Tagged ‘seams’


October 22nd, 2008 by Tricia

As it happens when researching these things, one ah-ha leads to many questions. I am blogging all this so I don’t forget anything and so please forgive my rambling from one subject to another. So after I went “oh crud”  and joked about a lot of stitching in front of American
football to make those covered seams, I started to think about the order of
things. This was great as I verbalized it to Susan and she went and got a
colleague of hers who is working on the pattern book and had been thinking
about exactly these questions about the Laton jacket.

So the back
seam on the arm would have to be joined and then embroidered upon. Also
the godets or gussets would have to be installed on the fronts and backs
and then embroidered. Also the fronts would need to be joined to the back
along the side seams and then embroidered. Then the rest of the seams could be made along with the cuffs, collar and wings being installed.
Again the vertical integration idea came up.  Well, I asked, then who sewed
the initial seams? A tailor on-site with the embroiderers or the
embroiderers themselves? Or could the tailor embroider plaited braid. Susan and her colleague felt that the well known tailors guild and
embroiderers guild meant that the people were separate and the pieces would
have been turned over. The implication was that the initial seams were done by the embroiderers and then the partially completed jacket was turned over to a tailor’s shop who finished it.

They brought up that
the bespoke (English for Custom-Made) nature of the jackets meant that the
tailor had made a muslin for the person or had modified a general pattern
they had using measurements they had made of the person. They mentioned
that measurements weren’t like we make them, in inches, but more like
positions on a tape. The order would then have been to draw the outline of
the pattern pieces on pieces of linen to then send to the embroiderer’s
workshop for design application and embroidery.  They mentioned evidence
from inventory books that the commissioner may have supplied the linen
themselves to the tailor.  (This brought up the question about suppling
embroidery threads too). Certainly we can see on many jackets that the embroidery was worked to the pattern outline and stopped and that on many jackets the outline is visible and so hasn’t been altered. I had asked if they thought that there could have been an industry supplying partially completed jackets for final construction after purchase. I mentioned this in light of the comment in ‘The French Garden’ about embroidered jackets for sale in the Royal Exchange, implying ‘Ready-Made’. Susan and her colleague really felt that the jackets were commissioned bespoke. And certainly there is plenty of evidence from the garments themselves to support that along with the great cost we now know in making them on risk of having a buyer.

More tomorrow
about the linen and pattern making.


Construction Details

May 24th, 2008 by Jill Hall

I’ve recently started thinking about the sewing-together part of this project. Thinking about logistics, I mean. By a happy coincidence, Laura brought her embroidered jacket as part of her show & tell this session. I mentioned that I’d been comparing the original paper pattern pieces to the tensioned embroidered ones and that some stretching has occurred. I wondered aloud how much “spring back” we’d have when all the pieces are cut out of the frames.

Laura, who has actually done quite a bit of this work herself, said she thinks most of the stretching/distortion will remain, because the stitching will help to hold the piece in that position, even when the lacing that ties the piece to the frame is gone.

This started an in-depth discussion of construction techniques and choices. I wish we’d started earlier in the day – this was just as we were cleaning up to go for supper, and all very hungry and Laura with a severe headache that couldn’t have been helped any by delaying her meal. Laura showed me her jacket and described how she put the pieces together, and Robbin and Jen, who were still there too, looked up photos in various books and helped compare details between the Laton jacket and jacket 1359-1900 (the embroidery pattern jacket).

Detail of center back seam on Laura’s embroidered jacket.Here is a detail of the inside of Laura’s jacket, showing the center back seam. Laura folded in and hemmed down the raw edge of the pieces before stitching the hemmed edges together with extremely tiny overcast stitches. (Does that make sense written that way? She turned in the edge of the embroidered back and hemmed it down; turned in the edge of the side that should be seamed to that piece and hemmed that down, then overcast the two together. Then she did the same with the linings for each piece. This detail shows the linen lining. Each half was hemmed and then the hemmed edges were stitched together.) You can see from the right side that she also chose to apply a braid of silk over the seams and around the edges of her jacket. The Laton jacket has embroidery over some of the seams (but not all), and of course has the lace trimming the edges; 1359-1900 doesn’t have embroidery over the seams.

Before we talked, I had already decided to sew a trial jacket, cut out of the same linen we’re embroidering, and sew it up with a silk lining. This will of course only be a distant approximation of the real thing, but it will allow me to practice setting in the gussets (more on that another time) and work out how the cuffs and collar should be sewn (among other questions I have) before I’m dealing with all the embroidery etc. In fact that was why I was comparing the paper pattern pieces to the embroidered pieces in the first place.

Yesterday I cut out the linen for this trial piece. I’m thinking about which, if any, other construction methods to try (aside from the one Laura used) and I’m also thinking about whether we should embroider over some of the seams. Mmm. More embroidery.

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