Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Early Period Linen Tunic and Wool Hood

I mentioned the other day that the first project I started after I got my linen order was a new tunic for Dearg. I used a sea foam blue linen (officially called "Meadow"). It is unlined, as it's meant to be an undershirt or worn on its own in the summer.  I used the sewing machine to do all the construction seams, but did all the finishing by hand. The hand stitching was done with DMC's linen floss in a pale green.


I did a few things on this tunic that I'd not previously done with Dearg's tunics that made this particular project a massive success.

I paid attention to the fit at his shoulders, adjusting the location of the sleeve seam to reduce bulk there. I did this by cutting the section on the tunic that would be the arm hole at an angle inward toward the neck. It's not a significant angle, but just enough that when he positions his arms back to draw his bow, he doesn't get a distracting bunching at the shoulder.


I also stopped at strategic moments during construction to finish seams before I sewed past them and prevented myself from being able to finish them properly. This made a huge difference in terms of the quality of the finishing. Though it didn't save any time, breaking the finishing up seemed to make it feel like less of a chore. I used two types of seam finishing stitches: flat felled on the outside seams of the gores, and hemmed straight stitches on all the other seams.

I also tried to keep everything lined up as well as I could so that the gores came in at even points, also adding to the finished craftsmanship.  They aren't perfect, but I feel good that they are the best I could make them.


I decided that I didn't want to just hem the neckline and call it a day. Since Dearg requires his necklines to be rather tight to his neck to avoid exposure to the sun (fair-skinned people will know why this is important!), they have to be pretty tight around his head when he puts them on. To prevent that from ultimately stretching and warping the neck hole, I used a matching bias tape to reinforce the hem. I would have preferred to use a linen, but I already had the cotton bias tape on hand, and since it's only on the inside, I feel it's an acceptable application.

It looks quite good (especially on him) and, though I had some doubts about him actually liking the color, I think it's a good one for him.  He's changed his mind on color and is now looking for more subdued tones, though not brown and black, so this pale blue tunic is really a good step in that direction.  I'm sure it will get a great deal of wear, so hopefully the time and attention I gave it will help it hold up!


While in the middle of sewing the tunic together, Dearg acquired some green wool.  It was just barely enough to make a new hood.  He though that he'd like to try to make the hood himself (with me being so busy with the tunic and all), but it turned out to be a task he wasn't quite up for.  He does get props, though for cutting it out and doing the initial machine sewing (fixing the yellow linen lining to the wool)!

I hand-stitched the front and back seams together, first on the outside with green thread, then on the inside with yellow.  To get the lining and wool to play nice together, I did a straight stitch around the edges with a yellow-gold pearl cotton.

You can see more photos, including more detail photos over at the Flickr set.


All told, we're both very happy with these two new pieces for Dearg's garb closet.  Now it's time to focus on new items for mine!

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