I've been meaning to write about this doublet for sometime, but it's taken me a while to gather any useful information. The pictures were helpfully supplied by Eluned Hallas of the Oxford Preservation Trust and the bulk of the text is cribbed from a book excitingly entitled 'Everyday Objects: Medieval and Early Modern Material Culture and its Meanings', edited by T Hamling and C Richardson.
This is a rare survival of a common person's doublet from just before our period that provides a wealth of useful evidence about the cloth and construction of a doublet from the early 17th century.
The Abingdon doublet was found in 1994 under the attic floorboards of 26a East St Helen's St Abingdon. It's crumpled and in pieces but there is still enough remaining that we can use as evidence of how common people's clothes were made, including the internal construction and the fabrics used. The size of the garment indicates that it was worn by a boy of about four or five years of age, and the quality of the fabric leads us to think that he came from a reasonably well to do family.
What remains is the collar, most of the left side, all of the left armhole and the top section of the left sleeve, including the wing and part of the back. There are also 4 remaining thread wrapped buttons and two metal loops attached to the lower edge of the back of the doublet, presumably for attaching to breeches. The two side seams are placed towards the back, the back is cut in one and the collar is cut separately. The cut is simple with deep armholes allowing ease of movement. There are no tabs below the waist. There's not enough sleeve left for a proper analysis, so there is no way to work out the length, but they do seem to have been cut in one piece rather than the more fashionable two.
As the doublet is in a fragmentary condition, it's possible to see the construction. Each piece of top fabric was mounted onto the interlining and tacked in place before the fabric was stitched together. Extra stiffening was used at the centre front as were small pieces of linen at the top of the sleeve head. The doublet was also fully lined. The collar is stiffened with thick paper or card, which indicates that they didn't generally wash doublets. The left side has 18 buttonholes worked closely together.
The doublet is made from brown wool on top, a 2.2 twill with 10 warps and wefts per 10mm and a napped surface, a plain weave linen interlining with 10 warps and 12 wefts per 10mm and an irregular twill union cloth lining, the kind of fabric known as fustian, with 14 linen warps and 10 wool wefts per 10mm. Although the wool is now brown in colour, analysis has suggested that is was originally dyed blue. I'm not sure how thick or thin this makes it, but the article writer seems to think it was made from broadcloth, possibly woven in the Abingdon area.
Detail on the left of the buttons and buttonholes. All pictures thanks to the Oxford Preservation Trust.