Thursday, September 28, 2017

Elizabethan Doublet Costume Reveal!

My husband needed a new Elizabethan nobleman costume when he performs at renaissance festivals. It is a tricky business because the history geek in me wants to be as historically accurate as possible.

However unlike a living history museum, what we do is historical entertainment. Being outdoors in all temperatures and weather conditions means there are some liberties I have to take in the clothing design,  construction, and preferences of the guy wearing it. In other words, please don’t yell at me historical clothing purists. I know where I did not follow Elizabethan Sumptuary Laws (dress code.) Thank you.

I gave you a costume project sneak peak in Elizabethan Doublet Costume Work in Progress.  I cut the velvet front of the doublet trim larger than my pattern so I could hoop it and spent a 12 hour day doing nothing but embroidering the border design over and over holding my breath every time hoping everything will line up when I finished. Thank goodness it did!

Gold metallic thread would make the embroidery really sing. After a few frustrating test pieces I learned there is a finesse to machine embroidering with metallic thread that I do not have yet. That is a skill to learn for another day.


 I decided to use my more historically accurate go to Dashing Doublets Pattern  and Medieval and Renaissance Paned Slops and Breeches Patterns for the doublet and trunk hose (also called slops, breeches, paned hose,  pumpkin pants, or very poofy pants.)  I used Alter Years  Easy Noblemans/Noblewoman's Shirt Pattern to make his court shirt (affiliate links that help me buy more fabric and household electricity.) Sadly the Renaissance men's hat pattern I used is out of print.

Machine embroidery velvet, especially thicker upholstery velvet is tricky. After a couple of tries, the eagle and first flourish came out as I envisioned.  Unfortunately I didn’t have the last flourish lined up correctly and it is off. I tried to make it work by sewing metal scrapbooking brads into the spaces as a design element because I was running low on velvet (the downside of getting a deal on remnant fabric) and I needed to make a deadline.

Using a seam ripper to remove and resew the embroidery made my eyes water on my test piece. 
I tried to do a Make Do and Mend with iffy results. If you have any ideas how I can make this work better let me know in the comments below!


Next I cut all of the embroidered velvet fabric to size, and sewed the doublet, using upholstery lip cord trim in the seams to mimic finger braided trim. I didn’t want a button closure to detract from the embroidery on the front of the jerkin (aka a doublet without sleeves) and used snaps to mimic the strait pins or the hooks and bars an Elizabethan man might have used because period closures may be too fiddly for a day of rigorous performing. (And I'd hear complaints about his doublet not staying closed all. day. long.)

For colder weather I made detectable mock hanging sleeves that tie to rings sewn under the shoulder caps. I sewed the buttons closed for his convenience. When I wore open sleeves, they kept coming untied at the worst possible moment!

In Tudor and Elizabethan England, it was fashionable for the men at court to dress like flashy peacocks (it was also a sign of wealth, like we show off wearing designer clothing labels today.) So I'm going to town with the decor!

The paned trunk hose (breeches) are fairly straight forward. I wanted to trim each of each pane in velvet but was running low and ended up sewing anachronistic top stitching to keep the panes from flopping about when running, riding, etc. (although I’m chuffed my top stitching matches and looks so nice and even.)

I cannibalized a pair of my husbands shorts for the lining, a trick I learned from someone in SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) for comfort, make it easier for him to get dressed by himself, and again, to help me meet my deadline.

I used the same lining under the panes in the breeches to line the
 detachable sleeves for a cohesive look.


The hat started as a  1570's Spanish toque. I made this type of hat before but for some reason couldn’t remember how I got the rolled edge of the hat brim to took professional. After a couple of days of fussing, I had to give in, forget about the brim roll, made the brim slightly larger and POOF! turned the Spanish toque into an English bonnet (also called a Tudor or Elizabethan cushion hat, riding hat, or toque.). I went to town curling feathers to finish his noble hat.

I can write a tutorial how to curl feathers if you want to learn how. If you are interested let me know in the comments below!

A few new thrift shop jewels, a quick jewelery repair on his chain of office, and my lord husband looks simply smashing!

Pin this post for later and to share with your friends!


Here's an action shot of my husband in the daily parade (minus his sword. It was a 90 degree F day!)





Photo used with permission and by Photography by Paul. Thank you Paul!

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