Sunday, February 23, 2014

more ruffs!

Was it only just last year that we made some big circular figure eight ruffs?
Well, this year I think we will make more and just to keep things interesting, we are also making some straight grained ruffs.
Now, figuring these out is a lot easier as they are literally straight grain lengths of fabric, drawn up and sewn to a neck band.
One thing we did differently this year was the neckband. The change to our approach came out of not being able to find the right width of grosgrain! We wanted 1 1/4 inch wide but couldn't find any at the time, so what we did was zig together two 5/8 inch pieces, and mount them onto a 1 1/2 inch band. That meant there was a 1/4 inch left that we stitched another piece of grosgrain to, forming a flange that would tuck down inside the collar of the doublet.
Now we can attach the snaps to the flange piece...duh! why didn't we think of doing this last year? Oh well, live and learn! I love it when this kind of thing happens.

Here you can see the clever flange/band technique!

More descriptions and details to come........

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Dart manipulation and doublets

 I am making a few doublets this year and this one  happens to have horizontal lines of trim which means I will want to move my dart shaping to accommodate the design.

I started with an understructure that is seamed vertically and you can see the shaping that is built into it.
These doublets fit the body quite closely and I often opt for a more modern approach in the understructure, accommodating the body with darts or seaming. It is easier to fit this way and allows us to manipulate the outer fabric over the shape more akin to the period.

Once I have fit the understructure, I correct the pattern and in this case, manipulate the darts into horizontal lines which is where the trim will be featured. You can see that the front dart turns into very minimal darts into the side seam, and this will be easy to ease in. The back shoulder dart and the blade dart/seam reveal the greater amount of shaping required to fit the back of the body. This results in two seams horizontally in the upper back area as they are too large to ease in nicely. The centre back here is on the fold which is how the over layer will also be cut.
After I drew in my lines and double checked that I liked the placement, I then had to mark in the positions of the slashing, and get some samples of the slashing made to see whether the  slashes could just be straight cuts, or should be shaped cuts allowing more of the under colour to show through. The original concept had a flat red silk under the slashes, but it looked a little uninspired, so the designer asked for something with a bit more oomph, so we are experimenting with it here.

As I was getting this prepared for waiting hands, I was reminded about how much time it takes to prepare all the elements of the patterning as well as decoration and to cut all the pieces out. The sleeves also have this treatment of lines of trim with slashing in between and the silk underneath!  
Luckily I have very experienced team members who love the challenge of sampling and trying out ways to get the result we are after and it lets me focus on drawing out all the details.
Maybe a bit too much of the under silk here but it is headed in the right direction.

Monday, February 3, 2014

vintage shirt donation

I was walking by the office the other day and noticed a number of shirts, freshly laundered and just hanging on the back of the door.
It turns out that they were a donation.
These are old shirts.
I don't want to quite hazard a guess, without doing a bit of research, but I took some photos to show you. I want to say WWI era to 1920's but I am leaning towards earlier.
They are in very good to fair condition, the fabrics are still bright and crisp, and have been well taken care of.
They are French, as in from Paris, not Quebec.
The labels read David, 32 Ave de l'OPera, Paris. Each shirt has some kind of number hand embroidered in the side seam gusset, which I assume is for laundry services.
They are made with a combination of hand and machine stitching. The buttonholes are all hand made, the machine stitching is tiny tiny tiny- I bet more than 24 stitches per inch. I will have to get closer and count.
A variety of details:
Some of the shirts, such as this one, pull on over the head, some button up the front. One has a contrast bib front in a striped fabric. All have the small band collar made for wearing a detachable collar. This one has fullness gathered into the back yoke, and a small pieced section on the back of the sleeves. The cuffs are interfaced with something very stiff, I had to wet it and press with a hot iron to uncrumple them. I haven't taken any measurements but they are ample in the body, longer in the back and have small hand inserted gussets in the side seams. The seams in general are about .5mm wide, as is the hem.
The armholes are felled with quite a wide finish- 1.5cm or so by guessing.

Maybe someone out there has better sleuthing skills or more time to spend looking for information. I wonder when this business was  operating in this location?

More to come as I have them pressed up and measured.