Documentation Drafting, Day 3

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What’s This?

I’m continuing my self-assigned one hour of writing documentation per day.  I decided to fill out the outlines for both of my proposed projects first, and then start pulling the books off my shelves and filling in the citations and the details, because to a certain extent I expect to be referring to the same books for both projects.

Drafts Begin:

Continuation of Venetian Kirtle & Gown

Sleeves

[Provide backup that sleeves were separate garment from kirtle.]  I used a sleeve style shown in [list paintings and include as images or appendices.]  [Describe sources of cutting pattern.]

Sleeves were often a target of sumptuary legislation, which can give us an idea of the amount of fabric required to make them [provide example restrictions?].  The sleeves depicted in “Sacred and Profane Love” are very full.  Neither any of the extant garments from this time period nor any of the slightly later tailors’ pattern books have sleeves of this type.  By this time, however, the technique of setting in a sleeve with a shaped sleeve cap had been developed [provide backup].  I consulted a modern pattern drafting textbook to obtain a cutting pattern for a semicircular sleeve, though I pieced it as other sixteenth century circular or semicircular pattern pieces are pieced rather than using the modern technique of cutting it in multiple gores.

Construction

What They Did

Seam finishing techniques described in Hayward include stitching the seam allowance down with a line of running stitch worked a few millimeters away from the seam, or rubbing the cut edges of seams with wax to reduce the likelihood of fraying.  The technique of finishing seams using a running stitch on either side of the seam is described in Clothing and Textiles 1150-1450.  Raw edges turned under with a single or double fold and hem-stitched (whip stitched) are shown in Clothing and Textiles 1150-1450 and the raw edges of some garments from the sixteenth century are also described as being finished by being turned under and stitched with either running stitch or hemming (whip) stitch. A variety of run and fell seam using a hemming stitch is also described on a wool garment of the sixteenth century.

I am not aware of any examples of edges finished using stab stitching in the same way that I finished my edges, but a second-quarter of the fourteenth century fragment shows a facing held in place with two lines of running or stab stitch and a line of hemming stitch at the inner edge.  The hem of Eleanor of Toledo’s dress is finished on the inside with a 3.5-4” wide satin bias strip, using an undescribed stitch, with the bottom edge extending slightly past the bottom edge of the dress and snipped at regular intervals for decoration.

[Refer to paintings and portraits for information on how skirts are attached to bodices.]

What I Did

[Describe techniques I used.]

Reason for Variance

[If any non-provable techniques were used, describe why I used something different.]

Further Research and Experimentation

In preparing this project I have identified two additional projects that I believe will enhance my understanding of sixteenth century tailoring practices.  These are each considerable undertakings and could form the basis for future Kingdom level Arts and Sciences competition pieces.

Use of Period Materials and Tools

SCA tailors are accustomed to using fabric produced using modern industrial methods and modern tools such as shears, pins, measuring tapes, and needles.  I believe it would be instructive to attempt a tailoring project using materials and tools produced using 16th century technology and processes.  Neither metalworking nor weaving are crafts I have any proficiency in, so at present the greatest barrier to me attempting this project is my ability to source appropriate materials and tools.

Proportional Measuring Techniques

Mathew Gnagy has reconstructed a proportional measuring and pattern drafting technique based on those in use in [early seventeenth century Spain?].  The apparent benefit of this technique is that the same formula can be used for a client of any shape or size, without having to record or calculate particular numbers.  My approach to this project would be to determine what if any information exists about similar techniques in use by Northern Italian tailors of the sixteenth century, and then experiment with drafting a set number of styles for a number of clients of varying sizes in order to determine what the drafting formulas might be.  I consider both the research and the experimentation to be within my current skill level so at present the only barrier to me attempting this project is that I haven’t yet had the time to turn my mind to it, and I believe it is significant enough to itself form the basis of a KA&S entry separate from the two I am currently working on.

