I would like to share a project I’ve been working on recently, which I am very excited and proud to share. A member of my local Fools and Heroes branch is playing a thespian (actor) physician and wanted a “loud” doublet to compliment her kit. We decided on making a reversible quartered doublet with sleeves so that the item could be reused in future or when the character is feeling more sombre than gleeful.
The doublet was made of a synthetic material for ease of care, with satin ribbon trim, heavy weight fusible interfacing, black metal eyelets and suede lacing.
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I gathered the materials as per the pattern I was adjusting, trying to match the colours with a pair of trunk hose my client already owned. I got them to mostly match, the hard thing being the yellow as the cloth I bought ended up being a brighter yellow than the hose, but given the belts and things which are put on over the top we agree that it doesn’t matter.
Quartering a pattern
The reason I wanted to show this project is that it’s my first attempt at quartering. I’ve talked about quartering for tabards before but never actually done it myself, though I know how I’d go about it. Because tabards are basically just two rectangles sewn together, the matter of quartering it is just about breaking the shape into smaller rectangles and taking into account seam allowances etc. Quartering a pattern piece that becomes a 3D object was more than a little daunting.
Before I started anything I traced my tissue pattern onto baking paper (I really need to invest in some better tracing paper, but for now baking paper does ok so long as I don’t have to tape sheets together to fit the size of the pattern. I read about Swedish Tracing Paper in my Great British Sewing Bee book (my go-to fabric book) and found a link to a supplier on Tilly and the Buttons’s blog, and will probably give it a try at some point. Having copied the pattern pieces out (and having made the pattern several times before) I was able to choose the point at which to make the horizontal line on both the front and back that would create the quartering. I chose the point where the side seam joins under the armpit as I reasoned this would cause the least amount of trouble piecing the new pattern pieces together or for adding in the seam. It would mean that the quartering would not be even, the upper part being smaller than the lower part, however I thought the shaping of the doublet wouldn’t cause too much of a problem visually.
Having used the intact pattern piece to cut the lining, I then chopped the pattern piece for the front and back along this line. Assuming a 5/8th seam allowance I cut pieces of paper to fit with an additional bit for overlapping the pattern and then taped these to the cut edges.
Making the doublet
I cut the lining first and marked the lines for the ribbon trim, as I wanted to make the lining look like it was supposed to be an “outer” when the doublet was reversed. I added the wide black ribbon to the lines and pinned the bits together the check everything hung together as expected.
I then cut the tabs for the lacing points for the shoulders. Because the pattern was going to be turned inside out the lacing points needed to be sewn on both sides of the shoulder pieces, and I debated making them in the same colours as the shoulders or put yellow bits on the red shoulder and vice versa, but I decided to make a statement of them and so cut them all in black to match the eyelets I had chosen to use. I cut the interfacing and applied it to these pieces so that I wouldn’t lose bits (I became a bit paranoid about counting pieces as I worked). I then prepared the front and back pieces of the doublet body as I described above (after much agonising and procrastinating). This took a bit of thought and I ended up scribbling a diagram on how the garment would look if laid out flat so I could figure out what piece I needed to cut in what direction so that the cloth remained right side up. This was quite time consuming as each piece had to be cut individually rather than on the fold like I usually do for plain fabrics.
I marked the ribbon lines on all pieces and sewed the matching ribbon bits over the line before sewing the upper and lower quarters together along my new seam. After pressing the seam I applied the interfacing as if the front pieces were a whole piece. After this I then added the thin black ribbon to tie all the quartering together. I then pinned the pieces together along the seams and to check how the thing would sew up. When I sewed the quartering together I matched the upper and lower cloth with a matching thread to keep the seam as neat as possible.
I cut the shoulders and interfacing, applying the interfacing to the coloured outers to keep the black colour as the “lining”. I prepared the lacing tabs by sewing the fold together and trimming the seam before turning the tab inside out and pressing each one. I then used my hole-punch to make the hole before applying the eyelet according to the manufacturer’s instruction. I put three of the lacing tabs on each shoulder piece at the points and sewed a narrow seam, before sewing the outer and lining of the shoulder pieces together. After turning I sewed another narrow seam through all pieces – lacing tabs and shoulder pieces – to keep the whole lot closed during handling.
I followed the instructions to sew the middle back seam together on the outer cloth (using black thread across the multi-coloured sections) before attaching the sewing the shoulder piece between the markings. I then did the same with the lining before pressing the bottom seam up in preparation for later.
I pinned the lining to the outer and sewed the front opening and around the shoulder seam, keeping the shoulder carefully tucked out of the way so it wouldn’t get caught accidentally in the seam. The doublet was then turned through the shoulder before being pressed and sewn up the side seam – leaving the bottom open.
I then cut all the coloured peplum flaps, being careful to keep an even number of red and yellow bits. I applied the interfacing to these, then attached the lining, trimming the seams and pressing once turned right way round. I sewed a narrow hem across the open edge to keep the flap from falling open during handling then added them to the bottom edge of the outer, spacing them evenly as best I could. Because I had adapted the pattern things had shifted a little bit during cutting, so the flaps have a small gap between them which doesn’t spoil the overall effect.
With the doublet outer mostly finished, I turned my attention to the sleeves. These were cut with a full set of black lining and one each of red and yellow cloth. I was tempted to do the sleeve with a different coloured front and back, but I thought it might spoil the effect a little and get complicated. The seam down the arm was sewn together and the seam pressed on both the outer pieces and lining. I pressed the wrists of the sleeves up at the seam allowance and sewed the lining to the outer, trimming and clipping the seams. Turning it out I pressed the seams (scalding my fingers as I did so with the steam) and edge-stitched the cuffs together using the sewing machine, before applying the eyelets along the upper curve of the sleeve. Or rather my OH applying the eyelets – he has a better aim with the hammer and he was alarmed at me whacking my fingers or damaging the eyelets and spoiling the cloth. I also punched the holes down the front of the doublet and set him on these too.
The sleeves are joined together using buttons, but because the sleeve is designed to be turned inside out I wanted the buttons to be reversible too. I decided it was better to use pretty beads that were flat with an embossed pattern, or beads that would look pretty even if they turned around the thread. I worked from the cuff up, securing the thread at one side then passing it through the bead to the other side, catching in a stitch, and then working back through the bead to the first side. I started this fairly loosely, then gradually pulled the two sides together around the bead until I couldn’t get the needle back through the hole, at which point I secured the stitch and finished it off. Each sleeve has four beads and I was lucky enough to find some decorative flat silver ones that mimicked buttons at Hobbycraft.
With the sleeves finished and the eyelets fixed in place, all that was left was to cut thin pieces of ribbon to lace the sleeve through the lacing tabs and lace the front together with a piece of suede lacing.
Then it was time for a few photographs before giving the doublet over to the client which led to more kit photographs!
Photographs of the doublet and character are shared with the kind permission of my client. The photographs are taken by me.