Sunday, January 15, 2017

Bi-annual Sewing Review: July-January 2016

Not just sewing, either--I will probably touch on some of my favourite articles I've written and posted here as well.  My review for the first half of the year can be found HERE.  Still, I want to touch on a couple of my major projects from before July as well.

Wearing all handmade clothing (wool shirt, wool waistcoat, and the front fall trousers), and working on the doublet.  Photo by Mercedes Houlton.

I am actually quite happy with my productivity--it could be better, yes, but I kept working on projects.  Hopefully this year I will do slightly better, but I plan to continue the system of keeping multiple projects going at once--I found that it helps keep me from getting bored with doing the same thing forever (buttonhole stitches on the jerkin!), and allows my overall progress to continue when I get frustrated with something (which always happens eventually!).  Or when I just am missing a material to continue, and am having trouble sourcing it.

Even though I'm happy with my productivity, I still don't feel I got all that much done--actually only six projects.  Seven if you count the topcoat, which I seem to have covered in the last review as well (not sure why).  Additionally, I managed to fit the majority of them into various Historical Sew Monthly challenges, completing all 12 challenges for the first time.

Here they are below....

1860s "Sailor's" Topcoat:  Another fairly quick project, this was my entry into the Travel Challenge for the HSM.  For the most part, this was me taking a break from the 1570s doublet I was also working on at the time.  A canvas topcoat, of the "body-sac" kind--more or less a frock coat in pattern, with the skirt grown on to the fore-body.  There is no lining or stitched shaping of any kind (i.e. no padstitching), so the hand-work was minimized to the buttonholes and sewing down facings.  6-27/7-3/16, 13 hours and 41 minutes.  I had a lot of fun doing the photo shoot as well, and acquired my first leach (which I should not be that excited about...)!

 Hobbit Pants!: This was quite a fun project, working from a drafting system dating to 1822--eventually, I will publish a tutorial for how to follow the draft.  The system is actually fairly simple, although it leaves out a few things.  Anyways, these are early narrow front-fall trousers, made in white corduroy--they were a quick and easy project, rather than one with completely accurate construction methods..  Still, I learned a lot.  7-23/29-16.  11:07 hours.  As a pair of white pants, I entered them into the Monochrome HSM Challenge.

1570s Striped Doublet:  One of my major projects, a doublet to go with the pluderhose I made earlier in the year.  This was another new thing for me--while I am quite familiar with drafting up a doublet based on Janet Arnold's diagrams in PoF 3, I decided at the beginning of the year to work on a direct measure, numberless doublet drafting system.  While there were some kinks to work out (ease, mainly), it worked amazingly well (for my shape, anyways).  As for construction, while the main seams are sewn my machine, there is so much more handwork on it that they really shouldn't count against me--the doublet is fully padstitched, and the lining is installed by hand.  I am fairly happy with it, actually, and looking forwards to the debut this weekend.  5-31/7-30-16.  49 Hours.  It was my entry into the Patterns HSM challenge.

Dungiven Trius:  Most of the garments in the photo were finished earlier this year--the picture is of my full Dungiven Outfit.  The trius are the bias cut trousers, and were completely handsewn, and as close to Henshall's report on them as I could.  Drafting them was decidedly interesting, as well as frustrating--it took many hours of staring at the paper before they began to come together in my mind.  Still, I am quite happy with them as a project....I just hate the outfit, as it's too exposing.  7-30/8-24-16  and a mere 13:40 hours.  These were--with some fast talking--entered into the Historicism challenge, as they are extremely similar to medieval chausses.

1570s Slashed Jerkin: The next piece of my 1570s Germans, this is the jerkin to be worn over the doublet and tie the doublet and pluderhose together, as an outfit.  It's not my most historically accurate piece, sadly--while the materials and pattern are okay (I used my experimental system for this as well), the slashes should have been narrowly bound, rather than buttonholed.  Naturally, I found the evidence for that /after/ finishing.  Still, I'm fairly happy with it, even if I have some issues with the slashing not laying smoothly.   8-3/10-24/16 and took a total of 53:46 hours...much of which was sewing buttonhole stitches.  It was my entry into the HSM Heroes Challenge, for one of the artisans I look up to--Mathew Gnagy (The Modern Maker), who inspired me to develop my own pattern system.

