Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Young Lady's Hemd - Pattern and Measurements

To begin with, the pattern I'm using doesn't require too many of my daughter's specific measurements other than her height and width (shoulder to shoulder).  There is another possible pattern that I could be using, but I'm afraid it doesn't fit some of the female clothing styles that I've been finding (i.e., Cranach, etc.), therefore, at least for my daughter's hemd, I'm using my original pattern.  Her other measurements can be used later as the hemd is in progress, which definitely helps in the production of children's clothing.  They don't like to stand around getting measured any more than adults do.

I took a regular white cotton fabric and, using the 45" side (the narrow edge), I measured across the balls of her shoulders from the front and multiplied that by three.  This is what I used for the front panel measurement.  Then I used the same measurements for the back panel, therefore, making two identical rectangles.

She's getting wide enough in the shoulders that I can't simply fold the 45" fabric in half (as I was wont to do when she was a toddler), but at least I can use the excess left over from cutting the rectangles to make the sleeves and gussets.  In fact, with my daughter's current size, I made a front rectangle, two 3/4 sleeves and two gussets from the same length of material. The gusset in the image to the right is larger than what I am actually going to use.  I will show by how much in another post.  I determined the size of the sleeves by draping the excess fabric over her the top of her shoulder and making sure there was enough room under the armpit that she could move freely.  I then added more material that I could adjust later.  This was really a guesstimate more than anything.

When cutting out the rectangles, the back panel of her dress left a long rectangular panel of material as excess, but I can use that in another project.  I'm not going to waste fabric any more than they would have in period, but I digress.  Back to her hemd.  After I measured her width, I took the fabric and measured her length from the top of her shoulders to the floor making sure to account for seams and hems (I have it nearly 6 inches extra and pooling on the floor, but I determined it would be easier to make it shorter than longer and the extra length could be let out in the future as she gets taller!)

Btw, some people swear by cutting fabric with scissor and I'm afraid I'm not one of them.  I tore the fabric along the 'cut lines' instead of using scissors.  All of the lines are actually straight after I tug at them diagonally (on the bias) and bring them back into order.  It's more expedient this way without sacrificing the end product.  I will say though that the excess 'strings' that come with this method can sometimes be weird, but eventually they don't matter at all.

Oh, and for those of you that don't know (and I had to learn the hard way), there's a 'stretchy' direction on fabric, a non-stretchy direction and a really stretchy direction .  If you grab a piece of material that still has the selvage, hold it in your hands so that the selvage is horizontal and give the material a few good tugs.  It shouldn't go anywhere and should be tight.  Don't just do it on the selvage, move a few inches down and with the fabric in the same orientation, give a few more tugs.  It doesn't stretch.  Yet if you turn the fabric 90 degrees and do the same tugging, the fabric stretches, even if only a little bit.  This is the stretchy length of the fabric.  The third direction, where you'd turn the fabric 45 degrees gives you the bias and it's really stretchy this direction.  I've been given to understand that the variations in the fabrics stretchiness is based on the warp and weft.  Without getting too technical, in weaving the warp threads are on the ones on the loom under great tension and the weft are the threads on the wound shuttle that you put through the warped threads.  Therefore, in the fabric the warp refers to the threads that run with the selvage or the non-stretchy length and the weft are the others, the slightly stretchy side.  I hope this is clearer than mud. :D

Next time, putting it all together...

... and I found an interesting article on Pleatwork Embroidery's website on a 15th century Pleatwork Hemd by Baroness Rainillt de Bello Marisco (for when I'm feeling adventurous...).

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