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New Garb for Pennsic

July 14, 2011

As usual, with Pennsic approaching, it’s time for a sewing frenzy!  I actually started a couple of weeks ago and made a new white linen undershirt for the Hubs out of a piece of linen we had left over from the last time around.  I had originally thought that I wasn’t going to make anything significant, but then after wearing a couple of my lightweight cotehardies, I thought about how comfortable and easy they were to wear in hot weather.  As previously noted, I made a purchase from fabrics-store.com that arrived last week, and I got the Hedge Green washed and ironed but didn’t get any farther because the computer fiasco was occupying my mind.

Without a computer of my own this week, I’ve been able to turn my attention to the sewing plans.  Monday, I laid out the pattern pieces for the cotehardie.  I’m able to get this pattern out of about 4 yards of 58-inch wide fabric, as long as I don’t flare the bottoms of the panels too much.  Here are the first four panels of the dress.  From left to right – front, front side, back side and back.  Reversing this layout will give me the other four panels.  This could also be cut as two layers, but I don’t have luck getting even pieces that way, as the fabric tends to shift on me.  The sleeve pieces and neckline facing are added at the bottom, all still within a space of about 4 yards.

Tuesday, I cut out the pieces.

Wednesday, I started sewing and got the 8 panels assembled together.  I also spent some time with the remainder of the fabric cutting out the pieces for a 12th-century undertunic for the Hubs to wear with the green tunic he has been making himself.  He made the tunic for the last fall Crown Tournament and then started doing some embroidery for this past spring Tournament.  He has the embroidery done, but still has to put one band on.  This is a simple pattern, with the body cut as one piece and the lower arms added on.  This time, I cut the lower arms as two pieces to use the fabric efficiently, so there will be a seam down the forearm, but I think that’s ok.  Period sewing was often done with pieces and parts as the fabric allowed, and most fabric was much narrower than the large widths we have access to today.

Today (Thursday) I worked on attaching the sleeves to my cotehardie, which only took two tries!  I got the seams lined up correctly, but once again the registration marks for orienting the sleeve properly didn’t seem to work out.  I had way more ease at the back of the arm than over the top where it should be.  I ended up taking the sleeve out most of the way – leaving it attached at the back seam so I didn’t have to worry about lining that up again – and then shifting the ease around to the top.  Hopefully this will alleviate the problem I’ve had in the past of the dress wanting to pull off my shoulders because of the structure of the sleeves.  I also sewed up the front seam of the dress to the level I want the opening to be – about bellybutton level.  I still need to put in the neck facing, but I’m waiting until I see if I have the arms aligned correctly before I do that.  Please don’t mind the stains on my ironing board – I really need to get a new padded cover!

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