For my first German dress, I talked with Baroness Sylvie le Chardonniere and she graciously agreed to help me where she could.
On the left is Sylvie in her German dress and on the right is my inspirational image by Hans Holbein (1526).
This is my first attempt at doing seamstress work, and I did make a few errors. ALWAYS do the bodice first and the skirt LAST!! I started with the skirt, hense, I did it ass-backwards.
I had planned on a blue dress with rust guarding, but my blue turned a blackish color after washing (and did not full), so I needed to change my plans. I ended up buying 10 yards of a deep green herringbone.
I planned on cutting the skirt in one piece; approximately 168”X45”, but since the herringbone pattern runs the length of the material, I need to make the skirt in three sections (remembering to add seam allowances for each piece). It will have 1” hemmed at the top and then finished with cartridge pleating (then attached to the bodice), I will use a French seam for the side seams and at the front closure, and plan on a 3” hem.
If I have my math figured correctly, these should be my crunched numbers….
Waist 52” X 3 = 156”
156” + 6” (all seam allowances) = 162” + 6” (for front overlap) = 168” total
Since I need three panels I need to figure width of each panel. These numbers include all the seam allowances.
Back panel 60” wide
Two front panels will be 54” wide each.
168” – 60” = 108” / 2 = 54”
I will use 4 ½ gingham blocks for my pleats. I hope this will give me a nice sized pleat and a skirt with a nice amount of flair.
My gingham squares are 1″ each.
Each side of my pleat will be 2 blocks of my gingham with a total of 4 ½ blocks for each pleat. That means that my pleats will each be 3 inches. The skirt will be 40″ long, with 1″ for roll-over waist hem and a 3″ hem with 1/2″ folded over before hemming.
Okay, my math is not all that great, especially when I am not feeling all that well. After pinning my “pleat cheater” (gingham) onto my skirt waist and pinning half my pleats, I realized that I was using the above count(4 1/2 squares per pleat), which would have resulted in 4 1/2″ pleats. So, now to take out all my pleats (thank goodness I only did half before checking my progress) and only use three squares per pleat.
Sew cheater gingham to waistband
Re-do pleating with 3 squares gingham (resulting in 3″ pleats)
(Done) Sew cartridge pleats onto a band (for easy attachment to bodice)
Add guarding to skirt (3″ band & 5″ band, 3″ from hem & 2″ apart)
Sew 2″ hem with 1″ folded over
(Done) Start work on bodice mock-up
Today I finished my cartridge pleats, now they are all in a neat row. They are all ready to be added onto a band that will connect them to the bodice, at a later day.
Today I finished sewing the pleats to the band; I still need to finish the last French seam in the front. I am a tad worried as it is larger than I anticipated.
52 pleats, 56″ band, 5″ extra for flap.
This shows the backside with “cheater” gingham and partial front of pleats.
This shows what the pleats look like. I do like how they look and lay.
When wrapping the band around my waist, I have about 6″ extra.
Today I started sewing classes with Mistress Anastasia (known as Auntie). I learned a few tips that I did not know about making Germans…. (NOTE: Mistress Mari Alexander taught classes on making German garments and this is who Mistress Anastsia learned from. I am learning from three, very knowledgable people.)
1) ALWAYS do the bodice first and the skirt second. Leave it to me to start “ass backwards”…LOL.
2) My first attempt at pleats (although cartridge pleats) look more like box pleats.
3) Cartridge pleats look more “accordian” and are no more than 1″ deep.
4) Skirt will still require 3X my waist measurements.
5) Need to purchase book Medieval Tailors Assistant by Sarah Thursfield. (Especially if I venture into more seamstress work.)
For my bodice I am using a 3-piece pattern. One front piece and two back pieces.
After a couple minor adjustments, and drafting a corrected pattern, I now have a finished pattern I can use for when I make another kampfrau dress.
Resew test pattern, fits better.
Tear out seams and use as pattern.
Always cut out lining FIRST.
Use lining pieces to cut out main bodice pieces.
Use bodice front & back pieces to make TRIM pattern.
