20 February 2012

Green Jerkin at the Met

Recently, someone brought to my attention this wonderful green velvet jerkin with gold embroidery in the textiles collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

If you click the small image at left, you can go to the Met site and view and download some beautiful high-rez images of the garment for your study.

If you haven't already done so, you really should peruse this collection for ideas. The clothing, embroidery, and accoutrement in their collection is impressive. Even more impressive is their web site and its offering of high-resolution images for historical costume study.
Note that the doublet isn't a solid green velvet, but rather a multicolor fabric that reads as green from a distance. It's a weaving style we see in carpets and upholstery fabrics every day. I can't say for certain how much of that is due to age and the color-fastness of the composite threads, but considering the overall preservation of the fabric, it's hard not to take this as intentional.

There are four very small things on this jerkin that I might've missed had I not been able to handle the garment proper or zoom in as much as they allow on the Met website.  All four are immediately relevant to what we've been discussing lately regarding thread-covered buttons and button holes.

One: Note that the wrap of the complete button at the top of the image is not secured along the sides. It is a wood core, wrapped latitudinally and then gone over longitudinally with more threads that are secured at the pole by a bit of gold purl

Two: Note how open the buttonhole stitches are and how they are rounded at the ends rather than squared off as I did in the demo a few weeks back.

Three: Here you can actually see the wood core of the button exposed as well as the method of attaching the button to the doublet: a loop at the base of the button rather than sewing the button directly to the doublet using the threads that wrapped it as some advise. You can also make out the thin strip of gold leaf that wrapped the threads unraveling and coming away from the inner core.

Four: Where he buttonhole stitches are coming undone from the velvet, you can see the double-row of grey (probably linen) stay stitches that still hold the buttonhole secure from raveling. 

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