Josť Cabrera de Castilla
(Ryan Davidson)

Shire of Dragonís Mist, Kingdom of An Tir
(Oregon USA)


A Milanese Outfit in the Style
 of  the 1560s

(Highlighted/bordered images are click-able for enlarging)

Josť Says....


I am a SCA-dian living in the shire of Dragonís Mist in An Tir (Beaverton, Oregon). Iíve been costuming since I first began playing in the SCA along with my wife, and I have slowly graduated into designing my own clothing. In addition to being a tailor, I also fight in armored (heavy) combat, play the recorder on occasion, and have taken a few stabs at some woodworking.

I have previously been showcased. Lorenzoís showcase immediately following mine demonstrated a far superior understanding of color and pattern and was part of the inspiration for me pushing myself to advance my skill and try a more complex outfit. I ended up taking that outfit apart and re-building it with a better doublet, a shirt with ruffles, more detail on the trunk hose and lacing to attach the doublet and hose.

The Concept

My initial desire to make this outfit sprang from a trip to Fabric Depot. We were looking through the home dťcor fabrics and happened upon a glorious gold-on-black floral pattern that I thought was as close as Iíd seen to being a period looking brocade. Immediately I realized that this would be a good basis for twelfth night garb, given that it is largely black, and I believe it is appropriate for a Spaniard (even a Spaniard living in Milan, as my persona does) to dress primarily in black for court functions.

I bought two yards of that fabric, estimating that it would be more than enough for a doublet or jerkin. Iíve done enough work before to be reasonably sure of that. And eventually it turned out that I was right.

Some time passed before I actually began working on that outfit. I accrued the other fabrics I would need: black cotton velvet came from a friend in the SCA who works for a company that makes stage curtains. They throw away whole yards of velvet that they cannot use. I used a beautiful gold fabric for the slashes between the panes of my trunk-hose that I special ordered some time prior without a project in mind.

Other fabrics like twill for lining and a black home dťcor fabric were purchased as I prepared to make this exact outfit, knowing what else I was using. I also had been hoarding a particular variety of ribbon trim that I knew would be perfect for something someday. I invested in a pack of 100 bola tips (to become aiglets) from Fire Mountain Gems and a twisted black-and-gold cord to be my lacing ties. A nice, cheap gold-tone guimpe and a bunch of packs of buttons completed the materials I needed.

The Jerkin

Foolishly, I constructed the jerkin first. I wish now that I had held off on making it until I had the doublet fit. They work together, but the fit isnít as nice as Iíd like it to be, and I believe this would have worked better if I had waited until I was done with the rest of the outfit to make the doublet.

Shoulder rolls are uncommon on menís clothing, compared to womenís where it appears to be fairly frequent in a variety of different styles and methods across the mid-16th century. So I resolved that I would at least prove that men did occasionally have small shoulder rolls and then just not over-design the ones on my jerkin. To that end, I did some research and found rolls on German and Italian garments.

I made small crescent-shaped pieces of velvet and sewed them together on their outer edges, sewed on the guimpe, then sewed them mostly closed and stuffed them, then finished sewing them closed. These still had a raw edge on the inside of the crescent, and I set them aside until I was done with the rest of the body.

Making the body was fairly quick. I had already figured out the way I wanted to lay out the trim, dividing the patterned fabric from the velvet, with the bright gold standing out from the flat black of the velvet. I found it helpful to just make the patterns for this garment in a two pieces (front/side and back) and then fold the pattern where the exterior would switch fabrics.

With all of this done, I sewed it all closed around the front, enclosing the collar piece in the seam. I made the tabs for the waist very long so that it would cover the ones on the doublet completely, and also so that it would transition over the trunk hose nicely. I had already decided that the hose would be very puffed. After sewing on more guimpe to velvet and then sewing on the lining, I pinned in the tabs and sewed them to the outside of the jerkin, but not to the inside.

This is the first project where I made sure that the final seams were all hand-stitched. I closed the waist lining down to the tabs by hand, and then sewed the shoulder rolls into the armscyes by hand as well.

I actually set the jerkin aside at this point because I didnít have buttons for it yet. I was also leery of making buttonholes, most of which would be faux holes anyway since the design was for this garment to button only at the bottom and lay open on the chest, exposing the buttons and trim of the doublet.


