Hopefully, a simple question on seams!

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Christabel
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Hopefully, a simple question on seams!

Postby Christabel » Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:33 pm

Hi - I'm handsewing a Tudor petticoat/kirtle using "The Tudor Tailor" and "Clothes of the Common Woman 1580-1660" by Jane Huggett. I've had great fun dyeing the cloth myself but have got stuck on a really simple point - when sewing up the skirt panels, you have to leave an opening at the front when attached to the bodice. Fine. What I've done in the past is have a seam up the front and simply left the top bit open, but I'm not happy with that this time. Do people sew up the seams and have them at the sides, cutting an opening in the cloth centrally below the bodice? It's not an area you normally see due to an apron, but still...



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Postby seamsmistress » Tue Jul 29, 2008 11:09 pm

The opening in the skirt is generally in line with the opening of the bodice, so I'm guessing your kirtle/petticoat is front opening, especially as you mention aprons.

Looking at the pattern outline on page 69 TT, it says 'cut opening to match bodice' and shows a vertical slash 10 inches long.

We cut the front and the back on the fold of the cloth, cutting the slash at CF as described, although I generally work on 7" long, as this adds 14" to the waist measure which is generous for most hips! I then cut a wool facing panel, 4" wide and 9" long. This is pressed in half lengthwise and the slash of the skirt pinned to the foldline, right sides together. Then stitch round the slash at 1/4" from raw edge of slash, bringing the stitching to a sharp point just below the bottom of the slash [looks like an arrow head} and back up the other side. Then the facing is cut along the slash line in the skirt, the facing pressed to the back and the edges of the facing stitched down. And voila, a neat and tidy opening into the skirt without a centre seam.

Hope this helps.



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Postby Christabel » Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:31 pm

Thanks so much! I must admit I had to read the message five or so times but light has dawned! (I think I must be a visual learner...)
That's a really helpful idea, and it's good to know not to cut the full 10cm slit. I can now go off to sew it all together feeling a lot more cheerful.

:D :D :D



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Annie the Pedlar
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Postby Annie the Pedlar » Wed Jul 30, 2008 2:53 pm

At Kentwell we have covered the whole of the C16th.
The style of the dress changes with the status and age of the wearer and the decade.
Then there's the word petticoat. It's confusing because it can be a petticoat in the sense of what I wore under my Marylin Munroe dress in the 50's (but longer of course) or it can be what I call an under kirtle - a skirt worn under a gown that has a split skirt that reveals the underkirtle.
(The under kirtle can be a kirtle that goes under the gown (and I have a theory that's what it ought to be) but that's adding to the confusion so forget it).
It might be you are just making a skirt that you will attach to a bodice/pair of bodies to make a kirtle.

So......
if it's a petticoat that's a linen skirt to be worn under a kirtle to give it shape and let you kirtle up then the slit is best at the side.
If your skirt is part of a Henrican kirtle that has a flapover the bust or otherwise does up at the side then the skirt opening can be at the side (and to confuse you again it can be centre front if you have your bodies lacing up the front then covered with a side closing flap.)
If it's an underkirtle to be worn under a gown (which could look like a coat), a gentry then merchant fashion, then it ought to fasten at the side.
You want the front to look nice.
If it's late C16th separate bodice and skirt, it looks nicer fastening at the side.
If it's a skirt sewn on to a front lacing bodice I just slash 7" centre front from the waist, turn the raw edges under and hem down. It does leave a weak point at the base of the slash which the seamstresses' facing solves.
However I was told there was no evidence for facings.
Some ladies don't like the unslightly gap and ask for a placket (a gap covering flap at the back of the slit) to cover it but in pictures there are no plackets, there are just unsightly gaps.

Hope that helps :twisted:
Annie


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Postby Sophia » Wed Jul 30, 2008 8:16 pm

Following up on Annie's comments, I have not found any evidence for the use of separate petticoats on a tape waistband before the early 1600's for commoners only for Gentry (over farthingales particularly drum ones).

Also I am not convinced by the separate bodies and skirts for commoners in the latter part of the century. I think they are more likely to have worn a canvas bodied petticoat with a separate bodies and sleeves, or doublet bodice over it.

