Originally posted by Sandy Toscano at http://eleanors-closet.livejournal.com/
Style and Pattern
To get started on the Jamestown Suit Project we all reviewed lots of images of the period and looked through our trusty Janet Arnold Patterns of Fashion books. The Jamestown staff had decided on a fancy silk suit and a nice wool suit. Finally in January, we drafted out pattern 19c on page 85 for the doublet and the trunk hose on pages 75 and 91 for pants. We’re keeping the doublet pattern the same for both, but they are getting very different trim treatments.
Fabric type and selection (and color!)
We knew what types of fabric, silk and wool; we just had to source them. While that was fun, cost had to be kept in mind. It’s amazing the quality of silk fabrics out there and the expense to go along. I ordered swatches from 5 or 6 different online retailers of silk and wool. We were interested in a fine weave with enough body to drape (or poof) properly (important for the pants), trim, and put up with metal buttons. We finally settled on JB Silks as they had a Duchesse Satin/Peau de Soie that has a beautiful hand for the fancy suit and silk/wool blend shantung for the not so fancy, wool suit. These are gorgeous fabrics. We’ve selected heavy linen as the interlining, and a light wool flannel for padding.
Trim – what and where
The silk suit is a rich burgundy/mulberry color. It is getting silk ribbon trim in a tan color. More labor to stitch down the trim as we’re doing two rows of narrow ribbon, but I think it will be worth it. The original ribbon color we selected wasn’t available in the narrow size, so we ordered something lighter in the hopes of being able to dye the ribbon to something closer to the right color. We did 5 or 6 test batches of various colors and gave up. We ended up ordering the tan color that works well, just not what we originally wanted. Yea, we now have a lot of pink ribbon that will be sold at the Gardiners Company Store. Live and learn.
The silk/wool suit will get finger woven trim. The suit is a dark green, very pretty color. We ordered silk yarns from an on-line source and then ended up at our local yarn shop. A lace weight two-ply silk yarn in green and rust was a very cost effective way of getting enough yardage in the right colors. This will be a single row of trim in the usual places. Lots of finger weaving has to take place over the next few months.
Buttons for the silk suit are going to be hollow/pierced, brass buttons from Bucklecastings. We’re going to have them gilded by Lesley Wilson at Darkwood Armory. So that’s all in the works.
We’re going to make thread wrapped buttons for the silk/wool green suit, using the silk yarn we have for the finger weaving. I think that will bring it all together. There are just some really long sections to make, so we’ll have to work out how to accomplish that. Probably a two-person job J.
We’re still sorting out what sort of lining material to use. While we were cutting out the burgundy silk, we abandoned the cream silk taffeta we were going to use for a gold silk taffeta I had in my stash. It just looked better with the tan silk ribbon we ended up with for the trim. We’ll see how the cream silk taffeta looks with the green silk/wool. Maybe we’ll dye the cream silk a peachy color and see how that goes
This is the basic shell sewn together and the tan ribbon placed.
So that’s where we are with the Jamestown project thus far.