Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Lets Start~ a c1600 embroidered smock for Marguarite

I have done alot of research into what sort of smock I want Marguarite to wear under her bodies....must be period correct of coarse, and be able to be worn under a gown or jacket with a low neckline. I love Janet Arnold's books~ she was such a gift to us, and did more for research of early 16th-17th c clothing than anyone else. I am utilizing her Patterns of Fashion, Volume 4 for the smock I am making. Pattern number 71, which is an embroidered smock c1575-1600. I would have liked to use a later period smock, say, 1630's ideally, but couldn't find one in the cut I was looking for~ as in, LOW neckline. This smock is quite full, but I am using a really sheer natural fiber ramie, so I am not worried about any bulk under the bodies. IF you are going to use a linen, I would definitely cut out a few panels in the body, to make it more fitted. Above is a view of the smock as Janet sketched it out~ I will be following the pattern fairly closely, and yes, using this same embroidery motif.
Here you can see that mainly, these early smocks are just comprised of rectangles~ very simple in construction. I cut my pattern from paper, and fitted it on Marguarite, making adjustments for her unique body type~ basically, there is a front and back, 2 sleeves, 2 small bits that go over the shoulders, and 2 square underarm gussets.

Typically the fabric would be embroidered first, then stitched together...but alot of the embroidery is over the seams on this one, so I am embroidering the underarm gussets first, then am going to stitch it all together, and embroidering it last. The most embroidery on this is on the sleeves, and I want to be sure the fit is correct and perfect, before I go spending a ton of time on embroidery that may get put into the trash. I am drawing the motifs on with a lead pencil, which works quite well~ my fingers rub it off, and by the time I am finished with the motif, the lead marks are all gone.

The original smock was embroidered in a salmon color filament silk~ I am color coordinating Marguarites outfit, so picked a nice shade of blue that will look nice with her bodies. I am using soie ovale~ a flat untwisted filament silk, but as you can see, it is quite heavy off the spool~ if you ask most folks they will say that it cant be divided, but I have found that if I fray the end a little with my thumbnail, it separates quite easily into 6 strands...sometimes I get a 7th.

Here is one underarm gusset complete~ each motif takes me about 2.5-3 hours to stitch...ridiculous isn't it?! They are so small, and I am doing a back stitch~ now the original would have been done in a running stitch, as in, if stitching a straight line, worked one direction, then turned, and worked again the the opposite direction to make a perfectly smooth line....but I find my scale and thread just too weensie to do the proper technique. I still get a quite pleasing effect, very delicate with just a hint of color~ am liking it so far!


Tina Eudora said...

Wow you have much more patience than I have Rachael! I love to stitch but working on something so small and delicate would try my nerves...I can hardly wait to see the finished product as I am sure it will be stunning!
Tina xo

Margaret said...

This is very interesting! I am eager to see the rest.

The Rustic Victorian said...

Can't wait to see the finished garment. It is going to be something!

Lone Pierette said...

Rachael - you´re the best !!

Wanda said...

You are totally amazing......4 children, a home to run, a quilt that is mind boggling, and all of the rest.....and each time I find a topic to read I learn bundles to booooot!

Rachael Kinnison said...

Thankyou Ladies! Hi Lone :)
Thankyou so very much Wanda~ I am so happy that you enjoy the blog, truly the honor is mine~
xoxoxo rachael