Thursday, 10 September 2009

Where does one keep their armies?...

In one's sleevies! Boom boom. But first, I just want to talk about the back neckline. I left a inch to be turned under, and what was better was that there wasn't much of a curve and so it didn't need to be clipped to make it lie flat, huzzah!

And so unto the sleeves. These are elbow length sleeves. I used a friend's website which has a page on how to make a sleeve pattern, where it says about taking measurements for the wrist, I measured just above the elbow instead. It worked and fitted fine after a slight adjustment to make it a little bigger around the arm.

I cut out the sleeves in the same wool as the kirtle and turned up the 'hem' or the bottom of the sleeve 1.5" then ironed flat. I then pinned and sewed the 1" seam allowance along the length of the seam and neatened them like I did with the kirtle seams. Afterwards, I pinned the sleeve to the armhole and marked my 1" seam allowance and then sewed them.

As the seams are bulky due to canvas and a few layers of wool, I cut the canvas right down to about 1/4" and the wool and lining down to 1/2". I then made some bias binding from the left over lining fabric and pinned and sewed it over the seam to neaten it. And hey presto, the sleeves are complete!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Piecing it together.

Thus commenced the cutting out! We cut out the pieces in wool (1 front, 1 back, 2 back side panels and 2 front side panels). We folded the front pattern in half and placed it 1.5" from the fold of the fabric as the kirtle will be front laced and so will need some fabric turned to the inside of the bodice (to neaten it and add strength) - this will also create extra fabric in the skirt, so a false seam will be 'inserted'.

We decided to make the entire length of the kirtle (from shoulder) 1 metre 17" (Sorry, but I work in inches and metres. 17" would be about 40cm?) and flared the skirt out to 18" at the hem. When cutting out the side panels, we had to make sure the angle of the skirt part were roughly the same on both sides.

When we had done this, we cut out the front and front side bodice part (slightly shorter than the paper patterns) out in canvas, just to give it a bit of extra support, these were then pinned to the wool. All the seams were pinned together (1" seam allowance) and machine sewn together (I would have loved to have done it by hand, but time would not permit it, as there is a C15th event I want to go to in mid-october and I have lots of other sewing to do too!)
When all the seams were sewn I wanted to try it on. I cut down the centre front (it was cut on the fold, remember?), which measures about 17" in length. It fitted beautifully! I then proceeded to neaten all the seams by hand (apart from the one with canvas in) with a fell seam, and then ironed flat. I did the same with the false seam in the front.

The above picture shows the inside of the front of the kirtle -shows the opening, clipped curved seams and you can just about see the neatened seams at the bottom left/right.

After this, I cut out front bodice pieces (like the canvas) from some lining fabric (it's actually cotton that I've used, but I should have used linen, but I don't have any!) and I made sure it was slightly longer than the canvas so that it could be tucked underneath. I then sewed the pieces together like I had done with the kirtle and clipped curved seams.

I wanted to use the lining as a sort of facing for the front neckline, so you can JUST about see in the previous picture a couple of rows of stitching around the neckline. I sewed the extra row for extra added strength! I cut the canvas in the seam allowance right down, as it would be bulky, and clipped the curves. I then folded the lining back over and pressed with an iron (and with a damp cloth when pressing the wool side).

Once that was done, I pinned the lining to the bodice and sewed it by hand. Now, looking at the following picture, you'd probably think that my brain works in weird and mysterious ways. Well, you would be right, but there is logic to the weird looking lining.

The long bit to the left of the lining is to give the opening extra strength as the cavas doesn't reach that far. The pointy bit in the middle is where the canvas seam stops - it was slightly lower than the main canvas parts. Looks weird, but is in fact very neat and tidy! :)
Next I'll sort out the back neckline, then make sleeves and then add lacing rings (the cheats method of eyelets!) and then hem it. One final note, just to let you know, despite my parents being away and being left to run the house (kind of), I started this kirtle on monday 7th. It is now wednesday 9th and I've only 4 things left to do.

Stepping back to the 15th Century

So, I've been planning to make some medieval kit for AGES, probably about 2 years now. I had already made a medieval hood and a 'rabbit-ear' coif, but I didn't really like wearing my Tudor peasant kit and pretending it was medieval. Well, anyway, I went into town just the other day with a friend and we bought some fabric - I needed to get some to make some tie on sleeves for my Tudor underkirtle (more on that another time!) but at the same time, I fell in love with some lovely blue wool that was the colour I had intended to use for medieval. We returned to the shop later and I bought the blue wool plus some other wool for peasant kirtle/under kirtle.

When we got home, we started making a pattern for the kirtle. I used my old pattern for when I first made my Tudor peasant bodice (before it was adjusted) and traced round it and altered it. The alterations that had to be made was that on medieval kirtles, there are 2 seams down the front (and back) of the kirtle. The kirtle is made up of 6 panels.

Once this was done, we cut out a toile from an old bed sheet and pinned it together and tried it on (it's advised to leave underwear on when fitting a toile for a medieval kirtle as it will help with the support when the kirtle is made). The toile didn't quite fit - the side panels needed to be a bit bigger. The new toile fitted fine. Then my friend helped adjust the pins so it was as tight as possible. I had to lift myself up as the original angle under the bust was too sharp and not curved. I have to say, I never knew that some cotton fabric and some pins could give so much support!

One of the side seams was penciled before removing the pins so I could take it off. After that then lines were drawn where the pins were before removing those. I cut along the lines and removed what seam allowance there was. The fabric pieces were then drawn around onto large sheets of paper and we added a 1" seam as I prefer working with larger seams and then cutting them down. We flared the bottom edge of the pattern out as a guideline for the skirt (there is no paper pattern for the skirt, is drawn onto the fabric when the bodice pattern is pinned on).

Front and front side panel.

Back and back side panel.

A Tudor update

Wow, well it has been some time since I've last posted, but in fairness, I have been very busy! I did a Tudor event at Dover Castle on 20th/21st June and I then on the monday I went to Kentwell to do the 3 week main event. Then every weekend after that until 8th/9th August, I was doing some kind of reenacting event - Roman and WW2. I've also just done another Tudor event over the bank holiday weekend at the end of August.

Anyway, back to the sewing. Something I hadn't added previously was the placard. This is the bit on the front of the gown that covers the lacing. The top part was the width of the gown, but curved a little so it would sit nicely when worn, and it tapered down a bit as it reached the bottom of my gown bodice (does that make sense?!). It was made out of wool, linen and canvas. I sewed one side onto the bodice and attached hooks and eyes onto the other.

Here is a picture of the finished thing: