The Story of the Doublet
In November of 2004 I was thinking about a cool gift that I could make myself for my honey and wife Galen Brandt who was away in the east. At Burning Man in the summer I had vowed to start doing more creative projects (hey, being at a computer keyboard all day is not creative you may ask?). As a result of a fit of really clear but really weird vision (as often happens at Burning Man) I bought and moved a strange old hippie bus onto our property at Ancient Oaks Farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains to be the "art bus" studio (and why not?).
I now wanted to innaugurate its status as a real art bus by creating some art (cave man nerd says.. CREE-ATE ART!) in it. Galen and I had just that summer had our hair enhanced with weird colorful artificial extensions and I thought that a nice scrunchie with fancy dangling fabrics or ribbon would make a great addition to her hair (and mine too). I bought the materials for the scrunchie at Hart's Fabric in Santa Cruz and noticed a sign for a "sewing class". Thinking this would teach me how to use a needle and thread I signed up. I made the scrunchie in the NoFurthur art bus and sent it to Galen (who was... surprised and delighted) so felt encouraged.
Upon arriving at Hart's for my first class, the teacher, Jill of Heartgallery, said "where is your sewing machine"? I knew at that moment I was in for more than just a needle. She then said "pick a project from this catalogue" and looking at me "... so you want to make a costume?". Jill had been teaching for 25 years and probably had a few ideas of why a nerd guy like me would want to take a class (Renaissance Faire anyone?). So I put my finger on the first cool thing I saw, a Renaissance doublet, with all the trimmings, and Jill didn't blink and said, "OK, we have that pattern, lets get your materials, you can start cutting"!
Two classes later I realized what a complex project I had selected (Jill didn't blink, remember?) but I plowed along, coming to Harts early, leaving late and continuing work on my brand new Bernina 1008 in the NoFurthur art bus studio. The last two weeks was a marathon getting the trim, the clasps, the jewelry, the lining (can anyone guess why these garments cost hundreds of dollars or more?) and getting it all on, with the Bernina doing double time getting over the sometimes 8 layers of upholstery fabric. Two visits to the bus from Jill and three broken needles and 10 hours of hand stitching later, the doublet was done, just in time for Christmas. It traveled with Galen and me back east to New Jersey and New York and served as a great conversation piece during holiday events there.
Whats next? The "cyber" version of the doublet, and we are talking way cool modern materials housing your cool gadgets in a new form of urban wearable. This idea of a cyber garment was inspired by conversations with Daria Dorosh, Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in the heart of New York City's Garment District. Daria says "no-one is doing it, making wearables cool" so here we go...
Enough jabbering for now, here are some photo galleries of the Renaissance doublet project about 2/3 of the way through as the final garment came together...
Contact me if you want to get on the bus!