So I have spoken about my new 16th century German chemise/shirt, and I have also documented the whole process of making it so that I can show you how it is made.
This hemd goes under the name of “silly eternity hemd” because it have a rather silly amount of fabric in it, and a equally silly high collar with a ridiculous tight smock, and it really have taken an eternity to sew.
I like things silly, especially with my German outfit, and I love to work a long time on things, but I have to admit that it might be a bit to much to have 4,5 meters of fabric smocked into the collar.
It is in a thin linen fabric from medeltidsmode.se and is sewn with silk thread.
The seam allowances are felled and when done they are only 0,5 cm wide.
The embroidery is in linen thread but for a more period correct thread I would suggest silk if you want to use colour.
So here is the pattern, it is in cm and not inches.
I am using the width of the fabric, using one width for the front, one for the back and half a width for each sleeve. Using 3 meters gives you enough fabric for these pieces, the sleeve gusset and for lining the collar and end of the sleeves.
In centre front, we have a slit that is cut open.
As said, to use 150cm to the font and the back might be a bit to much, so if you want to using half a fabric width, 75 cm that will turn out as a nice hemd that to.
When I work in linen fabric, I like to pull threads. This ensures that I cut 100% on the grain.
Using a big needle, I pull up one thread.
Pulling it out until it breaks.
When it breaks, you just use the needle to pull it out again and then when you have gone the full width of the fabric it will look like this.
And now you can cut your fabric.
Voila! 100% straight on the grain.
Now it is time to start sewing. You need to sew your pieces together before you smock. I have a seam allowance of 1 cm.
As you can see in this picture, you need to sew your pieces together so that they form a “tube”. Sew only down to the X mark, witch is in my hemd 31 cm down. My hemd is rather tight fitting around the armcycle, and this measurement decides this. For a looser fit you need to sew longer. Or if you are smaller you might need to have this distance shorter if you want the tighter fit. You can if you want sew just as much as you need for the smocking (15cm) and then when the smock is finished, put it over your head and pin with needles so that it fits right here.
The blue in this picture shows where my smocking is going to be.
Of course I forgot to take photos of how I sewed it together, but I have these stand in pictures to show you how I sew a felled seam. It is important that the finished seam is not wider then your smock pleats, or else it will look funny and you will see the seam in your smocked collar. As my smock pleats are 0,5cm therefore my finished seam is 0,5 so that it blends in. Therefore I start out with a 1 cm seam allowance.
I sew with running stitches as there is no strain on this seam and we are also felling it witch means that it will be stronger because of that.
Then I scrape the seam open with my bone tool, this is a period way of getting flat seams with out ironing them, and linen takes this treatment fabulously.
Then I cut down the seam allowance on one side.
Folds the other sides seam allowance in half, here I use a fingernail to scrape it down.
Fold the whole thing to one side, scraping it a bit with my bone tool to make it lie flat.
And then I sew it down. And that is how I make my felled seams.
So let me introduce my bone tool, it is made as you all can guess out of bone. Moose bone to be exact. I have made it myself and I originally use it when working with leather, polishing the edges among other things.
But when I was reading in “Woven into the Earth: Textile finds in Norse Greenland” by Else Ostergaard there was information about tools found that was connected with textile working (pages 111-115). Among the tools were the “seam smoothers” that were used to make the seams flat. They could be made out of every kind of material, wood, bone, stone, glass, horn, it even says something about a pigs tooth.
So I thought that “well I need to try it” and said and done, and now I use my bone tool with all my linen fabric. So nice not having to use the iron all the time, especially with small seams and narrow seam allowances that you end up burning your fingertips of while working with.
But now, lets continue on our hemd.
Now it is time to hem the top of your hemd, that will become your collar.
I pull a thread at 1 cm and make a double fold.
Like this, here you can see my felled seam.
Now we are going to make a dotted grid for the smocking. I have made a guide out of thin cardboard, this saves so much time! I am going to dot each cm with one cm between each row.
I am dotting 10 rows.
It is just to put it along with the hemmed edge and with a pen make a dot using the grid, This takes almost forever, remember to sharpen your pen now and then.
Yes that is about 4500 dots… yes you are crazy for doing this ;)
Here you can see that I have also hemmed the slit in the front. (or at least one side of it).
The end of the slit is hard to hem in a good way, and it is also a place that have a lot of strain on it. So I finished it of with some buttonhole stitches to cover the raw edge and then some stitches across to make it durable. And it is pretty to.
Now it is time to sew your gathering stitches. I use a regular polyester thread in a bright colour, so that I remember to take it away later. I sew with a long double thread and pick up a few threads at each dot.
