Tag Archives: construction

Hooks and Eyes: A better way

I have been super busy as of late and so it’s been a long while since I’ve posted.  I am working on a much longer patterning and construction post, but in the meantime, I thought I could do a quickie post.  Something that I have seen a lot of lately is the application of hooks and eyes on the outside of the lining fabric.  I did it myself that way for a long time, but there is a cleaner way to do it…and it is period.

Here is a picture of the way I used to apply hooks and eyes.  As wp-1461291526697.jpgyou can see, I threw them on after I had already applied the lining.  While this is a perfectly acceptable and functional option, one day I happened across a picture in Patterns of Fashion (Janet Arnold, PoF 1, ill. 368 and 369, pg. 51) that shows a much cleaner way of integrating the closures into the garment.  I had recognized the technique as one that is used in modern couture clothing construction, so I got really excited when I realized that it went back as far as at least the PoF garment.  Since then, I’ve used this method on my own garb.  Following are the steps I use to recreate the look.

Step one:

wp-1461290854911.jpgThe  hooks and eyes are sewn onto the garment after the interfacing and reinforcement have been applied up to the center front.  These closures go in as the last step before the lining is applied, so make sure all the other edges have been finished.  They will be applied to the seam allowance before it is folded over and stitched down.  I am using modern purchased hooks and eyes here.  Place the hooks and eyes facing the Center Front fold (on the picture it is marked with the white stitching) and stitch them down.  The hooks are stitched through the two bottom loops and at the top of the hook.  The eyes are also stitched through the bottom two looks, as well as at top sides of the large loop.

Step Two:

Fold over the seam allowance at the center front and stitch the edge wp-1461290814195.jpgto the interfacing  using a catchstitch, fell stitch or whipstitch.  Since this is outerwear, the front closure isn’t going to be under much strain, so I decided to use a catchstitch.  If this is for a self supporting dress, or will be under pressure, a whipstitch or even a running stitch or prickstitch would be more appropriate.

Step Three:

Nwp-1461290825063.jpgow you will apply your lining.  Fold over the edge and slip it under the hook and stitch it down.  I prefer to use a fell stitch when putting in my linings.  I really like the way it looks and it is documentable as a period imag1014.jpgmethod .  Repeat with the eyes by placing the fold of the lining over the bottom loops of the eyes.  But, don’t go over the loop or you won’t be able to close it.

And that’s it.  It makes for a very clean and lovely finish that you can show off to all your friends.  I hope to see more people using this method.

Dress Diary: Building a German Working Class Dress 1580-1600

Nurmeburg 1586 Large  Adelheit German Working Class 1580

Adelheit German Working Class 1580 2   Adelheit German Working Class 1580 3

The Bodice:

The bodice was drafted using the shapes of my current pair of bodies because it fits well and is from the correct time frame.  I made a few changes to make it more appropriate: removed the tabs, raised the neckline and changed the angles of the straps.

Once that was done, I cut out one layer of linen canvas for the interlining, one layer of linen canvas for the lining, one layer of the orange medium weight linen for the fashion fabric, green linen for the guards and yellow linen for the guard piping.

I have been wanting to try out padstitching the layers of the bodice to see what effect they have in regards to stiffening the bodice.

Bodice Back: Padstitching on half only, see how it changes the drape of the fabric.

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Bodice Front Half: The padstitching is smaller and tighter as it rounds closer to the front area in order to give more stiffness.

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The bodice pieces are basted together and sewn on to see how the padstitching is working out.  In the following pictures, the left side is padded and the right side is not.  It seems that it is helping to smooth out the wrinkles at least a bit.  The waist is still a bit long in these pictures as well, so shortening it to my natural waist will help remove more wrinkles.

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Once the bodice was finished being padstiched, I sewed the lacing rings to the interlining layer and finished the edge by catch stitching the edge back to the layer.

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I added a small strip of the canvas to the inside of the outer fabric to add additional stiffening and to alleviate some of the pulling that happens with the tension of the lacing rings.  The strip was first basted to the  edge of the fabric, then folded back and sewn into place.

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The interlining/lining layer was then placed within the lines of the fashion fabric and the edges of the outer layer were double folded over the inner layer and stitched down with a fell stitch.  I attached the side and shoulder seams by placing the right sides together and using a flat fell seam finish.  Finally I attached the guards.

