Posts Tagged sewing

Reversible Green/Black + Red/White Doublet for Gregor

20 July 2011

After a busy couple of days filled with “real life” activities, I’ve finally managed to (mostly) complete the reversible doublet (or jerkin, as it has no arms right now) for Gregor. Again, I used the same Simplicity 4059 pattern as I did for my son’s doublet and I’m very pleased at how it turned out. It’s not yet complete — I need to add the trim around the peplum, slip-stitch the red linen bottom down, and hand-sew the eyelets. As that is all handwork, I’m saving it for the late evenings when I’m just hanging out with Gregor or playing D&D. The red you can see on the edges of the peplum on the green side should get mostly covered by the black trim.


A Golden Doublet for My Little Pirate

17 July 2011

A golden doublet!

The doublet for my son turned out VERY well, and I’m extremely pleased with it. The Simplicity pattern was just as good as the one I used for my Tudor gown — easy to understand directions, simple construction techniques, and a great looking (and well-put-together) garment when completed. I was able to use the tablet-woven band Alexander worked on on the front, and supplemented it with red grosgrain ribbon. I was also able to make it reversible, so Alexander can wear the red linen side out if he prefers. And, I while it is loose on him (he’ll be able to wear this for several years), I think it still looks pretty good. I did end up shortening the bottom by about 3-4″, however, as it was just much too long on him.

I also put in a special “kid-friendly” feature — a hidden pocket behind the front right peplum! In addition to loving pirates and gold, Alexander loves pockets. I’m going to hide a gold doubloon in there and see how long it takes him to find it.

A "hidden" pocket behind one of the peplums

I still need to finish the eyelets — I’m working on those now. I’ll take a photo of Alexander wearing his entire “pirate” outfit as soon as I get a chance. I’ll also try to take some better photos when it’s not so dark. Tomorrow will be a busy day with non-SCA stuff, so I may not get to my Garb-A-Day goal, but I guess that just means I’ll have to double up on another day.

Here’s the progress on the eyelets — they take a long time!

A Pirate Shirt for My Son (Shh… It’s Really an Elizabethan!)

15 July 2011

My 6-year-old announced yesterday that he’d like me to make him a pirate outfit to wear at Pennsic. I’d already explained to him on several occasions that pirates weren’t really what we were going for. Then he proceeded to show me a pirate fact book he has that shows that pirates were around in the time period that the SCA covers. Sure enough, he was right. Since he did “research” and is attempting to satisfy the “rules” of the SCA, I feel I should try to make him something a pirate would wear. Of course, his idea of what a pirate would wear (think Jack Sparrow) is different than what a pirate actually wore. But I just wasn’t sure what to make him that he’d like, that would be reasonably accurate, and wouldn’t be time-consuming to construct.

So I asked the helpful folks over at SCA-Garb and they came through with several ideas for me! The first idea is to make him an Elizabethan shirt, as they are similar to “poet” shirts that are commonly depicted on pirates in popular media. Plus, pirate captains were mostly nobles or gentlemen (how else could they afford a ship and crew?), and it’s likely captains during Elizabethan times work similar shirts. I looked about and found a web site that had a shirt pattern from The Museum of Costume, circa 1585-1600. Perfect! I adapted it to my son’s measurements and, with the approval of my son, went to work!

Alexander tries on the shirt

We did change two things from the pattern. For one, we didn’t do blackwork, but did use some gold thread around the collar and the shirt bottom. My son LOVES anything gold, and in his mind it goes along with being a pirate (gold, gold pieces, treasure, get it?). Sure, it’s not accurate, but who cares! Also, I put lacing at the top of the shirt to help it fit him better, as I’d made it larger than necessary so the shirt would be wearable for longer.

Actually, now that I think about it, I made two more changes — no drawstrings at the neck and wrists and no slits on the side. But other than all that, it’s the same as the pattern … including neckline gores! Those are a first for me.






Here’s what the shirt looks like now that it’s all done:

A shirt fit for a swashbuckler!


