Iron Dress 2009

The Iron Dress 2009 started July 1 and ends September 15. The object is make an outfit using Margo Anderson's patterns, using only what is in your stash and $25.
For the competition, I decided to make an outfit for Adam, rather than myself. There were multiple reasons behind this, the first being the hope that in a sea of Elizabethan gowns, a men's outfit would stand out. Two: it's a lot easier to fit him than it is to fit myself, so I'm more likely to get a better looking fit.

Starting: The Plan: Adam and I sketched a lot of different ideas before deciding on one. The main problem to start was a lack of fabric that looked good together. I have a lot of fabric, more than a normal person has a right to, but not a lot of it would mesh coherently into a single outfit. I also wanted to dress him up a little more than he's used to. My boy is your average viking, and honestly, poofy pants did not appeal. We had a lot of give and take before we could decide on a level of poof that made everyone comfortable.
Luckily we stumbled upon some black bridal weight satin that had been stashed downstairs and then promptly covered with a pile of other crap. It had originally been bought for an outfit for Adam, and then the outfit was immediately forgotten. A velvet coat with fur trim was also added to the pile- a project I had started and then hated when I realized I suck at sewing fur - did you know bunnies have grain? Yeah, it took me a shamefully long time to figure out that fur goes in a direction and you can't just slap two pieces together. The fur was a salvage job from an old coat, and was ripped off and tossed into another pile for future use and the coat was picked apart. Unfortunately, there wasn't enough velvet left to make a whole doublet or pants, but I thought that with some creative cutting, we could accomplish something. Gold silk dupioni, left over from Glinda's gold venetian was also added to the pile. I found some leftover crimson velvet. In all, I had a pretty good haul to try and make something out of. But no trim whatsoever, and no buttons that would work. These would have to be made by hand.

The plan was made to create a high-collared doublet with quilted and beaded velvet on the chest and shoulders and a satin lower part. The satin would comprise most of the sleeves, which Adam wanted to be slashed. He was inspired by a gyspy in Ever After. I wanted something cooler than plain slashing, so we settled on using Margo's Cuffed Sleeve, extending the cuff, and creating a slashed upper, a velvet arm band, a slashed elbow piece and then velvet gauntlets. The velvet parts on the sleeves would also be quilted and beaded. The waist line would be pleated satin. The pants were slops, made to medium weight, with velvet canons. There would be gold silk underlay and satin panes. The codpiece, which I finally won the battle on, would be velvet, quilted and beaded. I also wanted to add a hat, a new pouch and a shirt with a higher collar and a ruffle.

The Shirt: The shirt was the first thing started, as I wanted to get that done before Pennsic. Unfortunately, that didn't happen, as I got hung up on ruffles. The shirt was made out of medium weight linen that was in the stash. The body of the shirt was pretty straightforward and came directly from the pattern.

The collar was extended to give the high collared look of the late Renaissance.  My inspiration was this portrait "Sir Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk" by Hans Eworth, 1563 

I liked the way the ruffles lay and the blackwork edging the cuffs and collar.  I serged the edges of the cuff and collar ruffles in black machine embroidery thread.  The ruffles were then box pleated into the collar and wrist bands.  The ruffles didn't turn out exactly as I had hoped, but I like the result.  Adam said he prefers them because they look a little different from the norm.

Shirt Collar

The Doublet:

I cut, quilted and beaded the top of the doublet before anything else. I sewed the frong and the back together first because I wanted to keep the flow and have the lines mesh between the front and the back. The top is padded with two layers of cotton flannel in a truly eye- insulting neon butterfly tie-dye print. I hope someone gave that to me. I'd hate to think I bought it myself. The velvet is quilted with a diamond pattern and the intersecting lines are studded with a 4mm gold plated bead. I had some beads left over from a jewelry project this summer and had orignally thought that they would be enough, but halfway through the back it was pretty clear I wasn't going to make it. I ended up buying a package of 1000 more beads to make sure I'd have enough, $15.00 out of my budget.
After the top was quilted, I added the lower part of the doublet, which was straightforward- from the pattern in black satin. I went back and forth between leaving the join between the velvet and the satin plain or adding something, and in the end, made satin piping, filled it with imitation 550 cord, sewed it in and then hand couched in down with some gold silk embroidery thread I had. It look so much better that I ended up making yards and yards more piping for the rest of the project. The waist line was a length of about 90" of satin that was folded in half and knife pleated into place.
The sleeves were made in sections with the arm band and the gauntlet being made, quilted and beaded first. The sleeves are lined in black linen and the linings were put into each section individually and then hand stitched to cover the next section's raw edges. The slashings were made by cutting through both the lining and the satin, serged to prevent fraying, and then turned under and hand stitched in place. I started to put hooks and eyes on the gauntlets, realized I hated the way it looked and settled myself into stitching the sleeves closed whenever he wears them. I feel it'll give a cleaner edge and a better fit to the cuffs.

The top slashings are closed with ouches made from tiny square stones and square settings. Adam drilled holes in the settings as there were none originally so I could sew them in. Each section was also edged in the piping and couched in gold thread. The sleeves are sewn into the doublet.

The slops: The pants were made medium length. I had wanted to do velvet canons, but when I cut them out and fitted them to Adam, we realized he has hellishly large leg muscles. Pretty sexy on a person, but not so great to fit pants to. I ended up cutting the velvet down to make plain leg band instead. The leg bangs are the only thing not quilted and beaded becase I thought that it would uncomfortable to sit on the beads. The underlay is gold silk dupioni, the panes are black satin lined in black linen and edged in the piping with gold silk. The pants close with hook and eyes and a satin button.

The codpiece is stuffed with wool, beaded and quilted and ties on with grosgrain ribbon. It's tacked at the bottom to keep it on.

The Hat: The hat was actually one of the easier things to make for the competition. It was cut from velvet remants after the doublet was finished. It's a soft cap, linen in linen and trimmed with two ostrich feathers and a hat pin made from an old clip on earring. The pearls were glued on as the original stones were lost.

The Pouch: The round pounch was made from fabric remnants from a cushion. It's lined in tan satin left over from another project and the button is an old clip on earring. The top is embellished with ruby teardrops and freshwater pearls from my bead stash.

The Cloak: I had originally wanted to make an overgown/robe type of layer, but after cutting out the velvet and then very very carefully doing cutwork across the back, I realized that I didn't have enough fabric to line it. That was a bad day. A very bad day.
Plan B was a sword cloak, make from the same velvet and lined in a brown/wine colored satin. The bottom and collar were trimmed in gold braid and then edged in pearls from the stash. All things considered, I think it looks good with the outfit.

All Together

Total Cost of the Outfit: $21.00
extra pearls: $15
Fabric Covered Button kits: $6.