothing else to wear for shooting save a very uncomfortable doublet (the first real one I made) and his fancy cream silk court garb (which I’d kill him if he did archery in), I was able to finish a basic wool suit (taking 4x as long as I usually need to make something like this).

The idea wasn’t originally to do a full suit.  Nor was it intended to be this colour.  I ordered some supposedly tobacco brown wool from a UK website, intending to make some breeches or a coat.

On the plus side- I paid for 2 yards and they sent me 2 2/3 yards, so I was able to get a whole suit out of it for my 188cm tall partner.  On the minus side, it was… not quite tobacco coloured.

full suit layout
… this is tobacco?

But, as this colour suited (haha, suited… see what I did there?) him well, I decided not to return it and to forge ahead.

I didn’t get many pictures of the trunkhose in construction, but they’re basic unpaned trunkhose.  I’m still not 100% happy with my pattern for these.  I’ve been working off a commercial pattern to make these, with adjustments for his height, but I think I’m going to try to draft the next pair.

For the doublet, the wool was substantial enough that it didn’t need a lot of shaping underneath, plus I wanted to try and keep it as light as possible so he didn’t overheat.  I did want a bit of structure though, so did some layered, padstitched linen for support.  This worked pretty well for giving a bit of shape without overheating him.

padstitch 1padstitch 2

We decided to cut down the collar, as the large collar folding out wasn’t really suited to a suit that was meant to be workaday ‘action’ garb.  A few of the long seams are machine sewn, owing to my health issues, but most of the doublet ended up being hand sewn anyway, and it’s all hand finished with handsewn buttonholes (so many buttonholes…).

Here’s the final fitting, before sewing in the arms and lining (hence the somewhat puffy look in the shoulders):

fitting 1fitting 2

And here’s the final result!

finished 1
Suit and hat by me, shoes and stockings purchased commercially, and garters knitted by the lovely Mistress Genevieve.
finished 2
Action garb!

All in all, I’m quite pleased with the result, though there are some minor tweaks I need to make to the pattern (it’s based off Mathew Gnagy’s bara system, which is excellent).  L says it’s quite comfy, which makes me feel good- hopefully I’m getting this menswear stuff down.  😀

Current projects are a women’s dress that is kicking my proverbial sewing ass (but that I will conquer, and hopefully by mid-June if all goes to plan), a new kirtle and English fitted gown for me, a 1560s French hood, and a ~1460s truncated hennin.  That last one is new territory for me, I’m not often in the 15th century, but it should be a fun little project.

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