Draping Period Costumes
After roughly one hundred years of an extremely artificial silhouette, fashion began to deflate and, to some extent, soften. By the 1620s, ruffs had wilted, the waistline moved up, and breeches collapsed. The menâ€™s costume was softer and looser and had a greater feel of movement. The fabrics were less stiff. Among the aristocracy satins, velvets and brocades where still used. The patterns of the brocades were less symmetrical and more free formâ€” although most were still large in scale. A contemporary fabric option for this period can be found in the decorator section of any fabric store. Brocade drapery and upholstery fabrics without rubber backing work well. The rubber backing that you find on some decorator fabrics does not allow the fabric to breathe. This can cause unhealthy overheating and great discomfort to the wearer. When using a lighter weight or loosely woven fabric for a bodice or doublet, you will need to flat line your garment. For the lower classes, rough woolens and cottons were the norm. Some excellent painters to turn to for visual research are Van Dyck, Rubens, and Rembrandt in the earlier years of this period, and Vermeer and Terborch in the later part.
Draping an EarlySeventeenth-Century (Cavalier) Slashed Doublet with a Waist Seam In addition to losing their padding, the men of this period also lost a layer. The padded under layer disappeared, and they were left with only a relatively unstructured doublet to wear over their shirts.