Mid 16th C. Cream Satin Suit and Shoes

May 23, 2010 - I had originally crafted this outfit for my "Laurel" recognition within the Society for Creative Anachronism back in June of 2008, but it took me this long to get some issues worked out and I finally can present the suit as I had intended it.

I'm a huge fan of the 1560s; in fact, it's my preferred decade at the moment. Not only is there a wealth of pictorial and written evidence available all over Europe, but the cut of men's clothes in this decade do not exhibit the oddities of the fourth quarter of the decade (the absurd peascod belly being the most notable offender) but it also has (again, in my opinion) smoother and more polished lines than the previous two quarters.

Janet Arnold in Patterns of Fashion has given us a gem in the form of her analysis of Don Garzia de Medici's burial suit in 1562 (pp53-54), and this was the primary source for this suit. However, I knew that I wanted to experiment with slashing, so I took some inspiration from the French, specifically Charles IX (27 June 1550 - 30 May 1574). There are two particular portraits, attributed to Clouet, that were of great assistance to me, one currently in the Kunsthistoriches Museum in Vienna (to the right), and another in the Musee Condee in Chantilly (below this one, to the right). I went for a slightly earlier, less padded, look for the trunk hose based on some Spanish paintings at the time (Arnold, 14).

Note the alternating direction of slashing on the portrait from the Musee Condee - simple gold buttons down the front, and lines of cord ornamenting the spaces between the slashes. The hat is also very similar to the painting above, and is fairly typical of the raised padded bonnet of the period.

The hat was styled after Charles' cap, but made wider to allow for flexibility with later periods. The base is cotton velveteen lined with taffeta and padded on the inside for extra stiffness. The band ornaments are commercially available buttons, which we were fortunate to discover together while on a fact finding...er, fabric finding mission at Stone Mountain Daughter in Berkeley, California.

The shirt itself is fine, medium-light weight linen; although not shown here, I originally wore this with another shirt which had a blackwork pattern on the edging of the ruff and wrists. The blackwork was a mock buttonhole design, and the interlocking design is a Venetian pattern from the third quarter of the 16th century (if I recall the research details properly, as another artisan crafted the shirt - just write me for more details if you are interested. The other unmentionable is also appropriate to the time period, and we shall leave it at that. =)

I decided on a beautiful cream duchesse satin as the outer layer for the suit - thank goodness that Thai Silks was having a 25% off sale at the time. The panes were backed with a similarly coloured cream silk taffeta and interlined with gold silk taffeta. The doublet was also interlined with gold taffeta and lined with linen quilted with a thin layer of cotton bombast. The trunk hose outerlining is the same gold taffeta and filled with polyester batting (I recall seeing wool bombast, but didn't purchase it at the time; my attempts to find it again were unsucessful, and I was working on a deadline!

The buttons are standard commercially available ones, and the gold braid is a metallic braid, found at (of all places!) Jo-Ann's Fabric Store. Over 150 yards of braid were applied on the panes, sleeves, and doublet of the suit. That's more than the length of a football field and a half, just for reference.

The points are fingerlooped braid of dark and light gold silk. They are tipped by brass aglets of my own creation, rolled out of 0.01" thick brass around a conical dowel. The pocketbags are historical - just see Arnold for more details.

The hose are of a fine knit wool, which I was fortunate to find at Stone Mountain Daughter. They're pointed to the trunk hose by means of an eyeleting strip on both hoses, something Arnold observes in her observations of some later garments (pp90-92). They're sewn with the characteristic upside-down "V" at the side of the ankle that is easily observed in many portraits and of the time, and documented in Textiles and Clothing: 1150-1450 by Crowfoot, Pritchard and Staniland (189). Unfortunately, I did not have time to set in the eyeleting holes at the correct level, which is why there is a good amount of wrinkling observed. With the eyelet strip set lower into the hose, a smooth look, much closer to portraiture of the time, is achieved.