On the kirtle/petticoat issue it seems to be a variation of terminology with dependent on class and period and by the late 1500's kirtle is, from my research, a more Gentry term whereas petticoat is a term used for the same garment in a commoner (comparable cloth combinations and quantities would seem to confirm this.

I am assuming from your original comments that you are aiming for late 1500's so you might find the following useful. However, please bear in mind it represents my interpretation of personal research and other peoples work.

For my 1588 Tailor's wife's outfit this year I made a side lacing canvas bodied petticoat (double layer of heavy flax canvas on front, single on back and lined with unbleached linen on bodies) with a madder dyed Norwich stuff skirt lined with lightweight cream wool. It had a flat waist, busk pocket, and lacing and slits both sides. Thus the skirt seams and thus the slits were at the side. I then made a stomacher in the skirt fabric (interlined with flax canvas and lined with unbleached linen) with a shallow point which I could wear pinned to the front of the bodice.

Over this I wore a fixed sleeved front lacing gown in Stuart Peachey's russet, again without boning. The front of the bodies had a shallow point and was interlined with a double layer of the same flax canvas I used for the petticoat bodies and the back with a single layer. To stop movement in the front layers I stitched the two layers of canvas together in a the same pattern I would have used for bents. The bodies and sleeves were lined with unbleached linen and the skirts with lightweight cream wool. the fastening was soldered brass rings (sewn on for spiral lacing and obtained from Annie) and a black silk lace with riveted brass aiglets. This allowed me to my lace petticoat loosely when I wanted too and then leave the gown front open an inch or so displaying the stomacher and setting off the valuable (for the period) silk lace

I wore this outfit daily at the Kentwell Main Event for the whole three weeks and though I did wrinkle a little (particularly when sitting) it was not over hot for the role I was playing (no heavy labour involved) and the silhouette was correct.

Before I make another one I will be revisiting my pattern for the canvas bodies of my petticoat to deal with a couple of small issues.

a) The fit of the bodice needs to be improved. I am considering moving the side seams/openings on the petticoat bodies further back towards the centre back seam. I am hope that this will reduce the degree of wrinkling.

b) The slits on the petticoat's skirt gape too much for my liking, which means I would not currently be comfortable wear this petticoat under a doublet bodice. When I redo the bodice I will rearrange the knife pleats in the skirt which I hope will solve this. If it does not I will probably add a couple of hooks and eyes (also obtained from Annie). I have used this solution with a front lacing commoner's petticoat with matching lace in sleeves On this petticoat the seam is actually centre front/back as it was made in a hurry.

N.B. if you do cut a slit in the front of the skirt you can reenforce the bottom of the slit in a number of ways, either by working close buttonhole stitch at the point in a matching coloured thread or by sewing a small triangular patch behind it (best made by folding a square of fabric in half diagonally and turning the edges in before sewing it on).

Soph :D


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Postby Mad Mab » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:29 am

Sophia wrote:
For my 1588 Tailor's wife's outfit this year I made a side lacing canvas bodied petticoat (double layer of heavy flax canvas on front, single on back and lined with unbleached linen on bodies) with a madder dyed Norwich stuff skirt lined with lightweight cream wool. It had a flat waist, busk pocket, and lacing and slits both sides. Thus the skirt seams and thus the slits were at the side. I then made a stomacher in the skirt fabric (interlined with flax canvas and lined with unbleached linen) with a shallow point which I could wear pinned to the front of the bodice.

Over this I wore a fixed sleeved front lacing gown in Stuart Peachey's russet, again without boning. The front of the bodies had a shallow point and was interlined with a double layer of the same flax canvas I used for the petticoat bodies and the back with a single layer. To stop movement in the front layers I stitched the two layers of canvas together in a the same pattern I would have used for bents. The bodies and sleeves were lined with unbleached linen and the skirts with lightweight cream wool. the fastening was soldered brass rings (sewn on for spiral lacing and obtained from Annie) and a black silk lace with riveted brass aiglets. This allowed me to my lace petticoat loosely when I wanted too and then leave the gown front open an inch or so displaying the stomacher and setting off the valuable (for the period) silk lace

I wore this outfit daily at the Kentwell Main Event for the whole three weeks and though I did wrinkle a little (particularly when sitting) it was not over hot for the role I was playing (no heavy labour involved) and the silhouette was correct.



