16th Century

Late period doublet for a 5-year-old

Grey linen lined in light tan linen doublet sized for a 5-year-old started March 9, 2019. Finished March 20, 2019.

In order to be a “properly dressed little boy” my son will need a doublet. This will be used both to cover his under shirt and to point his breeches to keep them from falling down. The doublet I’m making will be linen lined in linen. It will have short skirting, a short standing collar, and long sleeves but it will not have wings over the sleeves. The doublet will button down the center front and will include a hidden lacing strip for pointing his breeches/hose to the doublet.

I’m using the Gorinchem boy’s doublet from “The Tudor Child” (pp. 83-94). In general I liked the pattern. In specific I found the body pieces needed a lot of fitting. In reviewing the steps laid out in the book I didn’t like the methods they used so I followed something more aligned with the methods laid out in “The Modern Maker vol 1.

In general I love this piece. It went together well and had very few “weirdnesses”. In specific I need to adjust the width of the side skirt piece and move a bit (1/2″) to the back skirt piece so that the skirt seam and the side seams line up. I don’t think it’s strictly required but it would please me.
The sleeves ended up a bit too tight. He could squeeze his hand through the opening before I added the button/loop but it was a very close thing. I’ll re-draft my sleeve pattern and add about an inch to that overall width.

I used 1 yard of asphalt IL019 as the fashion fabric, 1 yard of sand shell IL019 as the lining, a 2 inch wide strip of bleached white 4C22 for the lacing strip, and less than 1/2 a yard of the same for the interlining (in the skirt and collar). Everything came from my stash but it was originally purchased from Fabric-store.com. I ended up using white cotton thread throughout. Total cost would be somewhere around $25 US for materials.

All told there’s ~12 days of work in this. On average this is work from 8 pm (when my son goes to bed) to 11 pm (when I go to bed) and on a few days there wasn’t a whole lot of work on those days. So at most I’d say this took ~36 hours of work. It was probably half hand work and half machine sewn. If I charged $10/hr that would put this at about $385 US total.


  • (done) Create pattern, and mockup. Adjust pattern to fit child.
  • (done) Cut out pattern pieces in fashion fabric and lining.
  • (done) Cut out doublet skirt and collar in interlining.
  • (done) Cut out 2″ wide lacing strip and fold it in half and iron it.
  • (done) baste the interlining to the wrong side of the fashion fabric in the seam allowance of the collar and skirt pieces.
  • (done) Stitch the two pieces of the collar fashion fabric together into an arc. prick stitch the seam open. Do the same to the lining.
  • (done) Stitch the two pieces of the back skirt together into an arc.
    prick stitch the seam open. Do the same to the lining.
  • (done) Stitch the fashion fabric for the front skirt pieces to the back skirt pieces. prick stitch the seam open. Do the same to the lining.
  • (done) With right sides together, sew the collar fashion fabric and lining together on three sides leaving the body side unsewn. Clip the corners. Flip collar arc so the right sides are on the outside and iron flat. baste the last side closed in the seam allowance.
  • (done) With right sides together, sew the doublet skirting fashion fabric arc to the lining fabric arc around the outside edge leaving the body side unsewn. Clip the corners. Flip doublet skirting arc so the right sides are on the outside and iron flat. baste the last side closed in the seam allowance.
  • (optional) If you’re adding reinforcement behind the buttons/button holes, add it to the interlining now. I decided against this since I did not have an interlining in the body portion to attach the reinforcement and I didn’t want to bother. If I notice excessive wear on the buttons/button holes I may retrofit this or add this to future doublets. In this case I left about 1.5″ of excess on the center front of the doublet fashion fabric and lining. I’ll fold that under and use this loose seam allowance to reinforce the button/button hole area.
  • (done) Sew body fashion fabric side and shoulder seams. prick stitch the seam open. Do the same to the lining.
  • (done) For each sleeve (making sure you sew one right sleeve and one left sleeve). Sew the fashion fabric to the lining at the wrist. Then open this up and fold the sleeve in half lengthwise. Sew the fashion fabric and lining into a tube. prick stitch the seam along the length of the sleeve on both the fashion fabric and the lining. Fold the lining fabric so that it is inside the fashion fabric with all raw edges enclosed. Pin the armseye of the fashion fabric and lining fabric together. baste the last side closed in the seam allowance. (see pictures)
  • (done) Cut the lacing strip to match the length of the doublet skirt. Turn the ends under and finish the ends. Add pointing eyelets in pairs to lacing strip (total 9 pairs of eyelets)(refer to the drawing on p. 94 of “The Tudor Child” for the placement).
  • (done) Stack the doublet fashion fabric with right side up, and collar piece with lining side up. Sew a seam to connect the collar to the doublet body. Note that the seam allowance of the doublet center front should extend past the ends of the collar piece. Iron the seam so that the seam allowance extends into the body of the doublet.
  • (done) Stack the doublet right side up, doublet skirting arc with the linen side up and the lacing strip. Sew a seam to connect the doublet body to the doublet skirting arc (fashion and lining) and the lacing strip. Note that the seam allowance of the doublet center front should extend past the ends of the doublet skirting. Iron the seam so that the seam allowance extends into the body of the doublet.
  • (done) For each sleeve, attach the sleeve pieces to the fashion fabric of the body. Iron the seam so that the seam allowance extends into the body of the doublet.
  • (done) Fold body lining seam allowance under on all sides and iron (or finger press) a crease.
  • (done) Lay body lining and body fashion fabrics wrong side together.
  • (done) Sew (slip stitch) lining fabric into the body of the doublet. The sleeve and skirt sleeve allowance should be enclosed inside the body of the garment.
  • (done) Add buttons to the front opening and wrists.
  • (done) Add button holes to the front opening.
  • (done) Add loops to the wrists.


