attack_laurel (attack_laurel) wrote,

One stitch at a time

I've been slacking.  There are a number of things I need to do, but I've been sewing instead.  And I'm still sewing.  I got a gorgeous periwinkle blue Dupioni that is going to become yet another silk petticoat because a)  Low grade silk seems about correct for my class level, and b) It makes an awesome petticoat.

Hand-sewing doesn't even take all that much time, either.  I'm already hemming the third panel, and I only started sewing yesterday.  I'm using waxed silk, since linen tends to cut the silk apart, and I no longer use cotton/poly thread for anything I plan to wear at Gardiner's events.  

I've noticed a lot more people are moving towards full hand sewing, and it makes me feel all squishy - only a couple of years ago, people seemed terrified of the concept, and then I had about a year of people apologizing to me that their clothes weren't hand sewn (I don't mind, really - you can stop apologizing.  I really don't keep a score card).

(Well, not one based on that, anyway.)

But anyway - I like the trend, but no-one should feel obligated.  Costume is only a small part of the overall artistic work in the SCA, and if your thing is left-handed saddle widgets, then one can hardly begrudge a machine-sewn outfit.  I think there will probably come a point where enough people are hand-sewing their clothes that it will become a factor (though probably not a deciding factor for a long time) in consideration for a costume Laurel.

Uh, probably for Atlantia.  And probably not for quite a while.  But FYI, the more common something becomes, the more it becomes expected for certain levels of award.  Just so you know.  Besides, there will always be Laurels boycotting any advancement in expectations, so it's not a dealbreaker.

As for me, I just like the way it looks (better) - and the pattern shapes of period clothes are geared towards hand sewing.  There's a significant difference in pattern shaping pre- and post-sewing machine invention.  In many ways, the hand-sewing allows me to achieve the look I want more easily.  It's worth the extra time to have something I can continue to wear for years.

But back to my current petticoat - I'm going to try the waistband treatment that shows up in one of Jan Steen's paintings, and that is corroborated in Alcega's book.  I'll be gathering the top of the petticoat into a very narrow band, and stitching the pleats down on each side (rather than right through, utilizing two rows of stitching, rather than one).  

(This two-row stitching is speculative, but I live for experiments like this.)

I'm curious as to how the sewn pleats sit vs. cartridge pleating, which I'm becoming more and more convinced is reserved for attached bodice/petticoat arrangements only - where you won't want a big bulky amount of fabric that will distort the waistline.  I'm also curious as to whether the narrow band will roll under slightly, giving the appearance of a drawstring waist, because another of Jan Steen's paintings (yes, I need to scan the pics to show y'all) shows a woman with her bodies and petticoat clearly separate, since the waistline of the petticoat is 2-3 inches higher than the waist of the bodies, and shows through the opening in the lacing at the front (she is not wearing an apron), and looks for all the world like a drawstring waist.  But it's on a silk skirt, so I'm skeptible. 

Meaty stuff, this - I want to accumulate as much information as I can on the permutations of petticoats, bodies, and petticoat bodies, since I keep hearing about a current "absolute" that only petticoat bodies were worn, ever, and separate petticoats weren't done (which fails to explain the under petticoats, but these fads in costume research rarely seem completely logical).

While we're at it, this "they never dyed linen" idea is bugging me.  If they never dyed linen, why do I keep seeing Dutch paintings of linen aprons dyed yellow, green, and blue?  Sure, the colour is never as bright as it is with a protein-base fabric, but linen will take a dye.  Given the choice, I'd think most people would go with a little colour here and there.

But what do I know?

Back to the books...
Tags: costume, research, sca, sewing
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