Sew all the lines.
Then gather your fabric and tie it of when you have gathered it to your neck circumference + some ease. Hold a measuring tape against your neck to know what you want ( mine is 44cm ).
Really dense smocked fabric, ridiculously dense.
Now I baste some guide threads on the front, to help me with my embroidery. They are 1cm apart.
I start my embroidering with this, along the whole collar, to keep it together.
Then I want to have these.
And this is how you sew that stitch. If you reverse it you can sew a diamond.
And this is how it ended up, with decorative dots in the middle. And in the bottom is honeycomb stitch.
This is how you sew it.
to get to the next row, skip one row.
Now you just continue on like before.
This is how my backside looks.
And the finished front.
Then it is time to line your collar. My lining is a strip of fabric that is 5cm wide finished width, and as long as my neck circumference, the measurement that we tied of the threads on.
When sewing it on, be sure to catch each fold to sew it to the lining.
This makes sure that your smock stays put and looks pretty.
Do not sew the front shut before you cut the thread knots of, that will make it hard do take them away.
Now take your gathering threads away.
And now your collar is done! I have a pearl closure.
Pearls and thread loops.
A close up of the hemmed slit.
And the reinforcement again.
Now you are going to sew the sleeve seam and the side seams. Put your hemd with your wrong sides together.
And this is how you are supposed to sew. Leave 10 cm toward the X. This is were you are going to sew your sleeve gusset.
Now sew your sleeve gusset.
The sleeve gusset is also going t have felled seams, put it on your knee and it is easy to see when you work.
Fell the seams on the sleeve and the side seam to. And hem the sleeves and the bottom hem.
And now do the same thing to the sleeves as you did to the collar part. Make dots, sew dots, gather.
But here I gather against a bottle that have the same circumference as my hand. I don want to have a closure on my sleeve but I still need to be able to put it on.
And do some honeycomb smocking.
And then line it.
Remember to not sew it shut before you remove your gathering thread.
Remove gathering threads and sew shut.
Now it is done!
Close up on the collar.
Close up on bottom.
This is where your first seam ends up in the end. Not visible at all when you are wearing it.
Close up on sleeve gusset.
The inside of the sleeve.
Back of hemd.
Back of collar.
How the honeycomb looks.
Inside of collar.
Ruffles on the collar.
As an addition to the button closure I also have a hook in the bottom of the collar, to keep in shut better, it fastens in a loop on the other side.
And then a picture of me wearing the shirt.
I hope you have found this tutorial helpful.
As always I give you, my inspiration for my outfits.
Really high collars
And also one, where I got the inspiration for the pearl closure from.
I thought that I would show you how I prefer to wear my steuchlein.
I start with putting my wulsthaube on.
Then I throw on the steuchlein
Oops a bit of.
It is nice to have that star so that I know it is on straight.
Then I tie it in the back.
I throw the tail to the front to make it easy to tie it.
If one wanted you could always use needles here in stead, to minimize bulk.
Then I adjust the steuchlein over the wulsthaube
Tighten it in the back
Hold it in place with my left hand
The other hand twist the tail part into a tight twist.
When you have twisted for a while, you can let go of the left hand and use it to twist, it goes faster with two hands.
Then I put the twisted tail over my head, holding the back in place
The twist goes around the head.
And is tucked under itself.
Tada! like this. At this point I usually throw my hat with ostrich feathers on.
And this is how I wear my steuchlein and here is also a sneak peak of my new 16th century German blouse
As I am in the progress of making a new shirt to my 16th century German dress, I also needed a new steuchlein to wear over my wulsthaube since my old one is in raw silk just as my old shirt. And here is how I make my steuchlein complete with a pattern diagram.
So here is my pattern, I put the long side against the fold of the fabric and that is also the reason that my steuchlein is 150 cm long. I use the width of the fabric. In the end it is mostly like a liripipe pattern, but without the cape part.
I use a thin linen fabric from medeltidsmode.se and sew with silk thread, because I like it and I find that the linen thread I have is a bit to thick for this fabric.
Start with hemming the end of the end of the tail, I cut my selvage away here, since I do not think it is that pretty and hemming with that gets so bulky. If you have nice selvage you can just ignore the hemming part and use the selvage as it is instead.
Then I sew the long seam that forms the tail part. I sew with small running stitches, using backstitch here is in my eyes just a waste of time since there is not any strain on this seam. Running stitches will work just as good.
