Tuesday 31 May 2011

A Pair of Hose

The fabrics I ordered arrived a weak ago, and I’ve since made a pair of separate hose for Tobias.

I first made a toile using plain cotton, and when that looked good, I used it as a pattern for the hose. They are cut on the bias, of course, to be as tight as possible without being restraining. The seams running up the back of the leg are sewn with unbleached linen thread, split and sewn down, with the same thread.

Though they don’t look that tight, I’ve had to make the seams extra strong a few centimetres' above the ankles, as they have both been split when trying them on while being sewn, so I really can’t make them any tighter, or the feet won't go in.

The upper of the foot part is also sewn on with linen thread, but I was running out of it, and wanting something left for the cotehardie, I decided to use wool from here. I split the seam as before, but used wool yarn to tack the seams down instead.

The sole was sewn using another kind of seam. Wanting this seam to be as flat and unnoticeable as possible, I simply overlapped the fabric pieces about one centimetre, and then sewn it on, using hemming stitches on both fabric edges. This makes a double seam, which is flat (and hopefully comfortable if the hose shift to the side, and the seam ends up under the foot), secure and neat. We’ll see how it works out.

I’ll have to redo both the soles though. When he tried the hose on today, we discovered I’d sewn them on the wrong way, so he has a right leg hose with a left foot sole and vice versa. You can see it in the first picture. How. Annoying. Is. That? I can’t imagine how I could have made a mistake like that. There’s nothing for it, but to unpick the stitches and do it all over again. Bleeh……

The top of the hose was again finished with wool. I used a finishing technique used in some of the Herjolfsnes finds. The hem is folded over once, and a strand (or more?) of wool yarn is laid on top of it and secured with the hemming stitches, also done in wool. This is a technique I’ve wanted to try for some time, and now I had a good opportunity. I don’t know if this technique was used at the top of hose, but it works and looks good (not that anyone will see it after all the clothes is put on).

The eyelets for the cord attaching the hose to a belt are made in the same wool yarn, and I had sewn a piece of linen fabric to the inside, to reinforce the eyelets. It’s only secured by the hemming and the eyelets; the bottom of it is unattached. The cord is made from the same wool yarn as I used for the sewing, and is made using the simplest finger looping imaginable. Nothing elegant at all at this point, but made just to be functional.

Tobias decided that using a belt for securing the hose was more comfortable than attaching them to the braies, and after seeing how they tugged at the braies-string, I can see his point. I never wore this kind of hose (prefering women's clothes ;) ), so I never knew, or thought about that. Now it seems the obvious choise as far as comfort is concerned. It looks pretty good, I think.

This picture is also the one that is most true to the real colour of the hose.

Saturday 21 May 2011

Wardrobe Plans

For the past month and a half or so I’ve been planning and begun to sew a 14th century outfit for Tobias. I’ve shown you the shirt already, but I’ve also made linen braies, a grey wool bag hat and am now working on a wool mustard hood with grey woollen lining. I’m still thinking on how to do the tablet woven edge on that one. I didn’t bother to iron anything now, so excuse the wrinkles. All the clothes have been hand sewn with waxed linen thread.

I used the Medieval Tailors Assistant as a guide in making the braies. I’m not sure how accurate they are, but they will only be glimpsed when worn under the rest of the clothes, so I think it will be ok.

They have a drawstring at the waist, and a slit on either side, to the front, so as to secure the hose to the drawstring.

The bag hat is of a kind seen in late 14th century pictures. The construction is extremely simple, a deep pouch with the edge folded or rolled. The colour is not very exciting, but it’s what I had at hand, and will have to do for now. I worked with scrap pieces, so I had to sew a band to the bottom of the hat to make it deep enough. It won’t be seen when worn though.

The hood is inspired by finds from London and Herjolfsnes on Greenland. It’s made from what was left after I’d made my mustard kirtle last year. The lining is cut from another old kirtle, so there are a few seams in odd places, but that should be period acceptable, I think. I still haven’t cut the bottom of the cape properly.

So far I’ve been able to make everything from fabrics in my stash (which is good, since finances won’t allow us too much extravagance), but it will do no more. Yesterday I ordered some olive green wool for a pair of hose and some light blue wool for a cotehardie-kind of garment. With some luck and a bit of skill there might be enough of the blue left to make me a new pair of hose. Isn’t blue the most wonderful colour?

I also have to make an over kirtle for myself. The mustard one is all right on its own in daytime, while working, but in the evenings when it’s cooler, or for fancier events, I’d like to wear another kirtle on top of it. I have some dark red wool with a hint of brown in my stash which I plan to use. I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather for a while, so I haven’t been doing as much sewing as I would have liked, but now we have our first event of the summer in little more than a month, so I really have to get a move on.

Tuesday 3 May 2011

Tablet Woven Edge

In many extant clothes from the middle ages (ex. from Herjolfsnes and London) some of the edges have been finished by a narrow tablet woven ribbon, sewn to the garment (using the weft) at the same time as it’s woven. I have long wanted to try this, but haven’t been able to work up the energy until last night. I’m making my husband a 14th century liripipe hood soon, and I want to use this technique on it. Not to mess up on the real thing, I thought I’d better be a good girl and actually make a trial run first (I’m often way too impatient for that…). I plan to use thin-ish, easy fraying wool for his hood, and line it with another thin wool fabric, so I used fabric pieces of about the same quality in this experiment.

I won’t go into the basics of tablet weaving now – if you don’t know how it works, google it or look it up on youtube. I used three tablets, all four holes threaded with fine, three strand wool yarn that i had in my stash, folded in the edges of the fabrics a little, and then started weaving. Every time I had pulled the yarn through the warp threads, I made a tiny stitch through both the layers of fabric, so the weft thread really made a sort of circle: through the warp, stitch through the fabrics, turn the tablets, through the warp etc.

If this is how it was really done, and if I used the right number of tablets or warp threads, I don’t know, as I haven’t read any book about it yet (I must see if they have one at the local library), but it worked and looked very nice, I thought. Well, parts of it did not look nice, as I was experimenting with different ways of doing it, and some looked better than others. The above mentioned way was the one I liked the best for attaching outer fabric and lining. I know of a few things I might have done differently to give a better result, so I’ll do that next time. As you can see it’s not perfect, like the tablet weaving being done too tight for the fabric, but for a first try I’m pleased.

I also tried to just take a tiny stitch in one layer of fabric, so that every time the weft thread went through the warp, I also took a tiny stitch on that side: through the weft, tiny stitch in one layer, turn the tablets, through the warp, tiny stitch on the layer on that side, turn the tablets, etc. This made the two fabrics attach to the woven strand, but not to each other, and you could fold the two sides out from each other. Would work very well to attach the two sides of a purse, I think.

This way of finishing a garment looks pretty, and is very fun to do – even T. followed the process with interest. Now that I know that I can do it, I have to do some research on how to do it right. There are several different ways, from what I hear, but I’m not sure mine is one of them….