Thursday, April 21, 2016

When good clothing goes bad.

 I'm having a moment of serious anger at myself with this one. Nothing seems to be going how I want with this particular clothing item and it may end up in a time out. This is supposed to be the back of a leather jerkin based on this extant one in the Museum of London   See how beautifully subtle that is? I can't tell if the lines are tooled or branded, but they stand out nicely from the background. And the holes are shaped punches.  I bought some shaped punches in stars, hearts, diamonds, teardrops, and a dozenish other shapes.

First thing I did was cut out my doublet shape and take a ruler to it.  I drew the lines in with a pencil. That seemed to go reasonably well and I was impressed. Then, I took a soldering iron and went over the lines. When I finished that and touched it I was still reasonably happy. Then I let it sit for a bit.

And this is when the project turned. I pulled out the punches and realized that they were not even moderately sharp. Fifteen or so hits with a mallet and it kinda sorta went through. So, okay, sharpen them. I pulled out jewelers rouge and a hone and I thought I had it in hand. That didn't go as well as would be hoped. They were better, but still not working well enough to be a possibility for the hundreds of holes that needed to be made.

I do, however, have a Craftool Hand Press from Tandy Leather that I got awhile back to put round holes in my lamellar armor after yelling at how hard it was to do that many holes in that many plates. And I paid a lot of money for the convenience. So I figured that was a good solution. No stars or hears or diamonds, but there would be holes.

So I punched bunches of holes in the jerkin. At which point I determined that the soldering iron lines just weren't showing up well. Its a result of using grey leather, but it is the right color heraldically and I got a killer deal ($15 a hide, which meant I only had to spend $45 on leather for this, this making it a possibility at all.)  So I figured gilding leather is a reasonable thing. Paint brush came out. There are some grooves there due to the soldering iron and the paint was catching them reasonably well. Not great and I wasn't totally sold, but it wasn't going to come off so I kept going. And then I painted the diamonds up top. And I hated them. So then I pulled out the black to fix it a bit. Yeah. That's where FAIL! happened.  But I kept going, because there didn't seem to be an option. Sigh.

Maybe I can sand it off. . .


  1. So, I guess my question is, do you hate it because the lines are human-made and wobbly, or because it is to busy? (Or even some other reason?) I think the black, gold and grey is lovely but the purple underneath is just too much. Maybe try laying it out on a lighter fabric to test out the effect of a lined jerkin? Right now the lines and the holes are fighting, but if you tone down the holes I think the lines could really shine!

    And I mean that in the best possible way. ;)

  2. The wobbly bothers me, but mostly it is the giant ugh of the top. I didn't want it to be that much. There should have been some subtle texture detailing not a painted collar. The purple was the original plan and there shouldn't have been any gold on this, but now that the gold is there you are right, I need to ditch the purple. It'll be worn over a black doublet and technically the jerkin is probably thick enough it doesn't need a liner. I just hate to dump it because his device is purple and ermine and without the purple lining in the jerkin, there's no purple in the outfit. It is just black, silver, and this bit of gold. I think that's what bothers me most, the gold has now become a large part of things and it was never supposed to be a part at all. And now it has seized control due to an accident.

  3. Could you reverse the leather and do it suede side out? That would get you back to a nearly blank slate. Or if the collar piece is the worst part do you have enough leather left to replace that section?

  4. I have 2 more hides, so I could completely recut, or I could flip it (and line it to cover.) I'm not so sure about cutting the collar off because of how the lines curve in and the shape I'd need to cut and stitch into place. I've only got a week to finish the whole project, so I can't let it sit too long, but I'm going to let it rest a bit while I stop freaking out a bit and decide what the best solution is. There are several options. I just lose a lot of time.

  5. Use a drill to make your holes precise!

    1. A drill has nothing on the die punch. It is a clean nice hole. If they are off in placement it is my fault, not the tool. I wish they were star shaped, but they are nice round holes. When I've used a drill they tend to be a bit fuzzy. Hence my purchase of the press.

  6. It's going to be stunning when it is finally finished, but this set back is no good. :(