Friday, February 16, 2018

Plainsewing in Depth

Being the Class Notes/Synopsis of my class taught at St. Boniface Collegium (UAF) last November.

This class was intended to go over each of the sixteen or so different stitches I could think of, what uses they are most suited for, and how to choose your thread and wax...I didn't quite manage to get that all into the actual class since we kept running off on tangents. I had also anticipated more beginners in the class, rather than leading a class mostly containing experienced seamstresses. The goal of the class—and even more with this article--is to pass on some of the tips and tricks I've gleaned over the last few years of doing a fair amount of handsewing; both in SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism…pre-1603) and more modern sewing and tailoring, and to help make things easier for other historical costumers who want to do more in the way of handsewing. By no means is this article exhaustive and as I think of or learn more stitches, I will update.  Originally, I also intended to provide documentation for each stitch for each period (if it was used); I eventually decided to not do so because it turned out to be a lot more difficult and a more of a massive undertaking than I anticipated and I wanted to actually get the article published someday soon.


To start with, I will cover the required three tools and materials for handsewing and one optional one--this list does not include the fabric. Needle, thread, wax, and I highly recommend a thimble (semi-optional).

As you can see, I store my needles in an old Belgian Ale cork.
The jewelry pliers are helpful for sewing through many layers
and when your fingers start slipping.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Comfort At Home, a Historical Sew Monthly Inspiration Post

I am fairly confident in saying that throughout history, people have wanted to be comfortable in their home, especially when the weather outside is...less than pleasant.  So, the challenge for March is Comfort at Home.

The official definition is to "Make something to wear around the (historical) house".  We were having some issues with wording there...  What this means is clothing which would primarily be worn in the informal comfort of your own home, rather than out in public, and certainly not to a formal event!  Don't just think physically comfortable, but mentally as well--is there some historical thing which you find soothing (which involves sewing)? 
We do encourage you to think outside the box--do some  research, argue your point, and odds are that you will get by with it!

I jump around a good bit in this post rather than organizing by theme and gender (which is my preference), but the ideas which help more for earlier periods are towards the end.

Kimono Dressing Gown, 1885
FIDM Museum, 80.40.1