Then I scrape the seams so that they lie flat. This is a period way of getting your seams smooth without ironing them. This is a bone tool that I use when I work with leather, but you can use whatever you like tree, bone your fingernails. I use my fingernails when I scrape my hems.
In the end of the tail, I fold in the raw edges and sew a bit. So that no loose threads will poke out.
Then I fell the seams. Not all the way since most of the seam allowances is in the tail part so that felling those would be a waste of time since they do not get any wear or is ever seen. The fabric is also cut slightly on bias here, so the edges will not really fray here anyway.
Then I hem the bottom part. As you can see here, when working in linen fabric I like to pull out threads to know where my fold lines are. This ensures that the edges are 100% on straight grain.
My hems are double folded and when finished 0,5 cm wide, thin and nice.
Then it is time to hem the front of the steuchlein, I pull threads here as well, to know where to fold. I am going to hem it with a embroidery stitch, so I pull two more threads out to guide my stitches.
Fold the front in, scrape the edge to make it flat.
Here I have a single fold hem, using the selvage. Since it will not be seen and helps holding the front together. If you want to you can just hem it as it is now and then you are done.
But as my new shirt is with black embroidery I want to use the same thread on my steuchlein as well. So I decided to hem with a herringbone stitch.
So here are some pictures to explain the stitches. I sew with a thread that is slightly waxed to make it easy to sew with.
Here you can understand how it helps to pull out those threads. The embroidery is the exactly the same height all over.
On the back it looks like this.
I made a star it the centre front, to make it easier to put on right.
And then you are done!
With this steuchlein you can make a lot of different styles very easy.
Summer season = medieval week and a for medieval week I really need a bag for my German dress. Looking at a lot of pictures I saw a model that seemed to be used by both males and females and also used in a very varied social status.
And as I work this way: see pretty thing, make pretty thing. I just had to make myself a bag and as I like to share I also made a pattern diagram.
But first, the finished bag.
It is made in Swedish bark tanned reindeer, the lid and strap is in 3mm vegetable tanned cowhide and the red is chrome tanned goat. I usually try to stay away from the chrome tanned leather because of the chrome, but this red is just so beautiful that I can’t stop myself.
As you can’t really make out the backside of the bags from pictures you have to make something up. I decided to use the same shape as on the lid, as that makes it both a bit sturdy, gives me something to put a inner pocket on and it looks pretty. Also when cutting leather I find that you get the most useful scrap pieces if you try to keep your work in rectangles that you then cut down. For example, the things I cut away on the lid and strap can easy be used as other straps or perhaps a bracelet.
Here you can clearly see the seam that fasten the inner pocket. The inner pocket is a modern convenience things, for a more period correct bag you should probably leave it out
A close up on the lid. The button is made with a wooden core that have been covered in leather.
Something that I have not done yet is to sew the strap closed, so that you can open the bag without it slipping of your belt.
When you open the lid you can see that it has two external pockets and a drawstring to keep it shut.
The button is fastened in the front piece of the bag.
To make sure that the button stays on, the leather that is used to cover the button is the leather that becomes the piece that is sewn on to the front piece of the bag. I also used extra long threads that I wrapped around the neck of the button to make it more secure and long lasting.
On the inside there is a pocket, I have no historical sources for this, but a bag needs its bag for “girl stuff”. I first sew it onto the back piece, through both lid/strap and the back piece and then sew the seams on the sides, the seams that form the pocket. Before sewing it on I also put some water on the front bit of the inner pocket, and stretched it a bit just at the front piece, this makes it easier to put stuff into the pocket, and you can see how it is slightly looser on the picture
Here we have the pockets, the pattern piece is sewn on so that it forms a pouch, my leather is a bit thick so it does not drape as well as it should, but it will become softer with use.
The drawstring on these pockets are well thought out, pull it open easy.
Put stuff inside.
And then pull on the long ends to shut it again.
And now on to the pattern.
The + marks where you should punch a hole, this is most practical to do just after cutting out your leather before any sewing is done. Except at the centre back were the holes should be through bot lid/strap and back piece and therefore is better to punch after you sew it on.
The dotted lines are your sewing lines, where your seams should be or where you should place your other pieces. I use a needle and punch tiny holes through the paper pattern to mark these lines.
The pockets have no seam lines as there is such a small (2mm) seam allowance, and on the front piece the dotted lines is how you should put the pocket pieces to form pouches.
And so, some inspirational picture as well.
As you can see she have only one pocket, it is shaped differently at the bottom and there is tassels.
One with a smaller lid and three pockets.
two other variety.
My bag is kind of the same size as this nice girl.