The shoes are of vegetable tanned cattle, and are of welted construction with the welt laying flat out instead of being tucked under the insole. The shoes are lined with gold taffeta and pickadils and slashes are incorporated into the design, as with many shoes in the third quarter of the 16th century.

This outfit would not have been possible without the assistance and various members of the Society:
Maestra Francesca von Hesse for creation of the hat.
Lady Katherine Stormberg for creation and embroidery of the shirt.
Lady Katherine de Langlei, who spent many hours embroidering the cloak as a surprise gift for my elevation.
Lady Renee of Crosston for the creation of the fingerloop braids.
Lady Johanna Ludwiger von Hertesbergk who assembled the hosen.
Lady Sarah Wydville, who helped greatly with reworking, buttonholes, and eyelets.
Master Geoffrey Mathias, for helping with the final stages of stitching the insole and outsole to the upper.
Master Moshe Avenicmel, Mistress Angharad St. George, Mistress Elizabeth of Dendermonde, Signora Vittoria Aureli, Lady Agnes de Sainte-Claire, and several other members of the Society who helped with eyelets, couching, and various other elements of handsewing.

Shortcut Bar

Suit Source.
Hat and Suit Details.
Points, Hose, and Shoes.
Full Outfit.

Comments on: Mid 16th C. Satin Suit and Shoes

By: raisedheels

Hello! Thanks for the compliments =) I'm happy to give you the run down - most of it is in the blog post, but I haven't provided the details of Arnold's suit since it's a copyrighted work.


HI BREADlFULI was just wondering about several details in your suit. It is beautiful. My friend and I were just admiring all the work you put into this gorgeous costume!!! First, where exactly did you derive your inspiration from? Your costumes are both intricate and fantastic and we wondered where you researched. Personally, I have been listening to podcasts, which are not really great for the whole visual portion the exercise, but still entertaining when you are doing monotonous work with your hands. And secondly, THAT CODPIECE. What made you want to make it erect? Was that the fashion? It certainlytoes the line of bizarre, but is still incredibly in sync with the piece. After I write this comment, we are going to search the web very thoroughly for more information, about codpieces of the time. We are just super curious. So to save us the scaring you should get back to us. ASAP. If you have anything you can share, like the painting your inspiration came from, or other such things, email me at the provided email. Lovely piece! Enjoy your day. Me.

By: raisedheels

Hi Brad, thanks very much for the compliment! In truth, the pattern comes directly out of the pattern of Cosimo de Medici's trunk hose by Janet Arnold's"Patterns of Fashion 3."You can find ita href="http://www.amazon.com/Patterns-Fashion-Construction-Clothes-1560-1620/dp/0896760839/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1401479055&sr=8-3&keywords=patterns+of+fashion"rel="nofollow">here./a>If you don't have a copy, I strongly suggest picking one up, as it is a wealth of information. Regading the panes (strips of satin), I'm not quite exactly clear to what you're referring, but could it be the waistband for the trunk hose as ina href="http://aands.org/raisedheels/Other/Laurel/codpiece.jpg"rel="nofollow">this picture/a>? The trunk hose and doublet are both separate pieces (like jeans and a shirt) but they are tied together with the gold laces. The panes, gold silk taffeta shell, and linen innerlining are all sewn together, and then a waistband is added to provide a place to tie the doublet to it.

By: Brad

I have a question about your Satin Suit. Is it possible can you sketch up a pattern for me on how your pants were put together? I really like how they are constructed, and I can't find anything that looks as good as yours turned out.I was looking at the photos, and I was curious at the back near the top of the slops. you have some material that covers one of the strips of material? I can't figure out what you are doing there. I would really appreciate it if you could tell me about how your constructed the slops, (pants). I hope you have the time to jot some information down for me.Great suit, extremely attractive looking, and the material is perfect. It really shows it off.Wonderful work.Best Regards, Brad Hoplock Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

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