Turkish Coat for Venetian Dress
Portrait of a Lady, 1555, Titian, National Gallery of Art Washington DC
Click on image to go to documentation.
Commenced 01 July 2004
I have long wanted to make this coat. It transcends the east meets west of Venice. I had intended to make it for our elevation to kingdom but was too busy sewing for others at the time to make it then. I planed on wearing it with my shell dress for that event, but truly it will go with many objects from my wardrobe.
It should be noted that there are NO images of Venetian women wearing a Turkish coat over a Venetian gown in every day dress that I know of. All the Venetian images with a Turkish coat are depicted as either as Turkish dress on a Venetian woman, or in a less formal setting, or allegorical, or as a costume for Carnivale. The practice of wearing a Turkish coat with the European dress may never have occurred. As my time machine is currently out of service, we will never truly know. I do not find it a huge leap to make that this could have happened, but I can not substantiate it.
"Festa in Maschera", 1595, found on page 603 of "Il Rinascimento a Venezia : e la pittura del Nord ai tempi di Bellini, Durer, Tiziano" Courtesy of Jennifer Thompson
The materials I have chosen for this coat are a silk duchess satin in black for the outer, and a silk habutai in burgundy for the lining. The duchess satin I bought some years ago in Brisbane when I went to visit my father before he died, so this has a sentimental value for me, additionally it was on a huge special at $6 per metre Aust. The lining was purchased at full price from memory, also some years back with another project in mind. Things change. The embellishments were also purchased some years back for no specific purpose at the time but I knew that some thing would present itself when the time was right. Fresh water pearls and garments will also form part of the embellishment.
Pallets for embellishment
This pattern is remarkably simple and cloth efficient. 4.5 metres of 112cm wide fabric is all that is required for me, this includes the 'scraps' used for the bias for hemming. I'm 168cm (5'6) so more or less for some one taller or shorter. There are only 5 pattern pieces to this garment. The central piece that is cut on the fold of the fabric a the centre front and back so that there is no shoulder seam. The side gores x 6. A neck facing, armhole facing and front opening facing that adjoins the neck facing.
|View of the cut lining and the outer fabric. Gore, neck facing and arm facing patterns on the black satin.||The black duchess silk satin outer cut and laid out with the side gores shown where they will attach.|
02 July 2004
At the moment the outer and the lining are sewn together yet still separate. As I suspect the lining at least will drop I am going to allow it a week to drop while it sits on my mannequin.
|Turkish Coat hanging on mannequin front view, in my over crowded sewing room.||Turkish Coat hanging on mannequin side view, in my over crowded sewing room..|
05 July 2004
The side seams the sewn together, the seams pressed flat, then the outer and the lining were pined together at all the openings.
|Side seams pinned together
|After the seam have been sewn and ironed flat. Then the lining and the outer have been pinned together at all of the openings except for the hem.||These pieces were cut exactly the same size. The lining of silk habutai has dropped significantly in only 3 days. The silk duchess satin appears unchanged. The drops are mostly on the bias cut edges.|
06 July 2004
Working out the facings. As I am trying to keep with in the 4 metre limit I am attempting to get all of the facings out of the left over fabric. To this end I am now faced with the option of having to adjust the hem of the coat so that I know exactly how much I need to cut for the long facing for the front opening. I had wanted to avoid this for a little longer to allow the lining to drop. But as I want to get into the hand sewing tomorrow I need to do it now.
The hem has been levelled and the facings cut. A friend came to visit so I didn't get the facings sewn together.
|The hem levelled.||The arm facing.|
07 July 2004
An unfortunate example of physics. They say what goes up must come down. With textiles what drops has to come from somewhere. The drop in the silk lining has meant the as it pulled down it also pulled in at some points. This fortunately wont be hard to remedy with the addition of an extra gore are the front opening of the lining only to give me the extra needed at the hem. This demonstrates the importance of allowing your cut fabric to settle a little before you finish off your masterpiece. If I had have gone straight ahead and kept making it I would have only discovered this problem later when it distorted. As for the back, well I will have to make the side split turn back a little larger on the outer fabric.
This is really only a problem because I intend to stitch the hems of the outer and the lining together so that none of the seams are visible. If I were going to leave the hems separate then it wouldn't matter as much. The habutai is the only part that moved, the duchess satin being of a much denser weave didn't move at all. If I were working in a lighter fabric for the outer layer, such as silk dupion or a lighter silk satin the distortion could have been more even over both pieces of fabric. After the extra gore goes in the facings will be added.
I did add the extra gores. They only needed to be small and we from the left over of the lining after hemming. This has given me enough to play with now to make a neat hem finish. The facings are now assembled ready to be stitched into place. These will be stitched in by hand as they are to be features as well as functional. Close inspection of the portrait that this is being made from suggests this also. Normally I would mount the interfacings for added body. This time I am not doing this. The duchess satin is so dense that it would be too stiff if I did, and the eventual 3 layers of silk duchess satin and 1 layer of silk habutai will be enough to support the medallions and bead work that is to follow.