I drew out the pattern from the book. Then I realized it wanted me to add seam allowance to the patterns from the book and figured out I hadn’t left enough space between the pattern pieces to add the suggested seam allowance. Cut out all the pattern pieces.

I laid out the pattern pieces and added the required seam allowance. Then I took these new pattern pieces and cut out a mockup from some scrap muslin.

Sewed the body portion of the mockup together and tried it on the child. That was the most challenging fitting I’ve ever done. It turns out five-year-olds are very wiggly. Regardless I got the pattern adjusted. I ended up adjusting the slope at the top of the sleeves, the arm openings and the curve of the neck opening. I then transferred these changes back to the paper pattern

I finished the adjustments to the body mockup and attached the doublet skirt onto the body. Then I finished the final fitting on the child. I was right, cartoons make this very much easier. I ironed all of my fabric, laid out my pattern pieces and cut out the fashion fabric, lining, interlining and lacing strip.
Of course when I was laying out the pattern pieces I neglected to place the back skirt portion on a fold. I’d already traced all the pieces and I didn’t feel like moving it so instead I added 1/2″ seam allowance to allow me to sew it together. Next time I need to sort out all of the pieces which are laid out on a fold before I start laying out the pattern pieces.

I don’t feel like running to the store to buy matching thread so I’m going to use white thread. The only place it should really show is in the prick stitching and in the button holes.
I re-cut out the interlining with seam allowance. The book says to cut these pieces out without seam allowance but then is not real clear about how to attach the pieces the the garment. I mulled this over for a while and decided that I liked it better if the interlining had seam allowance so I could use that area to attach the interlining to the fashion fabric. I started basting the interlining into the collar and doublet skirt pieces.

Finished basting interlining into the collar and the doublet skirt.
Sewed fashion and lining for the collar and back skirt together. Prick stitched all the seams open. Pinned the rest of the skirt together.

Finished sewing and pricking the skirt. Sewed the fashion fabric and lining of the collar and skirt together. Clipped the corners, flipped it and ironed it. The collar and skirt pieces are now complete.
Pinned the body fashion fabric together. After working with interlined pieces the single layer of linen feels impossibly insubstantial.

Stitched up the fashion fabric of the body and prick stitched the seams. Sewed up the lining as well. Then did the same to the sleeves. Prick stitching itty bitty sleeves is a PITA. I need to add eyelets to the lacing strip and then I’ll be ready to assemble the doublet pieces.

I had my son try on a finished sleeve and found that I’d gotten the wrist opening a bit narrow. He could get it hand through it, but it was a tight fit. I will split this one open at the wrist and add a loop/button and adjust my pattern to be a bit wider for any future sleeves.

I then added all the eyelets to the lacing strip. I used Voodoo magic with Eyelets just like the video I posted and did them by machine. That went splendidly fast. I also attempted to add eyelets to the top of my son’s breeches but it turns out the voodoo magic doesn’t work so well with that many layers of fabric. I’ll have to finish those eyelets by hand.

I folded in the excess seam allowance I’d left on the center front of the doublet (1.5″) and then eased the collar into the double neck opening.

Lastly I opened both of the wrist ends on the sleeves and finished one of them by hand.

I finished the second wrist, pinned the lining into the body and started attaching the lining with a slip stitch. I’m halfway around the outside edge and still need to do the arm holes. I do think next time I need to add a bit more ease into the lining so that it’s not pulling on the fashion fabric. I’ll have to review what the Modern Maker suggested in vol 1. That said this thing is pretty gorgeous (I’d call it sexy except that it feels wrong to call my son’s clothes sexy). I’m very happy with the way it’s coming out.

