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Month: January 2011

Pics of the Eleventh Century Chemise on Tyler

I finished the chemise. Yay! Technically, it’s taken from a pattern Kohler gives for a coat (A History of Costume, pg 136). His text claims that a chemise would be cut in the same way, but with shorter sleeves. I went a little embroidery-happy on this, so maybe it is more like a cote. I might make a plain one for underneath and dye this one a festive color. I haven’t decided yet…

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Sewing the Eleventh Century Chemise

This goes together quite easily, since it’s really just a series of straight lines. Shirts and smocks with the same general layout (small variations in neckline) continue to be used into the sixteenth century, at least, and I can see why: it’s easy. There’s no need for a gusset, because of the angle the sleeves are placed on. That is so cool. (If you don’t know why that’s cool, it’s because you’ve never sewn an underarm gusset by machine. They’re all sorts of annoying.)

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Drafting a Semi-Fitted Chemise from a Princess Line Pattern

What? Why would you ever possibly want to do that, missa? This is a good question, and the answer is basically, “Because you can.” That, in an of itself, is cool enough for me. I can take the pattern of my little dolly body, or the pattern I cloned off a dolly, or even a fitted princess line sloper of a human, and make a chemise. (Also, I have drafted approximately 55,237,648,119 smocks and chemises and shirts in my life, and I’m just lookin’ for ways to keep it exciting…) This isn’t unlike draping on a stand, because we’re going to make a pattern by eyeballing fit against a human form. It’s just that my human form, in this case, is in the form of flat pieces instead of a three-dimensional stand. But those pieces convey all the same critical information the stand does, and they don’t cost near as much as a decent dress form.


Finishing a Seam Allowance by Hand

Sometimes, you have to finish a seam allowance so it won’t fray. (Or, possibly, you’re like me and compulsively finish seams, whether they need it or not.) There are times when you can’t use a french seam, or you are working in an area too tight for a felled seam, and you want something nicer than an overcast edge. This method of finishing a seam allowance by hand will prevent them from fraying, and lightly reinforce the seam.

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Drafting an Elizabethan Square Necked Chemise – No Math Required!

It sounds way too good to be true, doesn’t it? I mean, making patterns without a whole bunch of math? You can do such a thing? We’re barely even going to use measurements!  We’re going to use out Basic Conic Block, and enjoy good old fashion magic of the sloper alteration. If this sounds too modern, there’s something you need to know: the idea of describing a pattern as a series of steps and measurements is less than 150 years old.

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11th Century German Costume from Kohler

I’ve been doing a crazy amount of research on armscyes, lately, particularly in terms of when they started being curved. I was expecting that to be after 1515 or so, based on the piecing in Gerard David‘s Deposition. But no, much to my complete annoyance, there are a lot of examples of curved sleeveheads and armscyes going back into the late medieval era. This annoys me greatly, because it means that if I want to show try out a fashion that does not use a curved sleeve head/armscye, I’m stuck back in like, 1000 AD.  This is not my happy place.  But I’m gonna make a ding-dang, major-olde-timey, at-least-it’s-not-a-T-tunic dress, and I’m gonna like it, gosh darn it.

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