08 July 2004
Sewing is on hold for a few days. I sliced my thumb open cooking dinner last night and it keeps bleeding ever time I put any pressure on it. So I'm off to the doctor (maybe, and if my partner has anything to say about it.)
09 July 2004
OK, so I didn't really end up giving my finger the rest it needed. At least the bleeding has stoped. I stitched the side split and lining together. And I pinned the frond facing into place and am about to do the same with the arm facings.
|Side split stitched to lining. small gore insert also on the left visible, just.||Neck facing pined in for hand stitching.||Arm facings stitched and pressed.|
11 July 2004
The longest task of the hand sewing has begun. I have elected to hand stitch the facings using top stitch. In part this is because I want to see the effect on the final product. Some might think this is redundant, but as I am making a historical piece and this is how they did it, it really does make sense. It would have been easier to put the facings in with the machine, not to mention faster.
I have started with the neck facing. This will be the longest seam. The arm facing because of their shape will be a lot more fiddly and possibly frustrating. I am using silk thread for the hand stitching.
12 July 2004
The hand stitching for the front opening and neck facings are finished and now needs to be pressed. I have started to pin in the armhole facings. As I suspecter this is rather frustrating as the armholes are scalloped. This means that the facing is largely cut on the bias and has a tendency to move.
|Sleeve facing pinned in for hand stitching.||Hand stitched arm facing, finished.|
|Hand stitched front facing and arm facing.||View of over all effect with hand stitched top stitch on facings.|
Close view of front facing where you can see the hand sewing.
The curves not as neat as I would have liked them to be.
The joy of hand sewing. Ready now for embellishment.
13 July 2004
The sleeve facings are pinned in and I have begun stitching them down. (Amazing what a difference having a dishwasher in my life makes to my time.)
14 July 2004
I have started on the embellishments, and they are looking really gooood.
16 July 2004
Yesterday I spent the day at a display at university. Naturally I took my hand sewing along with me. I have almost finished the front embellishment now. I hope to start the sleeves tonight.
17 July 2004
All of the arm and front Embellishment are now finished. Tonight the buttons and button holes. Hopefully I will get the bias cut for the hemming also.
|Embellishment begun. Only the gold pallets and garnets at each corner of the pallet to start with.||Embellishment completed. gold pallets and garnets at each corner of the pallet, then the fresh water pearls arranged in between the pallets.||Embellishment showing the finished shape of the sleeve.|
The buttons are all in and the button hole are machine done. I had intended to do the button holes by hand but with university starting in 2 days the faster alternative was used. I did however stitch them with silk thread.
|Full length view of finished embellishment.||Closer view.|
18 July 2004
The hem is all that is left to be done. I have decided that I will bind the hem with bias cut from the same silk duchess sating as the coat. The binding will be visible on the outside as it will encase the hem completely. From just under half a metre of 112cm wide silk I was able to make approximately 8 meters of silk bias. I cut it at 6 cm width so that the finished width after all the folding is just over 1 cm. I strongly endorse the use of a bias turner. I have 3 bias makers that are for various finished widths. I used the 3 cm tool for this project. The are so simple to use. put your bias in one end and pull through the other side and iron as you go. It's great for using up small pieces of fabric as interesting trim and piping.
|Bias cut and ready for turning.||Bias going through the bias maker.|
|The start of pining in the bias for the hem. This will be hand stitched in the same was as the facings were. Silk thread will be used.||Lots of bias still to go for the hem. I will in fact have left over that can be used for another project.|
19 July 2004
Today was my first day back at university, yeayyy. Because of the time anticipated waiting for Mio ragazzo to pick me up I took my sewing with me. (There is no readings as yet so I didn't feel guilty doing this.) The hem is now half finished, so maybe tonight I will get it finished or tomorrow afternoon at the latest.
20 July 2004
The hem will be finished today. Waa Hoo!!!
21 July 2004
Finished !.!.!.! But, I have decided that it needs just a touch more embellishment. All will be revealed soon.
22 July 2004
Finished !.!.!.! Again!.!.!.! I added some extra embellishment to the side splits. In eastern clothing any openings are regarded as areas which evil ma enter the body. Embellishments are not only for adornment but for sacred purposes to ward off evils. So it seemed logical to apply this line of thinking to the side splits.
|Finished Turkish Coat front view.||Side view.||Detail of the side split embellishment.|
What have I discovered in making this?
Silk thread is lovely so sew with, especially for hand sewing.
Silk duchess satin does not fold, it bends. This is due to the density of the weave of the fabric.
When you iron silk duchess satin you had better be sure of where you are putting your creases as they are hard to get rid of if you change your mind.
Silk duchess satin is really nice to work with. I have more of the same fabric that I am looking forward to making into something else that is absolutely stunning.
Silk habutai while it feels lovely is not so nice to work with in this scale. Small items like hats are different when lining with silk habutai, but on larger projects it is flimsy and drops horribly.
Would I do it again?
Absolutely! I am thinking about the huge rolls of velveteen I have in my sewing room. More that I need for a Venetian gown in some of them, so maybe a Turkish coat or other outer wear from the left overs.
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