The Doublet

There isnít a great deal to tell about this doublet. It is patterned to fit me in the body as well as Iíve been able to make it. The only comment I realty need to make is that Iíve had to slowly learn to increase the length of my sleeves every time I make a doublet. This doublet is the second-to-last Iíve made (at time of writing), and the arm movement is just a little restrictive.

However, this also marks the first time I tried a period doublet cut; the back of the neck rises straight off of the back piece (Alcegaís Pattern Book shows a lot of examples of it), and the front of the collar on each side is separate. I found that this construction follows the natural curvature of my neck, chest and back quite well and is, I must assume, why they did it that way.

I made the tabs on the doublet much shorter than the jerkin, but long enough that they would cover the transition to the trunk hose. I hand-sewed the lining around the bottom and the insides of the sleeves. I also knew that I wanted this outfit to begin a trend in my outfits: faithfulness to actual design elements of period clothing. In prior outfits my trunk hose would always start to sag after a while. So I resolved to actually make lacing points on this outfit.

On the doublet, this required buttonhole stitches all around the bottom, which I then sewed back together in the middle. Rather than making two holes for each lace, I did one and then closed it in the middle to make two openings for the laces to poke through.

Buttons and buttonholes went on, and it was done.

The Trunk-Hose

These took a lot of planning. But I also knew that I wanted them to puff out, and I was able to do that effectively by not over-designing them.

The panes are a repetition of the guimpe-on-velvet motif of the jerkin. The codpiece also continued this motif and was meant to draw the eye, in true period style. It certainly does gather quite a lot of attention. But no, it doesnít have a squeak toy in it. My wife would either kill me or follow me around squeaking it all the time.

The padding of the trunk hose deserves some explanation. I wanted them to maintain their shape without a lot of tugging and fixing, so I used a synthetic stuffing. Handfuls of this were pushed into pleated pockets of batting that were affixed down to the lining. Each side of the hose has eight pockets of stuffing, and with the waist and the leg pinching the gold slash fabric, it creates just the right round shape.

Iím proud of the hidden pockets. These have come in handy on more than a few occasions for carrying money, keys, and other small possessions, but they are actually quite spacious and I can make a bottle of water disappear into them if necessary. Despite what you may think, pockets in hose were period, with Janet Arnold having a good example that is just at the edge of period.


Once the waist was attached to the legs (and hand-sewn down along the insideóI canít express how much better this makes the finished product to me) I marked the places on the waist where the ties would need to go. I cut fifteen lengths of cord and put aiglets on either end of them. Then I attached them so that each had one short and one long side with the middle being the point of attachment. When tied in a slipknot, this creates the appropriate one-loop-up-two-cords-hanging-down effect.

Sadly, if I wear the jerkin over the doublet and trunk hose, you canít even see these laces. But they are there, dang it. And they keep the trunk-hose up admirably. Sometimes I even wear the outfit without the jerkin so that they are visible.


The shoes came from a website that sells ďmenís renaissance shoes.Ē They were cheap at $25.

The hosen are a cotton-lycra blend and follow a pattern we bought from Seamlyne just before they went out of business. Comfy, incredibly easy to serge together, and they look pretty dang period from any distance unless you reach out and pull on them to see that they are stretchy.

The ruff comes from the Renaissance Tailor. Not much to add except to say that I have whip-stitched it to my shirt to keep it from shifting all around loosely on my wrists and neck while being worn. (I highly recommend this, as it makes the ruff and cuffs seem like part of a garment and prevents unpleasant gaps of skin between them and the rest of your outfit.)

The hat is made from the same black velvet and the same cord as used on the trunk hose. The lining is a green satin left over from a project of my wifeís. The copper decoration may seem incongruous, but it is there for two reasons: first, it is the first award Iíve ever been given (the Dragonís Scale is an award given by the people of Dragonís Mist); second, I am waiting to get a hold of a nice pheasant feather or three to glue to it which I believe will make it fit in better with the rest of the outfit.



  You can contact Josť at Malkom1366 (at)

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© 2001 - 2009 Anabella Wake (Known in the SCA as Bella Lucia da Verona) I hold copyright on all information on these pages, and on all images of clothing/costume that I have made. You are allowed to make one facsimile copy for your own use provided that this notice is included on each page. Please ask permission to copy, disseminate and/or distribute my work - I would like to know when and how you are finding this information of use.