05 March 2008

Collaring (Redux)

So... it's a few years on, and here I am, back at that finicky collar again. I just can't leave it alone. I was amused recently to read the notes for Margo Anderson's 'Gentleman's' doublet pattern and find that she too had the problem with the pucker and from her research so did the period tailor. I have no footnote for that last part, but it certainly makes me feel better!

It's the 'grown-on' collar (as the Tudor Tailor ladies call it) that is a collar cut-in-a-piece with the body pieces of the doublet (and frequently cussed-in-a-piece for good measure). My troubles last time I messed with this consarn thing led me back to my original source for this, The Tailor's Pattern Book by Juan de Alcega. Alcega pretty clearly lays out the pieces I've drafted for my doublets for years now. Front, side, back, curved sleeves and... wait a minute... a curved collar!? (far right, top row)

Odd. I've never noticed that before. Going back through the men's renaissance clothing patterns I have in my library, neither does anyone else. All of the patterns I've reviewed have the collars either entirely separate, or the front pieces are cut from straight rectangles...

So maybe that's the secret? It stands to reason that the off-square piece would be easier to ease into the curve of the neck and account for issues as they crop up.

Final Thoughts Before Sewing...
  1. I decided to go with the patterned white velvet I showed a picture of earlier. I liked it better than any of the others I looked at.
  2. I did an informal pole on one of the costuming sites over at Tribe.net and overwhelmingly people expressed a preference for hand-sewing only when it would be glaringly obvious if it wasn't or they couldn't avoid it. So for the record, I'm aiming for the happy meeting between hidden machine stitching and visible hand-stitching.
  3. I'm going to figure out that damn collar or I'm gonna quit show business.

So it begins...

Using the hotrod, the body of the doublet goes together quickly... all nice long seams.

After messing with this &$@% cotton velvet for a bit I came to the realization that I was going to need to reinforce some of the seams that bear the greatest amount of stress. Janet Arnold, thankfully, shows this practice in many of the garments she examined. Some of them look rather like patchwork quilts on the inside with all the padding, reinforcing tapes, et al. Here's a glimpse of what that looks like...

This is the inside of the shoulder seam with the lining herringbone stitched into place. The canvas will not only reinforce the seam, but also help stiffen the collar.

Speaking of collars, I cut my two front pieces and they are decidedly un-square. With two layers of cotton batting padstitched into place, I'm ready to give it a go...

This is the first fitting, with Tigger doing the honors. (Kristin was using her dress dummy, what can I say? I improvised.)

When I'm wearing it (instead of the Tigger), the pucker isn't there either... well, mostly. By cutting the collar off-square, and indeed curving the piece - at least a little - I had more going for me as I eased the piece into the body of the doublet.

As you can see, there's some residual pull across the back of the neck in the picture below, but a bit more tailoring on the next one and I'm there.

It's almost time to get down to hand-sewing and our next hand-stitch... the Herringbone.

1 comment:

  1. Hey, I love your blog.
    I'm surprised you didn't realize the front collar piece needs to be shaped sooner than this.
    What I have done is used the same pattern as for a sewn-on collar. I measured the width of the "grown-on" part in the back perpendicular to the CB and cut off that much from the back of the collar pattern.
    You can't completely eliminate the wrinkle in back because you're essentially filling in what would have been the curve of the back neckline.