— Project Break

16th century Sailor’s Cassock and Slops

 

Terminology

Because clothing has changed so much since the sixteenth century, even English-language clothing terms from the sixteenth century tend to sound unfamiliar.  In an attempt to cut down confusion, I will use English-language terms throughout unless there is no clear English equivalent.

What/When/Where

This is an interpretation of an outfit worn by a sailor in a woodcut dated [date?] by [artist?]

Who

[Here I should talk about the types of artisans likely to be involved in making the outfit as well as any other interesting and relevant information I can find about the socioeconomic position of sailors in 16th century society.]

Why

[Did sailors dress in a fashion distinct from land-dwellers of equivalent socioeconomic status?  If so, is there evidence that the distinct clothing choices were due to seafaring practicality?]

How

Materials

What They Used

[Look particularly for information on what fabric types and colors would have been available/commonly used in this part of the socioeconomic spectrum.]

What I Used

[Describe the fabric I choose for this project.]

I believe that all of the fabrics I used were most likely produced using modern automated methods and dyed with modern chemical dyes.

Reason for Variance

[Describe reasons for variance, if any.]

[I would some day like to have the chance to work with cloth woven, spun, and dyed using period materials, tools, and techniques, in order to compare their working characteristics with modern materials.  However, my primary craft is tailoring and not fibre arts.  A sixteenth-century tailor of the Italian peninsula would not have spun, woven, or dyed any of their own fabrics, but instead would have worked with previously finished cloth purchased in the market place or supplied by the client [citation needed].  I believe that working with previously finished cloth that I have purchased is a reasonable analogue for the process a tailor would have followed in the sixteenth century.]

Tools

What They Used

  • Shears
  • Any evidence for pins?
  • Needles – material of
  • Measuring tapes – address proportional method posited by Mathew Gnagy
  • Outsourcing piece work to seamstresses?
  • Any additional tools used in this context?

What I Used

I used modern commercially available versions of all of the items mentioned above.  I made limited use of a sewing machine and gave some piece work to my students.

Reason for Variance

As noted in the “Materials” section above, I would like the opportunity to work entirely with period tools in order to compare their working characteristics.  I have had the chance to use period snips and I find them a little difficult to use, so I would be interested to see if I experience the same difficulty with period shears.

I have made and experimented with the proportional measuring tapes posited by Mathew Gnagy.  It’s an interesting system and I would like to experiment further and increase my proficiency.  Due to the time line on this project, I did not have the time to undertake such experiments this time.

Cut

General

[Anything to say here?]

Cassock

[Describe what I learned at Tudor Tailor seminar, plus whatever other info I find I am able to draw on]

Slops

[Describe my process for drafting the slops]

Construction

What They Did

Seam finishing techniques described in Hayward include stitching the seam allowance down with a line of running stitch worked a few millimeters away from the seam, or rubbing the cut edges of seams with wax to reduce the likelihood of fraying.  The technique of finishing seams using a running stitch on either side of the seam is described in Clothing and Textiles 1150-1450.  Raw edges turned under with a single or double fold and hem-stitched (whip stitched) are shown in Clothing and Textiles 1150-1450 and the raw edges of some garments from the sixteenth century are also described as being finished by being turned under and stitched with either running stitch or hemming (whip) stitch. A variety of run and fell seam using a hemming stitch is also described on a wool garment of the sixteenth century.

I am not aware of any examples of edges finished using stab stitching in the same way that I finished my edges, but a second-quarter of the fourteenth century fragment shows a facing held in place with two lines of running or stab stitch and a line of hemming stitch at the inner edge.  The hem of Eleanor of Toledo’s dress is finished on the inside with a 3.5-4” wide satin bias strip, using an undescribed stitch, with the bottom edge extending slightly past the bottom edge of the dress and snipped at regular intervals for decoration.

[Any other info I’m able to draw on?]

What I Did

[Describe techniques I used.]

Reason for Variance

[If any non-provable techniques were used, describe why I used something different.]

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