The Historical Sew Fortnightly’s first challenge was a very gentle ease into the year: Mend and Make Do. I chose to mend, as there are always things to mend, and it gives me a headstart on my Festival preparation.
My initial plan was to mend the following items over my 2.5 week break from work:
- Add ties to my black partlet that goes with my brocaded transition gown and my 1480-90s green kirtle, to stop it gapping and riding up under kirtles (seen best in this image of my brocaded transition gown)
- Fix G’s waffenrock closures, fingerloop braid a tie with aglets on the end, and re-hem the sleeves in a thread that matches the garment
- Take the ruffle off my green kirtle, add in WAY more fabric, hem and re-attach
- Lengthen my chemise sleeves
- Take the sleeves off my 1490s mustard gown, re-cut the sleeve head as it’s too large and re-sew in
- Add buttons to the fly on G’s Venetians that I built last year and finish internal lining seams
Then I got sick. So sick that I spent a week glancing at the partlet, which just needed ties sewn into the edge, willing myself to pick it up and sew and I just… couldn’t. I knew I was on the mend when I happily picked it up and got it finished in 2 hours, then moved straight onto item 2.
So items 1 and 2 are done. I’m halfway through item 3, which needs to be done for an event on 2 February. Items 4 & 6 I will do before Festival in April, and item 5 can wait till later in the year as it’s not urgent.
The challenge information
The Challenge: #1 Mend and Make Do
Fabric: linen ‘cabbage’ from the original dress to increase the size of the ruffle. I added in 5 widths of fabric to the original 2.5 lengths. This will be a full ruffle with tiny pleats as per the pictures.
Year: 1490 & early 1500s
Notions: Cotton tape and cotton bias binding, crochet thread for the tie, and four metal aglets (our first attempt was too large for the holes I made)
How historically accurate is it? Overall 7/10. The shapes are right, and the seams are hand finished, but major seams are done with machine, and some closures on the waffenrock are blatantly modern (press studs! shock, horror!)
Hours to complete: 3 hours for items 1 and 2. Item 3 has already taken my more than 4 hours, with another 3ish hours to go I think
First worn: Not yet. Next event is 2 February so both items will likely get an outing there.
Total cost: mostly stash/items I had around the house. I needed to buy in more bias binding at $3.80AUD each = $7.20AUD. Aglets were 20c each, cabbage was probably a metre’s worth and I think I bought it for $14/metre, and I bought a kilometre of cotton tape last year, so that tape cost is negligible.
$22.00 in total.