Friday, May 13, 2011

Hose Saga: A New Hope

I was getting pretty frustrated with trying to create the pattern for my hose from scratch, but I really didn't want to cheat and use a pre-made pattern since I intend to include a pair of hose in my garb quest A&S entry. Being able to create a fitted hose pattern is kind of a crucial element to proving that I know what I'm talking about.

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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Because I can look at the dummy from more than an above angle, I can see more clearly fit issues and alternatives.
  4. Finally, I'm pregnant, and being able to bend over and fit on myself is hard and uncomfortable.
So, with my new leg, I was able to do my first hose. I chose to use an off-white linen/cotton blend with a subtle stripe in the weave. Linen doesn't fit the same way wool does, so getting the snug fit is a little more difficult, but I had it and didn't have any other plan for it. I decided to do what seemed like the easiest pattern from The Medieval Tailor- what's typically known as a London style hose- but when I got to the actual sewing together portion of making them, I discovered that they weren't as easy as they looked. Because of the cut over the top of the ankle, you end up essentially with three alternating gussets in a row (!!!). After a few attempts, I did finally get them sewn together, but it's not pretty.

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.

1 comment:

  1. Hurray! The hose look great! And so does your extra leg! And if they doc you points for using what amounts to a dress form, the judge needs a reality check. I doubt they would do the same for someone using a form to mark a hem or place trim or whatever else and as you said, in real life someone would have been fitting these on the wearers leg, not fitting them on their own leg anyway.