Aug 31, 2013

Making an 1860s Garibaldi Shirt - Part 2

My Garibaldi shirt is well under way. Here are some progress shots of the first mock-up using calico. So far I've stuck to using the Very Easy Vogue pattern V8193 which can be seen in Part 1. As you can see the front bodice panels have a single dart at the waist and a pronounced drop shoulder - the drop shoulder is a key characteristic of 1860s clothes. So far the shirt is very plain, dare I say dull, but I like the way the bodice curves in at the waist.
The sleeves are a bit volumputious--volumness--fricking huge with pleats at the shoulder. And I can't tell at this early stage if the sleeves will look right until I put cuffs on them...

Garibaldi Shirt making in progress

For fans of old sewing machines may be interested that I'm sewing this shirt using my vintage Singer 15 circa 1937. Made in Scotland the machine was purchased new by my mother-laws family in Malaysia. Originally a treadle powered machine, it was converted to an electric motor in the 1970s. That means it's a little temperamental to operate - starting and stopping is a process of winding up or down. It's not a fancy machine by any standards and only has one function: straight stitching - forward - it lacks reverse.

But it gets the job done and perhaps this low-tech way gives me a slightly more authentic experience in the making of the shirt as originally they would have been hand sewn. Although mass-produced sewing machines started being sold in the 1850s, it wasn't until the late 1860s when they became a common (but expensive) household item.

Obligatory Cat-on-Fabric-photo & 1937 Singer 15

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