Waisted Efforts

Elizabethan Grr-animals


Elizabethan Grr-animals.


This is my diary of Larry Giesen’s Elizabethan suite.

We have been accumulating fabrics for this set of clothes for a couple of years, and I finally had to start on it this winter. Before I left Wisconsin we were able to do a final fitting on mock-up pieces so that I could produce the actual garments in TX. At this moment they ar almost complete.

To start, here are the sketches.

Larry specifically wanted a wow suit, and I am doing my best to make it for him.

The fabrics are chocolate brown velvet, 2 different steel blue silk solids, a paler french blue embroidered silk, and a chocolate brocade, that has blue and gold in it. I actually cut these pieces last year, and gave them to Denise, Larry’s wife to bead. We decided on little gold plated metal beads all over the embroidered silk, and beading motif patterns on the brocade using pearls, iolites, and the little gold beads.
We have several trims to use on all the pieces as well. Three different gold metallic passementeries, and a gold and brown soutache.
My hope is to use all of these together to make distinctive pieces that work well with each other.

From the sketches you can see that there will be one set of slops, 2 doublets with 2 sets of sleeves, a jerkin and a cape. All the pieces are designed to be mixed and match, thus grr-animals.

My fitting in January went really well, so I was pretty confident in making the actual pieces. I started on the brown doublet, because I still had some trim work to do on it.

I flat lined all the pieces with horse hair. Horse interfacing is great! It gives the same support a med-heavy non-woven interfacing would but with all the breathablility that a non-woven can’t even hope for.
horsehair interfacing

You can also see in that picture the boning that I have put down on the inside. On a man’s garment I generally put this on the button side. I use spiral steel, so it is not too rigid, and gives just enough support to keep the garment looking good through lots of movement.

This would be a picture of the doublet when I thought I was going to be done with it. I actually forgot to look at my sketch, and suddenly realized that I had made chevrons, duh. They look like they are meeting right now, but really they are not, I forced it, and you can see the motifs do not align attractively. I also noticed that the picadils did not sit right. I was most annoyed at this point. My fit would not allow me to just have them meet edge to edge; that would have added 2 inched to the entire circumference. -sigh- So I took it apart. I do like though, all the piping I made from the secondary silk for the edge of the doublet, and all the picadils.

This is the same doublet put back together. The biggest difference is the trim down the front. If I had paid more attention to my sketch it would have looked like this at the first. Instead a week later here we again. The trim that was designated to go down the front was to open to hide my soutache ending so I had to get creative. I made a series of tiny button holes just big enough for the soutache, and inserted the trim in them to attach to the back. I had wanted to just cut the soutache off, and bind it there leaving my front edge smooth and easy to work with. Unfortunately this soutache likes to take itself apart and I had to sew it back down and bury it another seam to keep it from unraveling. -sigh- Now though I can have open space for the buttons.

Now for the slops.
panes and fill
You can refer to my post about all the stitching I did on these panes here. Let us just say, it was a lot! Here you can see the fill of the slops, and the panes as I am arranging them. I had to go acquire more similar silk to add to the project because what we had originally bought was not going to be enough. The color is a touch darker, and it is a slubbier dupioni, but it works well enough, and is not in open view. I think it work well with the other silk, which is used in much more obvious places.
I kind of enjoy making slops. Who knows why, but I like how fast they go together(when the panes are finished). These just need their waistband.
awaiting waistband
And now they are complete.
I used MaritaBeths walking foot to attach the waistband. I think my new machine would have given it a go, but her machine wondered what all the fuss was about.
Never make a waistband out of velvet. It would have been the obvious choice here, but velvet has nap, and unless you tie the garments together really well, the nap will make your life difficult. So this one is the cotton that is the brown lining. It will never be seen anyway. *grin*

On to the silk doublet. I did not have nearly as many issues with this one, of course. So it did not occur to me to take many in progress photos. Here is its horsehair and boning.
horsey boning
And here is one with all the picadils and epaulets done, but not attached yet.
blue silk in progress
This is the other sold silk, which are the epaulets and picadils. It is a smooth dupioni, and I used the soutache as the only trim. Here is the doublet complete with button holes.
It is really hard to see all the little gold beads, but all those darker dots on the silk is a little tiny gold bead that Denise meticulously hand sewed on. She did all the beading, and did a marvelous job. She obviously like Larry a lot! *grin*

There are two sets of sleeves. You can see one of each here. They are meant to be worn interchangeably between the two doublets. There will also be a set of larger velvet sleeves that go on the jerkin, that could be laced onto the doublets as a double sleeve. Super-fab!

That is pretty much everything up to date. I have a ton of hand sewing to do to make all the eyelets, sew on the buttons, and some final attachments. I am hoping to do the cape today, and get most of the hand work done. We ran out of the trim I used on the slops that is for the jerkin, so that will have to wait till I find more trim, but Larry will have goodies to wear for this next weekend at Scarborough, and then on to Bristol where the envy can really start. I will post pics of the cape, as I complete that. Cheers.

Some pictures of Larry in it…Imagine!

Larry in the beaded doublet, and the cape with the velvet side out.