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Morgan's 1510 Doublet

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My friend Morgan needed an outfit for a medieval wedding. His first stipulation was that it had to be cool enough for the hot summer heat, and was fancy enough to wear at court functions in the SCA. He wanted gave me a time frame of early modern, and we settled on italy about 1510. Well, that was alright and I started gathering sources of what men of the day were wearing. After looking at several paintings, we settled on a cross of these 2 depictions:

Duke Federico II Gonzaga, Mantua 1529  by Titan Jacket Worn by Charles the Bold, 1477. Berne Historical Museum

The wedding party's theme colours was "light teal blue". But, without a sample of the fabric colour, I was left to make my best guess as to the correct shade. The fabric store in our area was going out of business, and we managed to get 4 meters of 45" wide purple linen at 50% off. First, I had to bleach the fabric to lighten it to get it to the point where it would take the blue dye. After that, I placed 2 tins of Dylon Blue Dye, 2 green tins, one black, and one light blue tin. I also added to the same dye bath the lining material, unbleached cotton. The results are in the picture below:

Left:original colour, Center:bleached colour, Right:dyed colour

Morgan's pattern was easy for me to create, and did not take much time. He also wanted it to be loose as he was not big on tight-fitting garments. As a result, in his sloper, I left out the darts that would have shaped the waist area.
Morgan's pattern with dart placement In period, this doublet would have been worn with another one underneath, matching in colour and design or not, with sleeves, and a hat. Eventually, this doublet will be part of an outfit, rather than currently, a stand-alone piece. WIth the pattern complete, I used as little of the dyed linen as I could as I did not have "extra" for mistakes. It did not fray when cut, so I did not have to serge the edges at all. :)
To decorate the "doublet" I wanted to match it to the gold embroidery shown in the Ducal portrait, but did not have the time (I was under a 3 week deadline) to make that. I decided on a simple design of beading within a border of silver, a "medieval-neutral" design. I purchased a bunch of round red glass beads, some small round fake pearls, some glass spun green beads and a whole lotta smokey-white teardrop shaped beads. I spaced the beads 2.5" apart and alternated the designs. I had the pearls surround the green bead, and I used 4 teardrops in a cross pattern around a red bead.
Morgan's beading designI extended the design down the front of the doublet, all around the edge of the skirt, and over the shoulder wings. The shoulder wings were a bit of a mistake for 2 reasons. I wasn't watching my portrait very closely, and did not notice that the trim in the ducal portrait surrounded the armseye, and not the shoulder wing. Secondly, I ran out of teardrop beads, and had to surround both green and red beads with pearls on the shoulders. However, it is not glaringly inconsistant. And Morgan liked it this way when he saw it.
I decided to sew the beads onto the fabric before lining the garment, as I was certain that as a man he would be quick to help others regardless of the outfit he was wearing, and I didn't want the bead work coming out due to snags and stress. About 6hrs later (over 2 days) I was done the beadwork.

Morgan's neck showing the trim mishapI then added the silver trim to the outfit on either side of the beadwork being careful to make sure the fronts lined up properly. And this is when I ran into my second visual problem. Necks are very... curved. My trim is straight. So, the outside line on the front of the doublet looks to get wider the closer to the neck it gets. And therefore, did not line up perfectly. :( But, with 1 week to go, I couldn't figure out a way to fix it.
After lining the skirt and attaching it to the doublet bottom with double box pleats, I attached the lined shoulder wings and collar. After I added the doublet lining, I left the bottom open so that I could attach the 4 pairs of size 14 hook'n'eyes without it showing on the front of the doublet. I then hand sewed the lining closed. I had 1 hour to go. I gave it a quick press with the iron, took a few pics, and then it was gone. Luckily, some pictures were taken of the garment, and given to me about 1 month later.

If I had to make this outfit over again, I would start with the inner doublet first, I think. I also think I would not use trim, but rather cording. However, it fit well. Although, he did say it could have used 2 more pairs of hooks and eyes.

Morgan escorting, seen from the side Doublet done and ready to go!
Morgan wearing the doublet at the reception


This website is the created authorship of Brandy Dickson, also known in the SCA as Lady Desamona Villani. Copyrighted 2004-2008. Any questions or comments about the construction or contents of this website can be directed to her.