Thread Wrapped Buttons: The yellow ones pictured above are on the doublet, and are only quasi-period in style--while many tutorials tout them as the most basic variety (including mine, sadly), there isn't actually any evidence for the style.

Another sad attempt at buttons--they may be kinda pretty, but didn't really turn out like I wanted either.  These ones went on the jerkin.

This one, on the other hand, really is the basic thread wrapped button for the Elizabethan period--you can't get much simpler than this.  In addition to the written tutorial, I filmed and published one on youtube, which may be found HERE.

1750s Banyan:  One of my favourite projects, and my first real venture into 18th century clothing...I learned so much doing this one.  Drafting (especially of the sleeves), methods and order of construction, and various other details.  It was definitely a fun project, and one which I will probably make again when the right fabric shows up.  I also worked with silk buttonhole twist for the first time.  9-15/11-12-16  and 27:30 hours.  This was my entry into the Red Challenge for the HSM.

1570s Ruffs: My first set of ruffs!  Completely handsewn and using the correct techniques to the best of my knowledge--I relied heavily upon Noel Gieleghem of the Elizabethan Costuming group for advice on how to make it.  Mind, it still needs to be starched and sett, but I am fairly happy with it as is!  7-1/12-19-16, and 32:20 hours.  Like pretty much every other item in this review, it was an HSM entry, for Special Occasion.

Favourites from before July:

Norse Shoes:  Patterned vaguely on the Starya Ladoga pair, and nicely oiled.  This is probably one of my favourites, as I wear them every day at work.

A seriously major project--the first part of the 1570s suit...the pluderhose.  While most of the construction was fairly straight-forwarded (just time consuming, with all the bindings), drafting was not...I designed and wrote a drafting and measuring system for these, from the ground up.  Nobody has yet seen them worn--like the doublet, jerkin, and ruff, that will be this weekend.

 A double breasted waistcoat in red brocade, based on an 1853 example in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.  Sadly, I didn't use a system from the correct period to draft it--I didn't know they were available then (now I do).  Still, I love how this garment looks, and often wear it at work.

Other Things (articles, tutorials, and such):
  • The primary tutorial(s) were those for the buttons, all kept on the same page for ease of bookmarking.  I also did youtube videos for two of them, the last of which I'm nearly happy with.  Which also launched my youtube channel, Matsukaze Workshops.
  • The other main tutorial was for the banyan, which got a series of three articles covering the drafting and construction.  
  • A number of articles for my Featured Garment posts.  I didn't get as many done as I would have liked--was trying for every two weeks--but still did a lot of writing and research there.
  • My Numberless Doublet Drafting System, which is still in beta testing.  One of my goals for this year is to get the blasted thing tested for other body types and published!
  • The last thing would be digitizing and publishing my class notes for my Period Buttonholes Class--this also goes with a video tutorial for Elizabethan buttonholes for Lefties.
  • And for a project which doesn't really count, I made a rectangular construction linen shirt, for regular wear (at work, mostly).
  • I also seem to discovered I have a weird fetish for buttonholes.  Mainly because I feel that a correctly (for the specific time period!) worked buttonhole is a detail which can elevate a garment.
1568: Tailor from Das Ständebuch by Jost Amman
Finally, I have been working seriously on my handsewing--focusing on learning traditional tailoring (and trying to keep the different periods separate!), and learning to sew "tailorwise" or crosslegged as a longer term research project, and trying to discover /why/ it has been used since the late 14th century.  Some of the reasons I came up with are (in no particular order):
  1.  Warmth.  Your feet are tucked in, and lap covered with a bunch of fabric.
  2. Smaller footprint.  You don't take up much room, which is particularly important when lighting is at a premium.  You can even iron (or chisel buttonholes) on your knees, using a lap-board (done it a few times).
  3. When you are working a seam, you can pin the fabric to your knee or stocking to keep some tension on it.
  4. Your knee can be used as a form, when sewing or padstitching curves like collars or canvassing.

© John Frey, 2017. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this document for non-commercial private research or educational purposes provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.

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