I tried three time to do the pattern on myself, but failed miserably each time. Then, in a blog comment to Heidi over at Medieval Threads (who was also going through the cloth hose pattern dilemma), I suggested using a duct tape leg dummy. She beat me to the punch and ended up with a great result. Check out hers and the instructions for making one.
I decided to only go to up to just below my knee because I wasn't sure I'd have enough duct tape to go higher. I'd taken measurements of my leg (in one of my pattern making attempts) and decided that I could make up the rest of my leg with those if I really needed to. Mine's not particularly pretty, but man does it help!
One of the things that made me question whether I wanted to go this route or not is because I do intend to enter my hose in an A&S faire. Using a modern duct tape leg to help me create the pattern is not an authentic method, obviously, and has the potential of knocking my score down. Ultimately, however, I decided several things justified the use of the dummy.
- Fifteenth century fitted hose (of the luxury level I intend to recreate) were more than likely created by skilled tailors, not average housewives, which would have eliminated the fit-to-self issue. By creating an independent leg, I can treat the patterning as if I were the tailor, not the wearer.
- I want to be able to try out a few patterns in order to find the foot style that works best for me. The dummy allows me to cut the time-consuming effort of that.
- Because I can look at the dummy from more than an above angle, I can see more clearly fit issues and alternatives.
- Finally, I'm pregnant, and being able to bend over and fit on myself is hard and uncomfortable.
They're not perfect, but they are comfy. I'm not going to worry about finishing the seams or even hemming the top, since they're more of an experiment than anything else. I think I'll just keep them around for those cold camping nights.