Overskirt

Time taken: 7 hours
Materials: Charcoal linen, gold acetate satin, red drill fabric, thread, waxed linen heavy thread, 810 cap 10mm and 12mm shank rivets, 1.2mm leather in 20mm strips, 20mm buckle
Tools: Pins, sewing machine, ironing board and iron, sewing awl, mallet, hole punch, rivet setter and anvil.
Techniques: Sewing, leatherwork, riveting.
Difficulty level: Pretty easy apart from handling that goddamn acetate satin!

This is the reference pic I used:

You can see that the overskirt seems to be attached to the inner, higher piece of waist armour. It has gold piping and those golden flame things in the corners. My back view tells me they are also on the back.

So first, I needed to cut a bunch of strips of acetate on the bias, then press and pin them around the edges.

For the second stripe across the bottom, I sewed the acetate into a tube and turned it right-way-out, then pressed and pinned it into place. For the edges, I pinned one side, sewed it in place, then pressed and folded it around the edge of the charcoal fabric and pinned/sewed a second time.

To make the wee flame things, I made a cardboard template and cut 8 pieces, then sewed them together inside out:

These were turned the right way out and pinned in place, then sewn around the edges.

To attach them to their armour pieces, I used the leather sewing awl (speedy stitcher), and did a double row of stitching where they join:

To hold this piece on, I added a leather strip at the back and a buckle at the front, riveted on.

Next, I added a belt to hold the outer tassets which were made in this tutorial here, and after that the only remaining part was the sash. This was a simple matter of cutting a 4m length of the red drill fabric. Well, actually it was 2 x 2m lengths, sewn together. I cut them 12cm wide, and hemmed the edges to end up with long strip about 8cm wide.

And then, the moment of truth! I apologise for the quality of the pics here, especially the somewhat crooked back view. They were taken mainly to show how the armour hangs and are not my best work.

Note here: this means of attaching armour would work well for women, who tend to have hips which give you something to hang belts off. For men, who tend to be straight through the hips, using belts isn’t ideal. The weight of the tassets and overskirt armour pulls it all downwards and because it sits over the tapered lower section of the breastplate, there’s a tendency to slide downwards. You can see in the pics that it’s all sitting lower than it should. My model said he felt as if the tassets might slide off if he jumped up and down.

I will address this by adding loops to the breastplate for the armour to hang off. This should prevent it from descending too far. I will also add a means of attaching the tasset part to the overskirt part so they stay together and in place. I may even rivet them together for extra security. However, we can pretty much call this job done now.

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