Today was a busy day for me, with a lot of work;
Cut out trim.
Sew shoulder seams on wool bodice.
Sew shoulder seams on trim. I made my trim in two pieces (front & back) so that I would not have any corner seams.
Press seams (seams I need to remember to press seams at ALL times).
Pin trim to front side of bodice. Then sew around seam allowance.
Pin trim around edges for handsewing to bodice. Use blind stitch.
Use pattern to cut out lining FIRST.
Use lining pieces to cut out main material.
Use pattern to cut out canvas pieces for stability in bodice (NO seam allowance needed).
Easy bodice trim in two pieces (front & back) with no metered corners.
NEED TO DO:
(DONE) Hand sew trim onto bodice.
(DONE) Sew side & side back seams. PRESS seams.
(DONE)Serge edges of lining pieces.
(DONE) Attach canvas to lining pieces (INSIDE of lining seam allowance).
(DONE) Sew ALL seams on lining pieces.
(DONE) Fold sleeve arm hole seams and whip stitch closed.
After all my work, hubby was able to take a couple photos of my bodice, thus far.
On the left is the front (I pinned the hook & eye tape in for the picture) and on the right is the back. I think the back will look better (no wrinkles) after the skirt is attached.
Today Auntie pulled out a folder with tons of sleeve patterns. We went through them to find one that would fit my arms. Then I used that one to make my own pattern. Sewed the pattern pieces together and made final adjustments to the pattern.
For this kampfrau I will be using sleeves with a slight curve at the elbow (instead of the usual straight sleeves). I will be having my rust trim on the cuffs (not the flared cuff in my inspirational image). I also worked on making a pattern for my “tellerbarret” (large floppy “pizza” hat). Instructions for this will be under “German accesories” shortly, I promise.
NEED TO WORK ON:
(Done) Take apart pattern.
(Done) Cut lining & wool for sleeves.
(Done) Sew front & back seams on lining & wool.
(Done) NOTCH inside curves & CLIP outside curves.
(Done) PRESS seams open. Did I mention there is a lot of pressing to do?
(Done) Cut cuff trim & sew to wool sleeve at seam line.
(Done) Turn top of cuff and hand stitch.
(Done) Sew lining to wool sleeve. (lining is RIGHT side out and slip INTO wool sleeve so that RIGHT SIDES are together.)
Do NOT sew armseye until after final fitting.
(Done) Re-clip side back curves.
(Done) Grade all wool seams gradually.
(Done) Remove whip stitching from armholes.
(Done) Grade shoulder seams.
Do not sew in sleeves until after next fitting.
Today I planned on finishing up my sleeves and pinning them to my bodice, then spending time working on my embroidery project. But, alas, nothing goes as planned. I inadvertently made two LEFT sleeve linings… grrrrrrrr! So had to rip one out and re-sew it correctly. Every time I make a minor error I keep reminding myself, “I am an embroiderer not a seamstress”. But, I enjoy learning new things, so I keep trudging along in my new found endeavors.
I was able to cut out all the pieces for the tellerbarret. I will be alternating the petals so that they will be rust, green, rust, green on top and bottom of the brim. The square top section will also alternate with the rust & green (with little “hedgehogs” around the edges of the petals). Photos and progress steps to follow soon, I promise.
With my new endeavors as a seamstress I am learning new sewing terms, tips, and correct steps in sewing.
THINGS I AM LEARNING
1) Make garments from “skin” outwards (chemise first then outer garments)
2) Did I mention that I do things ass backwards at times… *snicker*
3) I need to buy items to make sewing easier (thought I had what all I needed)
4) I am learning new sewing terms/techniques
a. guarding (trim on a German dress)
b. grading seams; especially for thick material (trimming wool seams so they lay flatter and are not thick & bulky looking)
c. slashing (cutting slashes in wool, or leather, so the under garment can show through)
5) That 3 oz. linen (napkin weight) is perfect for a chemise (lighter weight under wool material)
6) ALWAYS press, press, press seams as you sew them. And press some more after sewing lining to main garment.
