Sunday, January 26, 2014

Jiminy Cricket as a Tudor

Photo taken by
Angela Perdue
(Julianna de Pardieu)
Recently I was inspired to create a new outfit.  Well, originally the plan was to create two new outfits.  My daughter would need one outfit and I would need one.  As it turns out I didn't have the time to finish my outfit but I am glad that I finished my daughter's.  She liked it and I think she looked very cute in it.

Here is a portion of the text which was posted as a challenge to SCA members attending the event on January 25th at the Festival of Maidens.  "Participants choose their favorite Disney Princess/Character and recreate a historically accurate outfit.  There is no limited of the time period or culture, as long it is within the scope of the SCA timeline. This is also not gender specific; everyone is strongly encouraged to join in the fun."

I discussed the challenge with my daughter and she was interested.  She wasn't initially sure which character she would want to do.  I would have guessed that she would pick a typical Disney princess but I was shocked.  She loves the color green and when we came across the move Pinocchio on the Disney list she decided she liked the dirty Jiminy Cricket character.  I was trying to convince her to do a female character, but much like me, once she had an idea in her head her mind was set.  She liked the peasant looking Jiminy better than the look he sported after he was converted into the conscience of Pinocchio.  I really think she liked the idea of a green jacket (her favorite color) and a chance to wear pants to an SCA event.

I went through my stash and found some very soft wool left over from previous projects.  I chose about 7 different colors of linen from my stash (yes I have a HUGE stash) and she chose the color scheme you see in the final picture.  While I did the patterns and design she was very involved in the decision making process along the way.  The Tudor style green jacket really should have had more of a skirt with pleats in it, but alas, I was really out of material.  I actually had to place the patches on the back of the jacket just to finish it.  I wanted a patchy used look but I really had to use a couple blue and brown patches just to put it together.  I didn't have enough green left to do the skirting on the jacket properly.

This little tool in one of my own design.  It is not period in any way as it is only useful when doing pleats with a sewing machine.  I first fashioned one about 10 years ago or so when making box pleats on an Elizabethan style shirt.  This one is made from 16 gauge wire.

I have a variety of width forks so that I can make different sized pleats.  The basic idea is to place the fork on the material and fold it back and forth while sewing the pleat.  It is much faster than measuring an pinning the material and yet forms a very consistent width pleat.

Another use of this style tool is to aid in pushing the material forward.  As there is a long slit between the tines of the fork you can sew right over the fork.  I use a larger version of this tool even when I'm not making pleats.  It helps nudge the material along without a risk of breaking a needle or sewing my fingers together.

Once done the box pleat looks like this.  Once pressed and stitched into place it shows a very standard, yet very quickly created pleat.


You can run the stitching on either side of the ruffle.  As you see here I have the raw edge on the right and the folded edge on my left.  That is the manner in which I most often use what I call my "pleating fork".


The finished pleated edges before and after binding to the cuff.


The rest of the shirt was standard stuff, so not pictures of that.

The next step was to create the pants.  As I have been doing more and more lately I created the outfit with no pattern.  I took a pair of pants that fit my daughter well and used them as a basis for a template of the crotch seam.  I then added length to each side to allow for more volume in the pants.

I made the pattern from an old felt sheet which my daughter loved.  It was too raggedy to keep so I used it for the pattern and then the lining of the pants.  She has sensitive skin and only likes soft clothing.  I lined the pants and the double with very soft material.

The doublet patter was rather eyeballed.  I took her measurements to get the basic body block shape.  My daughter does not like very fitted clothing so even if a proper period jacket would have been more tight fitting I needed to give her more room.  I added four inches to each measurement to start with.  I roughed out a sketch on a piece of Christmas wrapping paper.  Once I mocked up the doublet, tweaked it, pinned it and remeasured again it fit well enough.  I transferred the pattern to some very soft linen to use as the lining.

As you see here I often use some stone coasters I got from Salvation Army as weights to hold my pattern in place.  They are smooth, heavy and easy to move around when cutting.  I've been using these green weights for about 12 years now.


Once the body of the doublet was finished I eyeballed a set of sleeves.  I had mad a few jackets like this so I knew the basic shape.  I then adjusted the shape based on some measurements from my daughter.  I had to make two mockups to get a good fitting sleeve that she was OK with.  I wanted a tight fitting look and she wanted to be able to easily do jumping jacks.  We ended up with a decent looking jacket that she could easily move around in.  I knew that I should point the jacket to the pants but she didn't like that idea as it would make restroom breaks problematic.  I thought about hooks and eyes to hook them together, but opted for her comfort and ease instead.

I cut out two versions of the sleeve you see here on the left and then merged them together to the one you see on the right

The small skirting was a matter of simply cutting out a 2 inch shallow curved piece of linen.  I pinned it on and it looked OK so I did the same with the yellow linen.


She test fitted the doublet with no buttons and then again with the pinned on buttons you see on the right below.  I liked the size of the button but thought there should be more.  Again I compromised comfort for period fashion.  The period doublets would have had more buttons on the front but why torture the poor girl too much.


Initially I had planned on using the metallic finished plastic buttons you see above.  A friend (Lauren Elder) showed me how to make the cloth buttons.  I had tried in the past to no great success.  I will try to describe her method which was very easy to do.  I was able to crank out all of the buttons, except one (which my friend made) very quickly.

Start out with a circle of linen.  I used a spool of the large Gütermann thread as a template.  Start by doing a running stitch around the edge as close to the edge as you can without fraying the weave.  Once the circle has been navigated you draw the thread in to make a small pucker in the middle.  Use your fingers to ease the pucker flat and form a smaller circle with the pucker in the middle.


Once the smaller circle has been flattened you  repeat.  Do a running stitch around the edge again.  This time there is no raw edge to worry about so you should be able to get very close to the edge.  Once you have completed the circle, draw the stitching closed again.  This will begin to make a small ball of material

To complete the button simply run stitches back and forth drawing the ball tighter and tighter.  You will not sew on a shaft at this point.  The buttons remain as you see below.

Once you are ready to attach them you simply run a stitch through the button and through the jacket.  I used only two loops to hold the button on.  You then wrap a length of thread around at that point to build the shaft of the button. I wrapped around 3 times to make the shaft of each button.

 The finished doublet.

The hat was the easiest part as I had purchased the felt hat you see below about 5 years ago from Salvation Army.  I had anticipated steaming it to enlarge it to fit me.  I never did.  Instead it sat in my basement for years.  I found it, pulled off the hat band and then stitched up the sides of the brim.  I then took some scissors to the hat to rough it up a bit.  Cut a few small holes and damaged the edge of the brim.  I wanted it to look used and abused like the one Jiminy wore.  I then stitched on some scrap wool to match the doublet.


The finished outfit.  The green jacket is slightly too big, but again I wanted her to be comfortable and I was rather hoping she would wear it a few more times.  I purchased women's knee socks for her hose and used the selvage edges of the wool for the garters.  

Here you see her holding the prize she received for the best children's costume.  I wanted my daughter to be both happy and comfortable wearing the outfit.  She was both which means we both won.