23 February 2008

DeMedici Doublet...

So I want to make a 'sampler doublet' to practice and test techniques prior to making the final outfit based on the historical example of the DeMedici grave goods. A wearable prototype of the final so I can fully test the outfit beyond merely making a mockup or muslin which shall henceforth be known as "Medici Mark I".

According to Janet Arnold, the original garment was probably of crimson stuff that has since faded to russet. That being said, russet is a better color on me, and I like it better, so I'm going with it. The final will be made from russet silk and velvet but otherwise I shall stick perilously close to the original... I hope.

A Whiter Shade of Pale...
It's time to choose the fabric for the prototype. Since all of my prototypes have to result in wearable garments, fabric selection is as important as for the final. It's also a grand opportunity to reduce the bulk on the shelves of fabric in our sewing room. Yes, prototyping masquerading as Stash-Reduction!

I begin the choosing by tallying what I want from the final...
  1. It must be white.
  2. It must have good texture from a distance but the texture cannot overwhelm the final embroidery.
  3. The design-if it has one-must be acceptably period so I can wear the final garment to faire.
  4. It must not be so friable that I cannot pause mid-stitch to take pictures for this blog without coming back to a mess. (ahem)
  5. It must be from the shelf in the sewing room and not the fabric store. I want this project to reduce the stash, not add to it.
I was reading through a book called "5,000 Years of Textiles" and marveling at the breadth and depth of the weaver's art in the 16th century and especially their ability to get textured effects using cut and uncut velvets. One of these was an imitation of strapwork with alternating velvet areas and smooth areas.

This upholstery fabric from my stash bears a striking resemblance and at the moment it is the frontrunner...

Because I want to do a white-on-white embroidery to the final garment, my wife asked why I don't simply use a plain white canvas (which she then handed to me). I might, but the reason I've been mentally steering away from the idea is that I didn't want to do that much embroidery. I was looking to do accents and patterns and generally practice my stitches as you do on a sampler.

So... I think I may have found my fabric! I'll keep digging and let you know how it goes.

NEXT: Construction Stitches, why they're important and how to use them...

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