Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Constructing Marguarite's 17th century Embroidered Smock......

For those of you who are constructing a smock along with me, we are on to construction. Some are embroidering all their pieces first, depending on the blackwork pattern....I am staying true to the original c1575-1600 smock held in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, so my next step is to construct the body, so I can have a zillion seams to cover with my powder blue filament silk....YAY! NOT~ I have found embroidering these weensie motifs really challenging, they are so small, and all being the same, sorry to have to admit, but extremely boring to work. So much so, I was elated to stitch seams!

The original smock is made of a fine linen...I am using ramie for this one~ still a 100% natural fiber, and it is so thin and soft....just perfect for this scale I am working. Its basic construction is a rectangle for the front, one for the back, 2 small rectangle pieces that cover over the shoulders, 2 sleeves, and 2 sleeve underarm gussets. That's it~ very simple. I am making mine a little different, because I want it to look like it was pieced from scraps, AND, doing this will give me the lines I want in the front for my embroidery to go over, so I wont have to mark it. The original was indeed embroidered all the way around, but my Marguarite's will only have the vertical embroidery on the front seams.

So first, I am making up my front panel, which consists of 6 narrow widths, once this is finished, I will trim my back piece to the exact same width, and we will be on to the next step. I am using an awesome white Londenderry linen thread weight 100/3, just doing a back stitch, then will trim off one side seam allowance and turn to flat fell them, so there will be no raw edges. If you like, staying true to period, you can also turn and hem the edges of your pieces, then whip them together.

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