Wednesday, 6 May 2009


And so onto the next pair of sleeves! The pattern for the foresleeves also came from The Tudor Tailor. For the sleeves, I used some pink and cream shot silk that I had been given as a gift at an Easter event last year, and some white cotton.
I sewed around all the edges of the sleeves, attaching the silk to the cotton (my pattern only had allowance for very small seams) apart from the smallest edge, which was left open to turn the sleeves the right way round and were then hand sewn together.

I then sewed the two long edges of the sleeves together, using ladder stitch, at 3 inch intervals starting from the wrist and ending at the back. The stitching was about 1/2 inch long. I then sewed on 4 pearls, where I had sewn the sleeves together, in a diamond shape for decoration.

After this I then made the 'puffy' bits that poke through the gaps. I used a long strip of white cotton measuring 20" by 6.2" (such and odd measurement as that just happened to be the width of the fabric) and hemmed it with a very small hem. I then quarted the strip and pleated along the line of the quarters. It was then pinned and sewn to the lining inside on the same place where the pearl were sewn on. I also added a couple of stitches either side of the gaps to hold the cotton in place and so that it couldn't be pulled all the way through.
The sleeves then have ribbon sewn on which will later tie to a loop of ribbon inside the turnback sleeves. As I didn't have time, I sewed a tab on instead so that the sleeves may be pinned.

Turnback sleeves

And so for the sleeves of the gown, turnbacks. I was in truth dreading making these, but in fact they were simple, but sewing velvet to another fabric is somewhat annoying!

The pattern I used for my sleeves came from The Tudor Tailor and was adjusted to fit my arms and gown. There are three parts to the sleeves, the top fabric (wool) and inside, velvet (which will be seen when the sleeves are turned back) which goes up to about half way on the upper arm and the rest is made of linen (but I used cotton to keep the bulk down).

First I sewed (WARNING! velvet slips when being machine sewn to another fabric!) the velvet to the cotton and pressed seams open. Then I sewed the bottom edge of the velvet to the bottom edge of the wool and pressed seams open. It was then opened out and folded in half length-ways (so, velvet to velvet, wool to wool) and then sewn along the long edge, but not sleeve cap! The sleeve was then turned the right way round.

When both sleeves were made up, I tacked the sleev caps together before pinning and tacking to the armholes on the gown. This is as far as I have got, but I will sew the sleeves onto the gown and then sew on some binding to neaten the raw edges. I will also put a few stitches in to keep my sleeves turned back.

The Gown

Well, it's been some time since I last posted, and some time since I've done some serious sewing, so I shall do my best with going into detail, but hopefully some pictures will make up for the lack of words.

So, the gown. The bodice was made the same as my under-kirtle's bodice, apart from: the neckline was made an inch lower (so the trim on the kirtle could be seen), the armholes were made bigger, the front piece was adjusted to make it front lacing. As the gown didn't need any structure (boning) as such, the back of the bodice not have any interfacing in it at all, although the front pieces do as boning is needed either side of the eyelets. Like the kirtle, I used synthetic whalebone from this company. Seperately, the linen lining, interfacing and the wool top fabric were all made up by sewing along the side seams. The interfacing was sewn along the seam allowance onto the lining of the bodice to hold it in place before sewing it onto the wool along all edges apart from the bottom edge (please note, bones were inserted into interfacing by this point). The bodice was then turned the right way out.

The skirt part of the gown is a fared skirt and was made from 4 panels - 2 panels for the back and 1 panel for either side of the front of the bodice. The panels were cut out of wool (top fabric) and linen (lining) and both were made seperately, but had the front seam left open. They were then tacked together and pleated to fit the bodice before tacking and sewing into place. The skirt was sewn to the wool of the bodice as the weight would prevent the wool from wrinkling. The centre front seam was then sewn, first the lining then the top fabric, leaving about a 7 inch gap (from the raw edge) to allow movement for putting on. The lining of the bodice was then folded over the raw edge of the skirt and sewn in place. I then made a placket and sewed it onto one side of the gap in the front of the skirt.

This is as far as I have got with the gown so far (apart from the sleeves which will come later). The next job to do is to make some eyelets. I will do the eyelets so that the bodice can be straight laced - and, fingers crossed, make it suitable for earlier years, such as the women in this painting of the More family. I will then hem the skirt making it slightly longer than the kirtle and then sew on a guard using black velvet trim.