Monday, October 15, 2012

Landsknecht shorts

Hat done, time to start the pants.  This part of the project has had me a bit worried for a while.  I wanted to make the shorts pretty short, yet comfortable.  Slashed yet structural enough.  I had a look in mind but no pattern.  I started by making various mock-ups.  I did use a sewing machine for the pattern drafting, but I don't really consider that cheating because once the pattern was finalized I did all of the construction without a sewing machine.  This is the pattern I ended up with.  After a few hours.... I know that sounds like a lot.  Try drafting a set of short shorts for yourself.  Pinning and making adjustments, especially to the groin and mid back was tough to do by myself.  Ended up making it, looking in the mirror, taking it off, pinning it, looking in the mirror again... about 2~3 times.  Stitched a revised version and do again.  The first mock-up looked OKish, until I tried to sit down and, well, lets just say it ended in a catastrophic failure which would have been embarrassing in public.  Ick!

Pattern was traced onto a stiff paper just in case I'm stupid enough to want to make another one of these one day.  I then cut out double layer of linen for the lining.  

Not anything exciting here, but this was new for me.  I saw a blog somewhere where the seamstress was using a bone tool to press open her seams.  Apparently in period they would press open seams using either a smooth rock or blob of glass or even a smooth piece of bone.  I used an antler for this one, but worked great.  No iron needed.  I pressed the linen using the antler about 2~3 times and it held nicely like this.

Lining done... almost. I used a two rows of back stitches for the construction.  this is a rather snug fitting garment and I didn't want any of the seams to fail under stress so after I pressed open the seams I ran another set of stitches again binding the seam together.  Since this was going to be on the inside I didn't really care about appearance.  The stitches are really small, but very strong.  No failure possible on the seam.  It is now stronger than the rest of the material.

Time to duplicate the effort, only this time instead of two layers of linen I used a layer of linen and layer of wool.  The wool wouldn't be slashed until the very end.

After the outside layer was complete I pinned open the seams and lined it up with the lining.  I wanted to permanently mount the seams together.  After carefully lining up all the seams for the lining and shell I used the "stitch in the ditch" technique to join the layers.  Normally I would bind a lining to the shell at EVERY seam like this, but since I was going to significantly slice up the wool I wanted the linen layers to serve as foundation to hold the silk in place when the wool was slashed.

Shell and lining done.  Yes I did try them on... a lot.  Much to my wife's dismay the shorts fit very well.  They are short and they are tight, but until I mount the cod piece there will be no pictures published.

Cod piece is the next step.  I roughed up a shape I thought would work and then stitched it and stuffed it with scraps of wool from the rest of the outfit. I actually had to do this step twice.  The first draft was a bit too big.  I wanted a pronounced obvious cod piece, but I overshot the mark on the first draft.

Here is the basket of finely chopped wool scraps I use for stuffing.

Stuffed and mounted.  I lined it with silk to match the rest of the garment.  I stitched the codpiece to a layer of wool and two layers of linen.  The trim was done similar to the doublet and sleeves, but I used a different set of colors.  I wanted this particular portion of the garment to stand out a bit.

Now to finish off the waist band and flap.  I rolled some blue wool around the edge of the flap in the front, but trimmed it with the mint green instead of black.  The waist band was done in blue.  Stitched in place with two sets of back stitches and then folded over, stitch the ditch and trim to size.  Nothing fancy on this step.

 Now for the fun trim.  My wife was rather concerned about the length of the shorts.  She didn't pay attention to the mock-up.  I am planning on adding a row of about 2 inch loops to trim the bottom of the shorts.  That gives them a look of a slightly longer short yet the flexibility in movement I am hoping for.  Here are a bunch of the loops cut to length and pinned together to check the layout.

Layout looked good so attached them to the bottom edge of the shorts.  I whip stitched both inside and outside.  The loops are firmly in place, but ugly.  I plan on adding a blue rope trim along the outside and a nice clean linen strip in the inside to hide all the ugliness of the stitching.

Here is the technique I used to make my tape.  You can use this technique to make bias tape as well.  I cut this linen on the weft as I want a tape which won't stretch.  Simply fold over your material and pin to your ironing board using a 2~3 quilt pins.  I set the iron down on the tape and simply pull in slowly through.  As it comes out of the pinned section, it feeds right under the iron and holds it's shape.  Very quick and easy method for making your own tapes.