Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pattern Development, stage two

In September, I posted about two lady's riding jackets that I was musing about and intended to make into a pattern. Today I'm ready to start getting more specific and talk in detail about one of the garments, the 1620s Riding Doublet in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum. Here's a fairly horrible picture of it:

What you cannot see in this picture is the absolute gaudiness of this doublet. Sure, it looks like a light-coloured jacket with decorative braid sewn diagonally all over it. But what you can't see is the colour. And furthermore, no one can see the colour it used to be when it was new.

This unassuming little black and white photograph belies a cacophony of colour. Today, the ground is a tannish peach satin. Well, that's the colour that safflower fades to when it's exposed to light. When it was newly dyed, it was likely a bright salmon.

The interior is pink linen. Guess what colour safflower dye makes on linen...

The diagonal decoration is not just couched cord but 25mm (1") wide strips consisting of a peach satin ground with bias-cut yellow satin strips further adorned with yellow couched cord and blue thread. The fronts, seams and hems are decorated with wider 41mm (1.6") strips that are even more gaudy with the addition of blue couched cord. Let me try and illustrate what the originals would have looked like. All the diagonal strips on the jacket looked like this:

And the wider strips on the side seams, center front and back, and hems looked like this:

Alterations to the jacket indicate that it may have originally been a young man's doublet that was altered to fit a woman. The side seams were widened by the addition of strips of blue velvet, embroidered to match the other decorative strips. These appear to date to a time close to the construction of the doublet. In the eighteenth or early ninteenth century, the doublet was altered again, presumably for wear as a costume. Strips from the shoulder wings were removed and added to the center back seam to widen it.

More to come...

© 2007 Kass McGann. All Rights Reserved. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this document for non-commercial private research or educational purposes provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.