1580s Merchant



This one is only semi historically accurate. The peril of doing
work for other people, especially on commission, is that you have to make some
concessions to their preferences and desires. In this case, the subject wasn’t
really sure he was comfortable wearing tights, and wanted “real pants”. C’est
la vie, n’est-ce pas? The doublet is documentable. The biggest glaring inaccuracy
with it is that the buttons down the front aren’t as close together as they
ought to be for the period. There are portrait and surviving examples of doublets
done with a different color at the shoulders than on the lower part of the front.
The smaller area of contrast at the back of the shoulders is an idea copied
from a women’s spanish surcoat shown in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion.
The shoulder bits are quilted. (My poor little Brother machine dealt with this
much better than I had expected.) You cannot see this, because the cloak is
in the way, but the doublet actually uses a period pattern with a seam that
runs from the back of the armscye to a point on the waist right between the
center back and the side seam, on either side of the back. This seam and the
curve of the front edges were the primary means of contouring the doublet to
its wearer. All of the doublet/sleeves, the cape, the hat, and the front yoke/collar
and wrist bands of the shirt are lined.

This is supposed to be in a gold-ticked black upholstery
velvet, accented in green velvet and plain gold cord. The digital camera used
to take the picture seems to have felt it would look better in maroon and green.
Technology is a little wacky sometimes. The cape and pants are mostly black
denim. In period, they would likely have been wool, as cotton was prohibitively
expensive and the climate in england was rather chilly and damp, but in the
here and now, cotton is cheap and summer is hot. The cap is corduroy. The feather
is actually a small ostrich plume, with small bundles of peacock drabs sewn
to it’s spine. The ends of the feathers are covered with a gold filigree cone.

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