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The Skirt:

The skirt was drafted using a gored method based on the Alcega Tailoring book drafts.  I used a two to one ratio for the waist as I have found that it allows enough to do knife pleats without adding too much fullness. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures…but I do plan on doing a post all about patterning skirts in the near future.  I did not line it because I wanted to keep this lightweight and cool.  It was stitched together by placing the right sides together, and sewn using a smallish running stitch.  The seam allowances were finished by folding over and secured with a whip stitch.  The hem was then done using my padded hem method detailed Here.

The guards were cut out as bias strips.  The green was cut as a four inch strip and the yellow was a 1.5 inch strip.  The yellow was folded in half, pressed and then sewn to each edge of the green.  Then I pressed it into a curve before applying it to the skirt.  I stitched it down in the seam line using a small fell stitch. Finally, the skirt top edge was finished by double folding and then attached to the bodice with a whip stitch.

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Project: A fabulous smocked shirt for Adelheit

So, before I had to put everything else away in order to focus on my Pentathlon projects (the big A&S competition in Caid), I had started working on a new smocked shirt.  I hadn’t gotten to far, so I am going to document my progress here.

First, a little background is necessary.  To put it simply, Smocking is a manipulation technique where the fabric is gathered and held in place with stitches.  The term itself doesn’t show up until the 19th century. Some argue that the form of smocking that we see in the sixteenth century should be termed pleatwork embroidery since the term smocking covers some techniques that cannot be documented to period.  While it does do a better job of describing the technique, I believe that the term smocking speaks to a larger audience…and it’s a lot shorter.  So, for the sake of understanding and brevity, I choose to used the term smocking.
INSPIRATION
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A review of artwork from the period shows that smocking was very popular in all regions of Germany for a good portion of the sixteenth century.  It can be seen on shirt collars and cuffs as well as the chest area of women’s hemd’s.  The embroidery was usually done with wool or silk thread in white, black, gold, or silver.

The hemd I am making is meant to go with a dress that is based on an illustration of a woman from the Saxon region found in Das Sächsische Stammbuch’ [subtitled as:] ‘Sammlung von Bildnissen sächsischer Fürsten, mit gereimtem Text; aus der Zeit von 1500 – 1546 which is a manuscript with portrait style illustrations, coats of arms and calligraphic rhyming text of the important people of Saxony.  Illustrated by Lucas Cranach and dated to 1546, Stammbuch literally (at least according to google) translates to Stud book and was a listing of important leaders in a region and their family tree.
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The illustration that captured my interest is [195]-95 which is of Hertzog Heinrich and Katerina.  The text is [194]-94.  I would like to translate the text at some point to confirm, but upon preliminary investigations, I believe that this is portraying Catherine Mecklenburg, wife of Duke Henry the Pious (Henry IV) of Saxony.

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Typically, when I am researching a garment that I plan to construct, I do all that I can to stay within the specific region and in a 10 year time frame of the inspiration artwork. I was able to find two additional images relatively quickly, but because many of the portraits from Saxony depict women of the court, the collar is the shirt is obscured by the gold collar necklace. However, these images do serve to show that the collars are pleated and do have surface decoration of some type. The one that interests me the most is the one in the top right corner. More about the decorative details later.

CONSTRUCTION
There are a number of ways to construct a hemd/chemise/shift, but for smocking, I have a preference to a specific type of construction. Luckily, another blogger Katafalk has an incredible tutorial detailing the same method I use. So, insread of re-inventing the wheel, here is a link Hemd Construction. In order to determine the amount of fabric I would need, I did a sample gathered piece and then adjusted the pieces to match the determined amount needed.

This is the hemd all laid out with the the seams sewn and ready for some embellishment.
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I really wanted a special finish to the neck frill, so, drawings inspiration from the extant Sture shirt detailed in Janet Arnold’s patterns of fashion 4, I decided to decorate it with a drawn thread hemstitch. The first step was to complete a narrow rolled hem, then the drawn thread hemstitch was done.
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Then, I decided I wanted a black edging. I tried several techniques, but they just didn’t have the look I wanted, until I came across this braiding technique. Basically, you couch down the inner two threads, then bring the outer two threads to the inside, couch them down, and repeat ad nauseum. The problem is that it is very slow going and awkward.
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Then, at an event I was talking with Whilja of Whilja’s Corner and found out that she had discovered a better way while working on a replica of the shirt. I am going to try her way next. She posted her research and process on her site and it is a great read, and the shirt is breathtaking, I recommend you check it out here

And that is where I am at currently. Watch for more to come.