Friday, February 24, 2012

Linen Shirt

This is another garment to be worn as part of the Stone Dog Baronial Green and Blue Fashion Show.
This item is a self-threaded linen 12th century shirt. Entirely hand stitched using only threads pulled from the selvage, waxed with bees wax.
This was constructed out of the same linen as the braes I finished a few days ago.
(http://www.ercc-glaison.blogspot.com/2012/02/twelfth-century-braes-completed.html)

I based the construction using the instructions found in The Medieval Tailors Assistant.  This is not the first linen shirt that I’ve hand sewn, but it is the first time that I constructed a shirt entirely self-threaded.  I found that the technique is slightly different.  I used the same stitches, but I found that I had to use much smaller lengths of thread as the thread pulled from the selvage is not nearly as strong as the type one might purchase already spun and spooled.  The other thing I noticed was that the thread is not straight and easy to sew with unless waxed well.  The thread pulled from the selvage is not straight and is often slightly slubby which makes it snag when hand stitching.

The following image shows both threads.  On the left you will see a section of thread purchased on a spool.  On the right you will see the thread pulled from the selvage.  To compensate for the "ripples" in the pulled thread I had to apply more beeswax than normal.  I also found that doubling up the threads helped in sections of the garment which were likely to be under more stress.