Dec 16, 2014

HSF 14 - Challenge # 22 - Gentlemen = Making an 18th century "Darcy" Shirt

Happy Jane Austen Day! 239 years ago today on the 16th of December 1775, Jane Austen was born.

Since today (nearly) co-insides with the Historical Sew Fortnightly 2014 challenge #22, I wanted to share a "Darcy" shirt I made.
18th century men's "Darcy" shirt - Front view

I made the shirt using instructions from "A Typical Eighteenth Century Military Shirt: A practical construction guide by Judith Wicker". The guide is very easy to follow, and I believe historically accurate. 

[You can find a copy of this pattern by doing a Google search, I 'm not posting the link because I couldn't find the original source, but I think it came via the NWTA. ]

Historical Sew Fortnightly 2014
The Challenge: # 22 - Gentlemen
Fabric: heavy cotton (old bedsheets)
Pattern: "A Typical Eighteenth Century Military Shirt: A practical construction guide by Judith Wicker".
Year: Eighteenth Century
Notions: buttons, thread
How historically accurate is it? Very. 80-90% originals might have been made in linen, I made slight mistake on the neck opening (explained below) and I did use the sewing machine...
Hours to complete: 6-8 hours across two days
First worn: Unworn
Total cost: under $10

Darcy shirt - side view

The only trouble I had with the pattern was the neck gussets, it doesn't specify they need to be gathered - in the middle but not the edges - as pictured below, to make the collar and neckline curve properly.

To ensure the neckline sits properly, gather centre of the shoulder gussets (green arrow), not the sides (red lines)
Also, I had a self-made boo-boo. I totally forgot to flip the front neck slit facing around to the back, and only realised it was on the wrong side after I had sewn the shoulder gussets. So I just added a ruffle under the facing, to make it look deliberate...

Pinning a ruffle under the facing which I forgot to flip through to the other side. Doh!
 I think it looks OK,

Neck ruffle and facing detail - not historically accurate...oopsy
 and I bet I'm not the only seamstress to make this mistake in the past 200 years!

Dec 5, 2014

Tutorial - Using Photoshop to make Historical Sewing Patterns which Fit

There are a lot of great old patterns out there that are free to download, via places like the Internet Archive, or possibly you've bought Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion series. Patterns which are scaleable, all drawn on helpful grids just waiting to be enlarged.  The problem is even once you scale these patterns, chances are it's not going to fit.

Well, I've come up with a method to solve this using Photoshop -- I used it to create my 1880s jacket -- and I'm sharing how I do it over in a series of tutorials on my graphic design blog, Part One and Two are live and I hope you'll check them out.