Fashion in the Age of Datini

Aketon Seams

A sample aketon seam on two layers of cheap linen cloth. The hems are finished in white thread so that the orange thread of the seam will be clearer. The seam is about 7 cm long.
Is the shoulder seam of this doublet an aketon seam? The stitch lines are not parallel to the seam. War of Troy Tapestry, Victoria and Albert Museum, Accession Number 6-1887, c/o Tom Biliter

Garments in the aketon / pourpoint / coat armour / doublet / jacket families are often made up as separate parts (arms, upper back, lower back, front left, front right) with all the layers attached to one another and all the seams finished. Then the pieces are sewed together with a whip-stitch. The whip-stitch just catches the edge of the fabric. I am pretty sure it is used on five European garments from the 13th to the 17th century:

Deux points sont utilisés pour réaliser l’assemblage des tissus et des différentes parties de la manche: le point devant (ou avant: “running stitch”) destiné à solidariser des épaisseurs de tissu sur leur longueur, et le point de surjet (“whip-stitch”) qui les réunit sur leur tranche. Aucune trace de point de surfilage n’a été observée alors que des bords à vif sont visibles, en particulier pour les épaisseurs de lin à l’intérieur de la manche dans la Partie A. La soie elle, présente des lisières de chaque côté de la manche

The outer fabric of the doublet is a silk long-haired velvet, cut off to form a striped design. The inner side is lined with raw hemp. It seems that all parts have been singly made and rounded off and then put together to form the garment; the tailor used a backstitch and oversewed using a hemp thread, leaving a tiny inner hem.

The garment is made of six panels (two in back, four in front) each of which is constructed from stacked layers of fustian, linen canvas, and raw cotton, and quilted through the entire stack using stab stitches with a heavy linen thread. It appears to have been constructed one panel at a time and then painted in parts, after which all panels were stitched together using whipstitches on the inside of the garment.

I am particularly interested in its construction. Each piece appears to have been made up and finished entirely separately, including the lining, and then it was lashed/whipped/stitched with a strong thread and careful technique.

Janet Arnold refers to this type of seam in doublets on page 126 of Patterns of Fashion.

Various parts of a doublet might be made up individually, raw edges on silk and lining turned in to face each other and then assembled with overhanding on neat, folded edges. Tailors may have evolved this method to give journeymen and apprentices small units to work on but it has the additional advantage of avoiding bulky seams. In other examples the seams were back-stitched and the turnings folded back over the interlining and hemmed down to keep them flat.

Her book is not meant for browsing but page 70 has a jerkin in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from around the year 1620 which she says is made this way (the LACMA now believes that M.63.49 was made for the stage in the 19th century from old fabric).

Laura Mellin of Extreme Costuming has seen this on 16th/17th century garments. She calls it “The Elizabethan Seam” Does anyone know how it is used in 16th/17th century tailoring?

Has anyone except Jess Finley and Tasha Kelly tried this technique out? An arming doublet in a recent Armour Archive thread used this technique on the sleeves.

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