Monday, July 30, 2012

Sitting on the Fence

I've recently taken up fencing in the SCA as part of a challenge for Pennsic. I'd had this thought for an Ottoman style fencing jacket stuck in my head for a while now and thought it was time to make it happen. I've also really wanted to make a heraldic set of fighting garb...I did a little of both.
The kit minus Salwar (since I haven't finished them yet)

My goal in the future is to make a Janissary style hood instead of the typical SCA hood. 

While the fabric is a solid, and thus doesn't stand out as the sterotype of an Ottoman coat, I thought the appliqued estoiles added a much needed flair once the front is tucked up into my belt. This is not a perfect reproduction piece but is designed to keep the look of my persona while I'm in armor. I used an upholstery twill for the coat and lined it with white linen. Some sections of the coat have extra layers to meet requirements even though it passed a punch test without them. I hand appliqued the tree and estoile on the hood with metallic thread and machine appliqued the estoiles on the coat. The gomlek was a quickie designed to work with my kit, not to be perfectly accurate. 

Things I didn't make:

The buckler base was made by my friend Einnar and I made the leather cover and tacked it on. The white gloves were purchased from Tripplette years ago and I sewed up the wiring hole and added the blue waves. The beautiful Windy Kitty buttons that I won as a prize in an A&S competition in February. 
The mask...I'm not that awesome.

Some Design Notes:

I really tried to get the lines on the Ottoman coat straight. Most diagrams and references to period coats talk about how no lines were curved. I've looked over a ton of museum pictures and diagrams and while I mostly agree, that does not accommodate a curvy woman. The contradiction for me is that it is also referred to as a fitted coat and I've heard more than once say that at least the Chirka  was very tight. I don't know how every line could be perfectly straight and still match the curves of a body. I've played with a lot of patterning ideas over the years and I think I finally made a silly discovery that, at the least, tries to marry my conflicting information. My compromise is a "Raglan" style sleeve. A true raglan doesn't work, but angling the armhole in at the top helped a lot.
I'm showing the lining because you can see most of the seams on account of the blue serge thread.
My laziness created a great teaching tool! I had not serged the edges yet, so you may have a difficult time seeing the thin panels attached to the front edge of the coat...but they're there.
Here you can see the closeup with a little bit of extra indent on the main body panel to fit my torso better.
The body of the sleeve is cut in at an angle but the sleeves are cut straight with no additions.
Also my kitten is trying to help (because it wouldn't be a sewing blog without a helper cat).

In general I was not trying to make the coat too tight. It's for fencing so it needs to move with me and accommodate an under layer or two. But I have breasts that stick out and curves at the hips, damnit. The angle cut on the body at the arms made the whole thing fit better and the lines look straight while they are on my body! All in all, the design looks very similar to this Selim coat 

The sleeve body looks like it comes in at a slight angle...and there's hip curves on the fabric.
Now I'd like to stand on my soap box for a moment: On the argument as to whether there are curves or not I'd like to mention that 90% or more extant garments you can find (in museums and books) are Male royal garb and very little is listed accurately (a male coat is represented as female or the dating info is wrong). Some of this problem stems from the internet view of truth, and translation errors (among other issues like laziness or lack of education). I love the internet, but sometimes it makes good research harder than most people would think. It's also rather difficult for someone on a budget to really get the low-down...I can't just fly to Turkey and go to the Topkapi and fondle the seams and make a pattern now can I? One thing at a time...

Up next is my Heavy Combat coat, and it's built even weirder!

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