Interpretation Costume

1640 Menswear illustration

Above is an illustration of a 17th Century gentleman that I am currently interpreting and translating into a wearable costume.

Historical research was carried out, before patterns and materials where chosen. After a successful trip to London I decided to use a patterned metallic silk brocade fabric for he doublet and a contrasting silk dupion for the breeches.

I started by flat pattern drafting a 17th Century mens shirt pattern.

I chose a fabric that was not 100% linen as I thought it would be easier to work with. (Not crease as easily) due to my prior experience with 100% linen on my Roman Toga project.

First Fitting

The linen shirt was constructed over the first weeks of September.

I really enjoyed producing the shirt, as it was the first mens garment I have made. I felt confident as I could apply my previous knowledge and skills in period pattern cutting. Whilst learning something new.

I  am happy with the end result, I feel the lace makes the shirt, as it is similar to lace of the 17th century.

Photographs taken at various stages of the construction process.

Wednesday 18th February
Not sure how I am feeling about this costume at the moment, Interpretation is proving to be the more difficult project at present. Am I making the right choices? Could I have done that part different? Constantly questioning my decision making is taking up too much of the little time I have left. I need to be more confident and assertive, in order to meet my deadlines and stay organised.

Today I began to produce the hat, which involved blocking the crown from buckram and creating a brim from pattern card, which was then also made in buckram and wired with millinery wire. This a skill that i am very familiar with after producing various hats over the past 3 years.
Deciding which shape block to use and how I wanted the brim to be was a little tricky as my illustration is not similar to other 17th century hats that i have come across whilst researching. However as I am not to be graded on my ability to produce a historically accurate 1640's mens costume I made the decision to not let other hats influence me. creating a brim that was quite flat rather than fixed up on one side.    

Monday 23rd February
Now that my Doublet is finished, Hat is taking shape and have also worked out how the Boot Socks are to be constructed (Through research on 17th Century Boot hose - Online.) I am feeling more focused with this costume. I have had a lot of setbacks the past few weeks - mostly with the sleeve alterations (too big) Cuffs (not deep enough) and waiting on fabric.
Today I got the hat to the stage where it needs to be covered with fabric, I will do this once the velvet arrives. This velvet will also be used for the cape.
I also carried out some dyeing, which I enjoyed as I haven't incorporated any self dyed fabrics in any of my costumes.
The fabric was ivory silk organza left over from the Spanish Infanta project i worked on last year. The fabric was dyed various shades of green until I produced a colour that I felt worked well with the silk fabric that the breeches are made from. I think I am going to do some further dyeing, as I want to incorporated numerous tones of green within the flowers on the boot socks.         

Monday 2nd March

This week I have planned to have the majority of this costume finished. As I am awaiting fabric for the hat. I have now received the wig and need to style it. I would like to learn how to add a lace front to the wig as it looks quite effective.

I have been constructing the boot socks and sampling ways of creating the flowers. I feel that the flowers look quite delicate, various tones have been used in the illustration. I chose a light weight organza for the final petals, as it is slightly transparent resembling the flowers on the illustration well in my opinion.

Images below, working out the best way to make/wear the socks.
The socks to be over the boots? or inside?
lace to be on the socks or boots? gathered?
I decided that the second approach, shown in the second image would work best.
this will be achieved by sewing lace onto the outside of the sock, where the sock folds down. The flowers being sewn on top of the lace. With further gathered lace being added to the inside of the boots, folding over slightly, as illustrated on the original drawing.

Finished Doublet and Breeches.
Pictures taking during sock fitting.
Socks to be complete by the end of the week, with buckles to be changed on boots from silver to gold.
Cape and Hat to add.

16th March
I feel as though the costume is really coming together now, i have recently covered the sheath of the sword, finished the boot socks and the flowers/decoration.
The feathers for the hat have arrived, i am going to try various techniques of curling them for a more decorative effect.

Comment Stream

2 years ago

with the interpretation work what is the most important part of the translation. Historical accuracy or the feel of the illustration ?

2 years ago

Historical accuracy is important whilst producing this 17th century costume, as I enjoy constructing period costumes. This costume is the first male Costume I have produced, so I am trying to keep it as accurate as possible. However as this is an interpretation module, So I am concentrating more on the translation of the illustration into a wearable costume. Trying to choose the correct shade of greens, braids and lace that resemble those drawn. Therefore if an element of the illustration does not fit with my historical research, I am to focus more on the original design. In saying this, I feel I have not had these problems as the illustration is quite historical, which has helped a lot when deciding on materials and trims etc. I can refer to prior knowledge of the decade due to previous projects and also the new found historical research on 1640's menswear.