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.
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.
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 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 ;)
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.
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.