And here is a close-up look at the eyelets and collar:

Spiral lacing on the Elizabethan shirt

I can’t wait to show Alexander the finished shirt in the morning! Update: He loves the shirt .. and looks quite dashing in it!

And that completes today’s Garb-A-Day goal … yay!

Dragon Army Tunic for Gregor

14 July 2011

Gregor's new red tunic

In keeping with my Garb-A-Day project, I completed Gregor’s red tunic yesterday and I’m very pleased with how it turned out. I used the Bochsten Man’s tunic for the pattern (customized to Gregor’s measurements, of course) in red, unlined linen. I added some of my tablet-woven trim around the neckline and wrists (what I call the “Dragon Army” trim, hence the name I’m giving to this tunic). I’m really impressed at how nice the trim looks on the red!

That was all nice, but I decided the tunic needed a little something extra, so I added the white band of guarding around the bottom. I think it’s going to look great on him! Red and white are his chosen colors — when he decides on a device, it will employ those colors. I can’t wait to take a picture of him actually wearing it!

Note: The tunic will drape much better on Gregor’s tall frame with broad shoulders. I just put it on my dressform so I could take a better picture of it (though I did turn it around so no curvy bits would show!)

Tablet-woven trim around the neck and wrists White guarding around the bottom

Garb-a-Day Project: Push for Pennsic!

12 July 2011

We now have exactly three weeks before we hope to depart for Pennsic. And between the three of us, we each have maybe 1-2 outfits appropriate for camping.

Whoooop! Whoooop! Whoooop! (those would be emergency sirens!)

It’s time to crackdown and make our garb! So I’m setting a goal for myself — one piece of garb a day for the next three weeks. I’ve even made myself a little schedule…

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Cauls x 2 Cotton Smock Tissue Linen Smock Red “Dragon Army” Tunic (G) White Linen Elizabethan Shirt (A) Fitted Breeches (A) Drawstring Pants (G)
Gold Doublet (A) Nothing! Full day of mundane stuff. Apron Green/Red Doublet (G) Blue Tunic (G) Tissue Linen Smock and White Shirt (G) No sewing — took a break and made benches
No sewing — took break and stained benches Red/Brown Kirtle + Hat Red Schlappe Hat Light Blue/Dark Blue Kirtle Tie-On Sleeves x2 and Partlet x2 Plum/Black Overdress (OR a Kirtle instead … still deciding) Tunic? Smock? Understuff?
Cloaks (maybe), hems Whatever else I didn’t finish DEPART FOR PENNSIC!

There we go…. if I meet my goal each day, I will have enough garb for the three of us for Pennsic! I think this is doable — I’ve done each of these things in one day before, and I certainly didn’t spend all day doing them (which is good, as I’ve got my day job to do, too!) If I am good, I will move a little ahead in my schedule and buy myself some extra time so I’m not sewing sleeves the night before we leave.

I must turn this stash into wearable garb!

Can I actually do it? Well, as I’m big on goals and rewards, here’s my plan. Each day I complete my goal, I’ll cross it out on the chart above and post about it on Facebook and/or here on my blog, to keep myself honest. And if I complete my goal, my reward is some truly awesome thing from a Pennsic merchant — not sure what I’d get yet, as I need to see what they are selling, but I’ll know when I see it.

I just placed a big order for linen from (theyir new doggie bags came out today — good discounts!)

So, here we go … today’s goal: a smock for me made of tissue linen (it’s already prewashed and ready for cutting).

How to Sew a Flat-Felled Seam (Making a Shade Canopy)

22 June 2011

To make our shade canopy, I needed to join two large 9′ x 12′ pieces of heavy canvas together. My research indicated a “flat-felled” seam would be the strongest for this type of sewing. The idea behind it is that it makes the join stronger  because two lines of stitches get run through each piece of fabric (plus it hides the raw edges to prevent them from unraveling). It took a while to wrap my head around how to do this seam, so once I figured it out, I took photos of each step. Here’s how to do a flat-felled seam:

1. Place your two pieces of fabric (right sides together), but allow the bottom piece to stick out 1/2″ longer than the top piece. Stitch the two pieces together 1″ from the bottom piece (1/2″ from the top piece), as shown below:

Lay two pieces of fabric together, with the bottom extending out by 1/2" inch, and sew a line of stitching 1" in from the edge.


