Friday, 30 January 2009

Necklines and doo-das.

Having pretty much completed my under kirtle, I could now do the neckline on my shift (instructions on this will follow when I make the 2nd one as 1st one was made before this blog). I made a small hole big enough to JUST get my head through, and then put on my kirtle. I pinned along the kirtle neckline to where it came up to on the shift and then pinned an inch above that as that was where I would want my shift neckling to (roughly) come up to.
I decided the easiest way to neaten the shift neckline was to make some binding - this was about 40" in length, and there was more than enough to go round the neckline. When I had made the binding, I blackworked the edge and blackworked a line just below it. I then had the guts to cut the neckline.
I looked to see how big the neckline was cut in The Tudor Tailor. In there, it had the neckline 6" down from the top of the shift and when I measured it against my pins, that was roughly how much I would want it to be. The width of the neckline was 2" either side from the basic neck hole, I thought that would be a bit too wide, so I made it about 1 1/4". I rounded off the back of the neckline 1 1/2" inches from the original neck hole I had. I then pinned the binding around the neckline, folding it at the corners, and sewed it with backstitch in black thread - just to add a bit more decoration!

Afterwards, I got out my black velvet trim, ready to go round the edge of my under kirtle. The velvet trim will be seen and the gown will be a little shorter than the kirtle. I folded the trim in half (this is 72mm trim) and pinned along the creased edge so I knew where the middle was. I then pinned the trim (starting at the back) and lined the pins in the trim to the edge of the kirtle neckline. Once it was pinned on, I first sewed down the outside edge (the side of the trim that will be seen) and then the inside. It now looks a little something like this:

As for the 'doo-da'. Now, I have shoulder length hair that's all feathered and layered and it's a real pain to try and do anything with, let alone plait it and curl it round on the back of my head (which is the Tudor thing to do). So, as I'll be wearing a French hood, I've decided to make a special 'doo-da' that will sit on my head and hold the hood up and on. All it is, is a homemade 'Alice' band that's an inch wide and big enough for the head. Then I traced around my French hood toile crecent and cut two out. I sewed around the edge with about a 1cm seam and left a hole at the bottom. Once turned the right way out, I stuffed the crescent so it was well padded and stitched up the opening. I then sewed the crescent onto the band...and hey presto, it works! I think I might patent it!

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

1535 - under kirtle bodice part 2

Well, I managed to attach the bodice lining over the bodice to skirt seam - it was a bit fiddly especially at the edges where the wool and linen had been folded into the bodice.

Now it was the fun bit....EYELETS! For the under kirtle, I had to decided to use spiral lacing, which I had never used before, as I thought it would be easier to do up. I used this website to help me work out how and where to place the eyelets. I made the hole with a leather punch (I know I shouldn't as the will cause the hole to stretch a bit) and then oversewed round the edge of the eyelet - 32 in total. This is where my stack of DVDs came in handy!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

1535 - under kirtle skirt

I used the same pattern for the skirt as I did for the back of the skirt of my English gown from my 1588 outfit (pattern from The Tudor Tailor). It's a flared/shaped skirt that will easily fit over a farthingale if needed to (eg for 1540 onwards).
So, the skirt of this under kirtle is made up of 4 sections which are then sewn centre back and centre front - an inch for seam allowance as it was cut along the selvege. I then sewed the sides together leaving a 7" gap at the top of both sides for ease of putting on (and that my bodice is side lacing). The seams were then neatened.

I would normally make up a lining for it now, but seeing as I'm gentry and will be wearing lots of layers as it is, I've left it out as noone will see the underside of the kirtle. But it can be lined at a later date if needed.

Once I had the basic skirt, I then pleated it. I made a large inverted box pleat and then knife pleats either side (three in all for this skirt) for both front and back of the skirt. I pinned it to the bottom of the bodice to check the fit and altered accordingly. Once sorted, I tacked the pleats - at about 1/2" and 1" from the top edge, this was then sewn, again with two rows - one at 1" and the other slightly less. (These sewn rows were actually a mistake, my mum thought she had told me to sew it to the bodice!) Afterwards, I pinned and sewed it to the wool part of the bodice - again, sewn with two rows.

The pleats tacked and ready to be sewn.

The skirt sewn onto the bottom of the bodice

1535 - under kirtle bodice

I made the interfacing of the bodice from canvas and twill after constructing a pattern by using the pattern I made for my Elizabethan bodies, but changing a few features to meet the Henrican style. For example, the back neckline was made into a 'V' and the lacing was moved from the front to the sides.

It was only until I had to attach it to the wool (pink) and linen (red), that I realised that the interfacing should have matched up with the wool and linen in some places so that it could be sewn in together - like at the seams. But instead, I stitched the interfacing to the linen to hold it in place, luckily the stitching can't be seen that easily and it's on the inside of the bodice anyway! The wool was then pinned to the back of the linen (right side to right side) and sewn to the linen along the line of the interfacing. After testing it, I trimmed and snipped the seam allowance and turned to the right way round.

To attach the bodice at the shoulders, I had previously left an inch gap when sewing the wool to the linen. I then matched the wool on the front strap to the wool on the back strap, measured 3/4" (I usually have a should seam of anything from 1/2" to 1" depending on how the height of the bodice sits). I pressed the seam flat and tucked it under the linen. I then folded the linen over so the two parts met at the wool seam and then stitched them together.