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ValTarrant
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More beginner's questions...

Post by ValTarrant »

Hi

I've been lurking for sometime but now I have my shift cut out and ready to sew and would like to ask about seams. I'm planning to sew the shift by hand and thought I would use a run and fell seam. I am working from the Medieval Tailor's Assistant and the book suggests that you use a running stitch along the fitting line and then turn over the allowance and hem into place. My first question is: is a running stitch strong enough for a shift or would I be better using back stitch?

My other questions are about the tailed cap: The instructions suggest that the tails should be 75 cm long. This seems very long to me as one 75cm length of cloth is enough to go round my head and knot. Has any who has made up the cap got any suggestions before I actually cut the cloth out? Also would it be really bad if the cap and tails were cut out seperately and then sewn together? My problem is that what I thought was 3 m of linen actually turned out to be 3 yds after I had washed it and my original cutting plan went to pot!

Regards

Val

PS I really enjoy reading the detailed research into costume that goes on in the Forum and am grateful that people are willing to share their work.

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sally
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Post by sally »

A running stitch should be fine, make sure you use good thread and don't make your stitches too big!
The nice thing with run and fell is the hemming down bit also strengthens the seam, so you are effectively sewing it twice, should be tough enough for a lot of wear and tear, plus a shift is a loose garment so its not as if it will be put to the same stresses as say a pair of fitted trouses would :D

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Alice the Huswyf
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Post by Alice the Huswyf »

Val, it is an excellent book, but has to have the most generalised dimensions to allow for all sizes of reader's heads. She may be cutting for a double wrap to fasten behind the head.

My head is quite small (although it houses a brain/ego the size of a small planet) so I would cut them to tie and fit well round my head. Or cut the tails to cross behind your head and meet centre front with a small bow - rabbit coif style. A rabbit-eared coif should make smallish, discrete loops - you shouldn't look like a medieval bunny girl!

Easier still, hem a large square of fabric, fold it in half diagonally, tie behind your head and either tuck all ends in under the knot, or tuck the back end in and wind the two long ends, wrap them round your head and tie and tuck under over your head at centre front - tied coif.

Also if you are short of fabric, then 'make do and mend'. If people - even as late as the '50's - didn't have enough fabric to make a garment in one, then you would find a discrete matching of two pieces in a back panel of a garment. Even earlier in history large pieces of fabric were at a greater premium and so 'piecing' would be even more common. If you are short of fabric, cut the tails separately and attach them at the required angle. Don't forget to reinforce the attachment seam, as it will be under greater strain.

As to pre-shrinking - absolutely sensible - better to find out that you have too little before cutting out (while you stilll have SOME room for manouever) than to find out after wear and washing that it is now too little ! I always buy an extra yard - especially with linen. You can always swap large remnant with others later if it is not used, but it is amazing how useful the remnants do come in. Never underestimate the usefullness of bags, extra aprons, spare sleeves or another hood.

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sally
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Post by sally »

I'm a great believer in hemming any square or rectangular offcuts, its a good thing to do in slack moments around camp and they can be used for so many things from emergency headcoverings to teatowels to food covers to wiping sticky urchins etc etc, no such thing as waste with a length of linen :D Even the smallest little pouches come in handy to disguise modern clobber in an otherwise 'authenti' box, nothing worse than opening a box to have a pile of teabags looking back at you for example

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Tuppence
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Post by Tuppence »

I'd suggest experimenting with the tails - see what works for you, then do that. cutting them separately is no problem at all - they wouldn't have demoted the offcuts to kitchen cloths if they could piece it together - loads of examples of it.

well done on pre shrinking everything - I learnt to do that the hard way when I first started making my own kit :lol:

and riunning stitch is fine for a shift - as said, no real strain, plus with run and fell it's not only double stitched, the way it's double stitched makes it the strongest seam there is. My norman underdress is done with felled running sewn seams, and that's into it's 12th season now. never had to mend a seam. the hem, on the other hand (but that's not my stitching at fault, the fabric's worn away!!)
"What a lovely hat! But may I make one teensy suggestion? If it blows off, don't chase it."
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Alice the Huswyf
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Post by Alice the Huswyf »

Pshaw - she cut it short to snag a fiance!

ValTarrant
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Post by ValTarrant »

Thanks for the responses and suggestions - the reasurances about the running stitch are great.

RE the tailed cap: Thanks for the suggestions. I've tried various ways of wearing a square and a rectangular piece of cloth round my head but I don't like how I look with no hair showing round my face. I'm hoping that the tailed cap will be less severe.

Regards

Val

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DeviantShrub
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Post by DeviantShrub »

ValTarrant wrote:but I don't like how I look with no hair showing round my face. I'm hoping that the tailed cap will be less severe.
May I humbly suggest that you don't worry about what you look like in a conventional modern sense. Good headgear (like good shoes) is that finishing touch that make re-enacment kit look 'real' IMO and the overall effect will make it worth the sacrifice.

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Tuppence
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Post by Tuppence »

Pshaw - she cut it short to snag a fiance!
hah - you just look at it sometime and tell me if it's been cut.....

besides - had him when it still had a hem
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Alice the Huswyf
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Post by Alice the Huswyf »

....and how high was said hem?

As to looking C21st aesthetically pleasing when in kit, well it won't happen. Not even in me cross period gorgeousness (again no fringe). It happens. I think I look like a constipated ferret in mine, but MoP children still talk to me.

I rather enjoyed one comment when someone wandered past after hours and expressed surprise at the youthful colour of my hair - they could only see the grey escapees during the day.
Last edited by Alice the Huswyf on Wed May 16, 2007 8:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Tuppence
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Post by Tuppence »

....and how high was said hem?
before or after I added the bit on the bottom when it shrank :x

s'ok though - the 21st c stuff'd get covered up by the wind and sun burn anyway...
"What a lovely hat! But may I make one teensy suggestion? If it blows off, don't chase it."
Miss Piggy
RIP Edward the avatar cat.

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