2. Flip the bottom piece out from under so the seam is lying flat, like this:

Flip the bottom piece out from under the top piece and lay flat


3. Lay the longer flap of the bottom piece over the shorter flap of the top piece, like this:

Lay the longer flap over the shorter flap


4. Now fold the longer flap over the shorter flap, and press flat, like this:


Fold the longer flap over the shorter flap


5. Sew a line to stitching to hold down the flap, like this:

Sewing the flap down


This is what the flat-felled seam looks like when finished:

A flat-felled seam

By the way, if you’re working with huge pieces of canvas as I am, you’ll find it difficult to maneuver all that material. So what I did was rolled up one edge of the canvas so it would fit into the sewing machine, and it worked very well. Here’s how I did it, in case it helps anyone else who is attempting to sew canvas with a regular, home sewing machine:

Roll or fold up one side of your material to sew the seam


By the way, I used a size 18 needle and extra-strength thread, and adjusted the tension on my sewing machine a bit, and it worked like a charm. No broken needles!

A Shade Fly for Pennsic: Ideas and Links

17 June 2011

Among my wish list for Pennsic is a shade fly to put out in front of the pavilion. What is a shade fly? Basically, a shade fly is a piece of canvas that is suspended with wood and ropes to provide a shaded area. I want one because I know I’ll prefer to spend my time outside (it’s supposed to be hot at Pennsic!) but I’m super sun-sensitive, so I need shade. A shade fly is my answer.

First, I checked to see how much a shade fly would cost from one of the pavilion suppliers. Panther Primitives wants $203 for a 14′ x 14′ fly made with 10 oz. Sunforger (cheapest option) — and that’s without poles/ropes, which are $174 extra. Plus shipping costs on top of that, so I’d be looking at $450 or even $500.

Second, I looked at how much it would cost to buy Sunforger canvas by the yard to construct it myself. I found 36″ wide 10 oz. Sunforger canvas for $6.25 yard. Since I wanted at least a 12′ x 15′ shade fly, that would be $125 + shipping for 20 yards of 10 oz. Sunforger. Still a little more than I want to pay right now. Perhaps in the future when I feel more secure in my fly/tent-making skills.

Third, I checked out alternate canvas sources. Joann’s has outdoor canvas for $20/yard — too expensive! Cotton duck canvas is $13/yard  — still too much. Even cotton twill is $5 yard, and I don’t know how well that would even work. Looking around online, I see people have had success with heavy-duty painter’s canvas drop cloths. Lowe’s has  9′ x 12′ 10 oz. cotton canvas drop cloths for $20. They aren’t “boat shrunk” like the Sunforger stuff, but I could pre-shrink them by washing them several times in hot water. And two put together — after sewing edges and reinforcing the center — would give me a shade fly of about 11′ x 16′.

So, after thinking about it quite a lot, I decided to get the drop cloths. They’re in the washing mashine now, shrinking, before I begin sewing. While I was at Lowe’s, I also got a 2″ x 4″ x 12′ ridge pole, some 2″ x 2″ x 8′ poles (8), lag screws (8), 10″ steel nails (10), and rope.

But now that I have it all, I realize I don’t see how I’m going to put this shade fly up by myself! I’m strong, but not that tall … and this is tall and big. I think I’m going to need to sew the fly (including grommets), attache the lag screws to the tops of the poles, and then wait for Gregor to come in July before we assemble and test it. He’s tall — he can help!

Here’s my inspiration for my shade fly, and about what I want it to look like:

A Simple Shade Fly

In the meantime, here are some useful links about shade fly construction:

Tent Information/Research (this is the main inspiration for my shade fly — post is about 1/2 way down by asbrand)

Shade Fly 101 by Maestra Giovanna

Shade Fly by Adventures of a Wanna-Be Seamstress