I finished stitching around the body and then stitched around the lining of the sleeves as well.
Since I had so much problem adding eyelets to the breeches and haven’t had time to finish these by hand (and I was wary of trying to point pants for my 5-year-old) I’m going to have him wear suspenders under his doublet to hold up his pants for this weekend and I’ll hand finish the breeches eyelets at a later time.

I had my son try on the whole outfit (except for the hat) and confirmed button placement. I’ll do one button on the collar, one just above the skirt and 3 more equi-spaced in between.
Tonight after he went to bed I finished all the buttons, button holes and loops on the wrists. I used my sewing machine to make the button holes.
Tomorrow, action shots.

Have you ever tried to get a 5-year-old to stand still, smile and look at the camera all at the same time? Uh-huh.

For now I’ve used suspenders to hold up the breeches. After this weekend I’ll go back and add eyelets by hand to the breeches so I can point them to the doublet.
In looking at this I think the pattern needs a bit of adjustment. I think the armseye on the back is inset a little bit far and it looks like I could bring the neck up a bit closer to his neck. Regardless, this works for me.

Final note: At Purgatorio in late August of 2019 I gifted this doublet to a friend whose son is the same age as my son but is of a slighter build.


Gnagy, Mathew. The Modern Maker Vol. 1: Men’s Doublets. Charleston SC: Printed by creativespace.com, 2014. Print.
Gnagy, Mathew. The Modern Maker Vol. 2: Pattern Manual 1580-1640: Men’s and women’s drafts from the late 16th through mid 17th centuries. . Charleston SC: Printed by creativespace.com, 2018. Print.
Huggett, Jane, Ninya Mikhaila. The Tudor Child: Clothing and Culture 1485 to 1625. Lightwater UK: Fat Goose Press, 2013. Print.


When I sew I tend to have something on TV in the background. I’ve decided it amuses me to record what I watched with the item.

Dead in a week (or your money back) – (Netflix) A-
Dark comedy about suicide, assisted suicide, assassins and needlepoint. Interesting.. dark.. and very very British.
After Life – (Netflix) B
Dark comedy about death. Very British. Yeah. I’ve got a theme. I watched the first show of the series. It didn’t quite catch me. I may go back to it.
Interview with God – (Netflix) B-
“Your life is not an audition for the afterlife.” I wanted this to be more though provoking. It felt like the author gave up on teaching theology just as they were getting to the juicy parts and instead made it a relationship drama. Even then.. I’m not entire sure what was going on in that relationship. Meh.
Tidelands – (Netflix) D
I wanted this to be better. I watched the first two shows and can barely tell you the name of the main character and her brother. I’m really not entirely sure what it’s about. Merpeople who aren’t very secret about it.. and deal in drugs(?). Idaknow. The random naked people weren’t enough to offset the complete lack of point.
What Still Remains – (Netflix) C
After the loss of her family, a young woman struggles to survive in a world long-since destroyed by disease. It’s the end of the world and the blacksmith’s daughter is a precious commodity. The best line is “God doesn’t choose sides.” Other than that.. kinda meh.
Transcendence – (Netflix) B
A scientist’s drive for artificial intelligence, takes on dangerous implications when his consciousness is uploaded into one such program. It’s the end of the electronic world.. and good intentions look just like scary AI. I wanted this to be more thought provoking. It kind of is.. but mostly because I’m thinking about it. The movie on its own did not really guide the way into deeper considerations.
The Humanity Bureau – (Netflix) C
A dystopian thriller set in the year 2030 that sees the world in a permanent state of economic recession and facing serious environmental problems as a result of global warming. It’s the end of the world.. and Nick Cage has a spiffy phone. I think this movie might be a statement about wealth inequality. Not sure. It kind of dragged and the characters weren’t terribly well developed.
Into the Forest – (Netflix) B
After a massive power outage, two sisters learn to survive on their own in their isolated woodland. Interesting think piece that never really answered why this happened. It explored a lot of dimensions of feminine weakness but never really got to a place of strength. I’m left not entirely convinced they’re going to make it.
The Time Machine (2002) – (Amazon) B
Hoping to alter the events of the past, a 19th century inventor instead travels 800,000 years into the future, where he finds humankind divided into two warring races. I almost wish I hadn’t seen the version from the 1960s. The knowing sucked away some of the possible wonder.

2 thoughts on “Late period doublet for a 5-year-old

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.