Soph :D


Pictures, pictures, pictures :D
Weirdly coincidental that I am working on a similar outfit with a madder dyed petticoat upperbodied with natural linen and linen canvas and a russet overkirtle whatsit. 'Cept I have no intention of lining the skirts, partly cause I'm an 'umble northern working lass and partly because I'll pass out from the heat and there's no stomacher for me because I'll either lose it or something will eat it :lol:
Have it all planned out, have all the material. Now if only I could get up the nerve to actually cut the bl**dy stuff :oops: The whole madder dyeing bit is giving me coniptions as well but it has to be done.


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Christabel
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Postby Christabel » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:40 am

This is fascinating stuff, and I wonder if it could be possible to people to meet up for a best-practice type day to pore over various costumes and discuss techniques for those who are unable to Kentwell! (I am following a simple pattern as I don't want to look too high status for where the kirtle/petticoat is going to be worn, but without seeing what others do I can't make too progress much on my own.) We have a Learning Room at our museum where we could hold a session, and we have a good costume collection that can be viewed in the stores, though sadly not with 16th century items - the bulk of it is 18th century.
I'm just aware that Herefordshire is a long way from most people!



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Postby Jenn » Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:57 pm

I think we probably line too much- look the museum of london book on material finds from the 14/15 cent for example however it can be difficult getting fabric heavy enough.
I'm with Annie on what our dresses should look like (and I suspect the unslightly gap was simply covered up with an apron a lot of the time)
I think the trick with reducing wrinkle is to cut it tight enough (and then a bit tighter) cartainly this worked for my medieval dress which has a linen underdress/kirtle (oh whatever) and then a gown.



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Annie the Pedlar
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Postby Annie the Pedlar » Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:22 pm

Here's a bit of experimental archeology.

The ballad of a wanabee Tudor Teenager.

I woke up this morning......
In the foggy, foggy dew.
I walked through the wetted grass
and to reach the dairy.
Oh woe, oh woe is me,
Being a poor poor student
I only wore a shift and a kirtle.
The backs of my legs were sorely whipped
by the rain soaked hem of my dress
and they were red raw.
My tears fell into my cream
and the butter would not turn.

The ballard of the wise old pedlar

I woke up this morning
and dressed in a seemly manner as instructed by my elders and betters.
I donned, shift, petticoat and kirtle.
I saw the foggy foggy dew, lifted my skirts and kirtled up.
Oh what a merry multicoloured sight
And I saw fellows' gaze drawn to my shapely ankles.
I got to Market clean and dry
and smiled all day
as I sold my wares.

With the Kentwell thing it did start years ago and a lot of research has been done since. The Kentwell costume police had to compromise and go for looks right over is right or they wouldn't have had the people they do taking part. There is the question of cost and paucity of time in which to get a costume made especially if you have never held a needle before.

On the is a petticoat a skirt or a dress...........one bitter Easter I wore a substantial wool kirtle over a thin wool kirtle and it worked a treat.
Think putting a coat over a dress.
I have to add that this Easter which was thick with snow, 2 kirtles, a jacket and a cloak did nothing to lift my spirits after my feet had got wet.
So my next project will be thinking more deeply about the shoes.

Annie


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Postby Sophia » Thu Jul 31, 2008 1:43 pm

You want pattens not shoes for foul weather, nothing like an inch or so of wood between you and the mud/slush/snow. They are something which is on my project list for this winter (Annie - we must get together).

Also if you do not line skirts or line with wool rather than linen your skirts do not pick up the damp in the same way. If you are a commoner then skirts no longer than the ankle bone also helps.

Finally, get knitting/sewing and make your own woollen half hose depending on the year - same principal as with the linings, wool doesn't wick moisture as much as linen (protein versus cellulose fibres).

Soph :D


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Postby Jenn » Thu Jul 31, 2008 4:58 pm

Nothing would have made us warm this easter - not even my gown was warm and it is boiling normally ..abolutely Annie dress, coat but this goes back to my point that we've got used to wearing not enough clothes and the whole Kentwell petticoat compromise was a way of ensuring that everyone wore and looked like they were wearing enough clothes.
Sophia - the closer to me the clothing is ..linen..the further away wool (unless I'm being really posh in which case oh fur and silk just cos)




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