Monday, 21 January 2013

Helen: Everyday Doublet

The brief: A sturdy everyday doublet for warmth and for when I can't be bothered to frock up. Also because I already have a doublet mostly made and I want to have a go at fixing it.

The build: Using an old doublet I made many years ago, before I learned about pre-shrinking material. Thus the lining is a slightly different size to the shell, and the whole thing is a little too tight across the shoulders. The plan is to completely detach the sleeves, lengthen them with the pale gold lining (creating fake ribbon joins to the shoulders), and add a slash in each arm to show more pale gold. Then decorate with more ribbon and gold roses, plus ideally sort out the wrinkle issue on the lower edge, and possibly re-scoop the neckline even lower.

The fabric: Burgundy silk dupioni from Edinburgh, plus heavy red cotton lining, woven curtain offcuts for the arms. Adding to this some sale ribbon and tiny gold roses from the Indoor Market, plus some pale gold lining given by a friend.

Cost and time: Almost everything in this project was either offcuts from a paid project (back when I ran Lyonesse Clothing), or on sale. I'd have to estimate the cost, but I think it comes in at about £10 tops. Time is the big factor here, as always.


First off I ripped the arm seams, taking the arms out of the body. The body was then set aside to work on the arms.

Too Tight Doublet

The first step was to take a strip of the pale gold lining and gather it around strips of ribbon decorated with gold roses. This was to give the impression of the sleeves being joined to the body by the ribbons, with a shirt peeking out from beneath.

Helen's Doublet Inset

I cut two slashes in the arm of the doublet, and then filled it with an inset of the pale gold satin and decorated it with a gold rose.

Helen's Doublet Sleeve Slash

Helen's Doublet Sleeve Detail

I sewed the gold lining strip to the sleeve and then sewed this into the armhole of the doublet. This gave me the lengthened arms I was hoping for, and made the tightness in the back disappear.

To make this slightly more 'Leaguey' and neater, I also lowered the neckline by an inch, added a ribbon trim to the bottom to hide some old sewing, and added another button and buttonhole at the bottom, to pull everything in.

Helen's Doublet Neckline

Helen's Doublet Buttonholes

And the final result: a warm doublet, with enough frill and flounce to be suitable for the League, while also comfortable and easy to move in.

Helen's Doublet 1

Helen's Doublet Back

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