15 July 2009

The DeMedici Suit

Wow. It's been a long time.

As you may recall, my renaissance faire ran afoul of the local color and ended up closing last year. Well, it's received some resuscitation and will reemerge this year in a new location (though sadly not the same beautiful forested location we had spent so much time and energy renovating for the canceled season., alas.)

All the same, we have returned, and with it returns my yen to complete these projects and plow ahead into the next round of garb construction!

The fact that I was entailed to perform a friend's Shakespearean-themed wedding certainly helped me get things done too.

You may remember (or you may not, it's been awhile) that I was working on a doublet & trunkhose faithful to the extant garments of Don Garzia de'Medici. These are clothing items which had the good fortune to cross paths with both the amazing Janet Arnold and whomever is responsible for the photos you can find posted here at The Realm of Venus. (I assume it's Bella's camera, bellissima as always.)

Well... two years later, it's done. I'll be detailing it here over the course of the next week or so in my usual manner.

Since the design for this one is essentially done for me
I got to skip directly to choosing colors (consult Page 54 of your copy of Patterns of Fashion for Janet's fantastic detailed drawings). The original deMedici garments were originally red silk which has faded to a dark rust color. I took Janet's description of that dark rust and ran straight to my favorite Moroni portrait: The unknown tailor pictured above. The white doublet and red paned slops make a wonderful contrast.

The Doublet:
Much of the doublet has already been blogged. The original idea behind this doublet was actually to make a doublet that I could show a (mostly) complete replication of some of the nubbier points of historical garment construction. It was used for stitching demos, notes on padding and stiffening, and some light embroidery.

The doublet fits better than this, I assure you. I had been ill for awhile before this photo was taken (giving me all sorts of time to do all that handsewing and embroidery) and I've thankfully gained-back the weight it was designed to cover. Think of this as a portrait in a plague year.

One of the small changes I made include elongating and re-structuring of the waist a bit. I have a very long torso and some tailoring was necessary to account for that with regard to the original garments. The line of the doubletwaist is therefore a bit less contoured in my doublet than the one in the museum.

The Trunkhose:
Slops, pumpkin pants, paynsied breeches, call them what you will. These you have not yet seen...

The fabrics are wool and linen in a dark russet, almost red. The color match is practically perfect for two fabrics that were purchased so far apart and from different retailers. The wool is on the lighter end of "coat weight" so call it a flannel for our purposes.

The colors echo the Moroni contrast between doublet and trunkhose nicely, I think.

In part because I ended up too close to my deadline (the wedding day) there is substantially less handsewing on the trunkhose and even the embroidery ended up being done by machine. I may go back over it at some point, but I might not because I rather like the way it turned out.

The backs of the panes are an identically-colored denim that I lucked out and found in the sewing room, just waiting for me to re-discover. Yes, three identically-colored fabrics in three different materials bought at three different times. Either it's fate or I'm just that incredibly boring...

Divinity is in the Details...
Or is it the devil?

I'm a big believer in small details piling up to make a better overall impression, even if the people you meet never notice them. I like embroidery done in the same color as the underlying fabric for this reason. Texture. Also little details like handmade buttons and leathergoods contribute to an overall difference between your garment and the next person's.

There are several things going on here that are often ignored or overlook at least at renaissance faire. I don't honestly know if it's just faire actors or reenactors in general, but men's doublets seem tobut rarely be pointed to the slops. The deGarcia garments are pointed all the way around and so are my renditions of them.

It's a bit like walking around wearing a jumpsuit, really and when you have to use the privy, one is well-advised to use the handicapped stall because you're going to need a bit of room to maneuver. I can see why they did it and I can see why we stopped doing it.

Belt loops are a boon to our civilization.

There are some snapshots from the wedding, of course, but the official pictures aren't in yet and naturally they will tend to focus on the Bride & Groom. So I plan to don the duds again soon and stage some photos. So stay tuned for better photos of the whole thing actually on my corpus.

Upcoming Demos...
  • Eyelets!
  • Points!
  • Making your own paned trunkhose pattern.
  • Constructing a codpiece (we had to discuss it sooner or later).
  • Better belts.
  • A most manly purse.
  • Less alliteration... ok, not really.
It's good to be back.
- Scott

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