Jessamyn's Regency Costume Companion: Florentine gentleman

The Trunk-hose.

November 14, 2005: Getting Started

All right! After a looooong break because David had no use for this outfit, I find that we'll be attending a Renaissance Christmas feast in mid-December. Yow! I feel a fire lighting under me...

My original concept was to do trunk-hose with canions, as sported by the gentleman at right (by Moroni, 1560; click for closeup). Trunk-hose are sometimes known (in English slang) as slops; they're the more-or-less poofy breeches that can be as short as the upper thigh or as long as the knee. The mid-century Florentine version generally end at mid-thigh or just above the knee, and are almost always paned. That is, the exterior consists of finished strips of fabric over a solid underlayer.

Canions are really just a sort of extended cuff to the trunk-hose. They look almost like a pair of tight-fitting, knee-length shorts worn under the trunk-hose, but at least according to Janet Arnold's pattern of an extant pair in Patterns of Fashion, they only exist from the bottom of the trunk-hose down to the knee. I like the look of the hose (stockings) pulled up over the top of the canions, and I think the canions will make these things warmer and more comfortable for my husband to wear.

Back when I purchased the red silk satin for the doublet, I also ordered a yard of 54" black silk taffeta for the inner part of the trunk-hose. It will be just enough. I also have a lovely black velvet from which to make the panes. (Found on a remnant table, it consists of about three yards, in the form of a one-yard piece and a two-yard piece. I expect to get the panes out of the one-yard piece, leaving the two-yard piece for the jerkin. Maybe I can get the hat out of it, too?) I realized, however, when working on the mockup and really coming to grips with what I was seeing in PoF, that I really need something for the panes to A) line them and B) edge them. Now lining's not so much of an issue - they won't show, practically any black material I have lying around will do - but the edging is another thing altogether.

Most of the extant examples seem to have raw edges to the velvet that are finished only by having cording laid up against them and overcast. Tons of work, and not very stable. This velvet sheds too much not to finish properly, anyway. Option Two is edging it with silk satin. Which means I need silk satin. Fortunately, I found some of that great satin-backed silk shantung that I used for the doublet, in black this time, for $10 a yard. I could certainly get the edgings out of one yard, but I've ordered two, again with the jerkin in mind. Anyway, I'm thinking that I'll encase the edges of the panes in strips of black satin, and probably snip the edges like I did to the doublet. You can see panes with this treatment in the ca.-1560 portrait below, of Don Gabriel, by Moroni; you can also see the interior silk peeping out between the panes (his is satin, mine will be taffeta).

So, with my plans sorted, it was time to start patterning. I'm basing this on the ca. 1562 trunk-hose of Don Garzia de'Medici and the canions of the c1600-05 Grimsthorpe & Drummond Castle Trust suit, both in PoF. I graphed out the trunk-hose lining almost exactly from the PoF version, figuring that since they were roughly the right size and are gathered at top and bottom, they'd at least be close. Here's my pattern. Note that my paper wasn't wide enough, but rather than bother to add 8" to the left side, I just wrote myself a note on that end of the pattern reminding me to indent the pattern that amount from the edge of the fabric.

It's a very confusing pattern as you're making it up, with peculiar seams running down the fronts and half of the crotch gaping open, but you just keep gathering and seaming and suddenly, poof! They look like they're supposed to. (Mind you, they look much better on David than on this female mannequin with no legs!)

There's that lovely pink muslin (an old sheet). The canion part is really just a wide strip that I stuck on experimentally to see how it would attach. The real ones will be longer, tapered, and fastened in the back, but I couldn't be bothered at this stage. Anyway, after trying them on David, I decided that I wanted the slops to be a bit longer. This is going to be constrained by my yard of taffeta - or rather, my 38" of taffeta, because they cut generously, bless 'em! Currently the slops are 17" deep, so if I split the 38" evenly they'll be 19" deep. I think this will be just enough.

Next I'll cut the velvet strips for the panes, which basically follow the same pattern but take slightly less width because there's a little extra taffeta to allow it to puff through the panes. And then I'll be at an impasse until my satin arrives.

December 6, 2005: Cutting Up

Silly me! I forgot that my velvet was only 44" wide, not 54" like the taffeta, so it was a squeeze to get the panes out of the not-quite-yard-sized piece of velvet I had allotted them. (See the cassock page for more info on the velvet.) In fact for the very last pane I had to choose to piece it or steal a strip from another piece of velvet I had. I chose the latter. Anyway, below are pics of most of the panes marked out on the width of velvet (the back side, of course), and then the cut pieces. For some reason, on the original the panes are not separate through the crotch. I presume this is either for comfort or so they'll lie better. I'm not about to second-guess 16th-century tailors, so I did it the same way.

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Copyright 2005 by David and Jessamyn Reeves-Brown. All rights reserved.