Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Pourpoint Commission: It's Go Time

"It's 21 days to Mudthaw, we have six metres of
Sartor silk, four pounds of raw cotton, society
is collapsing and we have day jobs."  "Hit it."

After days of obsessive activity somewhat interrupted by being gone for a week for a work conference, I got enough of the test pourpoint together--i.e. the body + left arm, which is my patron's dominant side--for a fitting yesterday afternoon, and mirabile dictu, we are actually in pretty good shape here.  I need to add a little extra around the midsection (behold the difference between a human animal in summer and winter) and a little extra around the forearm muscle; no huhu.  My only concern is the way the front gore fits, which looks a little bunchy and puffy.  I took consultation with my panel of experts on how best to fiddle this, and by moving the seam inwards a little on the gore, it should do better.  (Viewers will note that there is some bunching under the armpit, which is true; this is a consequence of both the padding and the extra fabric needed to get the range of motion which is the whole point of the grande assiette sleeve.  So, that's okay.)  

It was interesting to note the difference in padding thickness on the pieces, as well.  The ones I had done first (the back) were much less full than the ones I did last (the sleeve & gores).  This wasn't at all intentional, and indeed I wasn't even conscious of it as I was working.  I think it's a combination of early trepidation + later confidence; at first, I was afraid of over-padding and turning it into a ski jacket, and with each successive piece I was worrying less about that and just instinctively adding Enough Padding To Make It Look Right.  And, as it is, I think I will want to up the levels even more, particularly across the upper chest.  

So.  Hurray.  We pass unit testing.  Guess what that means:  Time to do the real piece. And I am determined to have this in wearable state for the patron on March 25, which is an important event for him.  Possibly this is madness; though minimum-viable-product is having the garment done except the OVER FIFTY BUTTONS AND BUTTONHOLES AFJKDJFKDJFKLJG and sew him into it for the day, which reduces the number of required hours by a significant factor.  We'll see how it goes. 

aaaaaaaaaaaa I am being
trusted with this
Some thoughts:

  • The big elephant in the room is, how differently will the silk behave in the quilting process?  I had no lossage due to padding on the test unit, but I'm pretty sure this is because linen is mad stretchy.  Silk is not.  And we do not have much, if any, excess fabric here to screw around with.
  • How best to do the sleeves is an open question yet.  The pattern instructs you to assemble the upper sleeve (i.e., insert the gores) and then quilt it all down together; and I started with that, and then looked at the now somewhat three-dimensional item, and could not see how it could be done on a stretched-flat quilting frame.  So I took it apart, quilted each piece individually, and then assembled them.  This worked--though if you think setting a gore is hard, try doing it when all the pieces are thickly padded--but it wasn't the best or neatest.  Beth opined it could be done post-assembly by hand, sans frame, but I'm not convinced that'll end well for me. 
    • also, damn do I wish I had gotten to the serious quilting before I went to see Gold Charlie.  I have a whole list of things I would look at more closely now.
  • I estimate that 450g-500g of cotton is probably about right for padding one courtly pourpoint.  I still have a good bit left of my first batch of bowing, but a) I haven't quilted the right sleeve pieces yet and b) as noted earlier I should've used a lot more on the body pieces at least.
  • Mem: make sure the quilting lines will line up with each other across the center front.
  • I have been advised to balance the pattern of the brocade on the different pieces.  The medievals weren't obsessed with perfect matching like we moderns are, but if you look at Gold Charlie, they didn't just slap the pieces together willy-nilly either.  
  •  I did order some 5/8" buttons; the flat ones will do the job for the lower front, but the domed ones are right out.  I need actually round buttons for the sleeves & upper torso.  
  • oh hey let's make sure I have enough plain white linen in stock for lining this
The next order of operations is to lay out all the pattern pieces on the silk, getting the brocade lined up and all, so I see exactly how much extra I have to play with for testing purposes (and for covering 50+ buttons, fjdklajfdklajflajfakdkjagfdf).  If I have enough extra, I'll quilt say a 6" test swatch and see what our stretch factor is.  --Oh hey.  I could do the test swatch, and then disassemble it and use that for covering buttons, if I absolutely had to.  

ora pro me

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