7) Post progress reports in blog DAILY, do not wait two weeks and then post.
8) Keep a notebook with progress of things completed and things that need starting/finishing.
9) Keep camera with me at all classes and take photos of steps.
Before I sew the sleeves to the bodice, I need to talk with Auntie, as I feel the sleeves might be too baggy (since I have never made curved sleeves before).
THINGS TO DO
(List is not in order)
1) Assemble tellerbarret
2) Start chemise (this “should” have been completed first)
3) Make blackwork band for gathered collar on chemise
4) Make wulsthaube (3-piece “duckbill” head wear)
5) Make goldhaube (fancy head covering that can be worn alone or under tallerbarret)
6) Do I want a gollar? Looks like a mantle, but only goes to edge of shoulder (does not drape over shoulders like a mantle), can have fur lining, and a regular collar or a high collar.
Today was more productive; seams I get more sewing done at Aunties than when I am home. Go figure.
While I was removing the whip stitching from bodice arm holes, Auntie was pressing my sleeves. I decided to sew the sleeves to the arm holes instead of original plan of whip stitching them in place. When we pinned the sleeves in place, and I tried on the bodice, the sleeves looked okay. So, there is no need to tear them apart and cut them smaller — YEAH!
Can use 3 oz. linen (napkin weight) for ALL chemises.
5.3 – 5.8 oz. linen for undergown, kirtles, tunics
7 oz. linen for cotehardies & surcoats
THINGS TO DO
DONE 1) Sew sleeves to bodice.
DONE 2) Whip stitch bodice arm lining to sleeve lining.
DONE 3) Grade seams and press towards bodice (clip curves).
DONE 4) whip stitch bottom of bodice together.
5) Sew guarding to skirt BEFORE attaching to bodice.
1) Locate top & bottom of sleeve top.
2) Match back arm sleeve to back side curve (this might not always match up precisely, so need to “match up” with sleeve already done).
3) Match top shoulder seams.
(I have come to the conclusion that I get more sewing (of garment) done at Auntie’s class than I do at home. Seems that I have projects here that require my attention as well…. LOL)
I am using hook and eye tape for the front closure on the bodice. It “really” stands out, IMHO, and even thought no one will see it, it does bother me. I found out that they covered up the hook and eye ends with the lining (in period). Since I did not know this before hand, I did not have enough lining, so I made a couple stips and whip stitched them in place to cover the black tape. It does look tons better!
The image on the LEFT is my work-in-progress for “hidding” the black tape, the image on the RIGHT is how they “hid” the hook & eyes with the lining. Found in Patterns of Fashion by Janet Arnold pg. 51.
Today I pinned the skirt to the bodice just to see how it would look; very impressive. The extra 6″ that I had earlier is no more. The skirt eased perfectly so that I just have enough extra for the French hem. Now I understand a bit better why you do the skirt last. It saves a LOT of stressing.
I have also come to the realization that I “over think” things. I have been reading about the construction of the chemise, tellerberret, wulfshaulbe and goldhaube ever since before January. And still have been holding off on cutting the linen. Over thinking, yet again. I have the patterns and designs, I just need to sit down and get started on them.
I did start work, again, on my tellerbarret (known as the pizza hat). It will be a 4-petal type of hat. I do have one petal completed and all the pattern pieces cut out. I need to order the white ostrich plumes so they will arrive when I get the hat completed.
DONE 1) Pin skirt to bodice
DONE 2) Measure waist to floor to determine guarding placement
DONE 3) Unpin skirt from bodice
DONE 4) Cut skirt sections & sew guarding strips in place
DONE 5) Repin skirt to bodice & sew pleats
6) Sew front seam
Today I spent sewing the skirt to the bodice. Am now also done with this area. My back is hurting, so sitting back on the couch doing hand sewing is not that bad.
Will be taking a break final finishing list, as I need to get final things for my teaching at IKINS next weekend.
DONE 1) Finish front seam
DONE 2) Hem
3) Work on chemise, goldhaube & wultshaube.