Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wardrobe in Progress: Merovingian - coat

I have almost finished the reconstruction of the brown wool/silk blend coat – or as I affectionately call it, Mervin. I removed the collar, pulled it apart at the side seams, took 15 cm off each side of the body panel, raised the gores to start in the underarm, added extra length and width to the gores, put it all back together and reattached the collar. All that remains now is to hem it.
In spite of the initial frustration of trying to get it figures out and the disappointment that many people looked at the first version and declared it unattractive or, worse yet, inaccurate, I am very proud of my work on this project, and with the finished product. Firstly, I took the research and had a go. I still stand by my initial interpretation of the construction. If I had made it up in a very light silk, as was the extant garment, I believe my original garment proportions would have been appropriate. However, I listened to and took on board people’s comments and observations, and decided to rework the garment, necessarily reinterpreting the research, to make it more practical, and more appealing to the modern aesthetic.
I showed the coat to (Mistress) Margie last night and we had a good chat about the difficulties of reproducing garments from early eras when there is so little surviving extant evidence. We also discussed the fact that, as modern people, we view things through our own filter, and make assumptions about how garments were made or looked in the period, based on our own aesthetic bias. Perhaps big, sack-like coats were how it was done, we will probably never know.
In any event, I will be warm, comfortable and dry at Festival in my woollen coat, although I worry a little about rain on the silk collar. On the other hand, the collar is easily detached and replaced, so I will try not to fret too much.

Still on the ‘to do’ list:
Re-hem the red tunic, taking about 10 – 15 cm off the length
Finish green linen tunic
Make 1 – 2 more pair of hose
Make red coat (maybe. I hope I get time, but it’s not essential)
Make 2 more under tunics, hem and alter current under tunic.
Buy 2nd pair of shoes – I wore my leather shoes with my hose last night. Not only were they comfy, but they also attracted compliments, so I will definitely buy a 2nd pair - Perhaps a red pair? Or black?
Have belt made to fit new buckle fittings from FC Pewter.

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