Coming down the home stretch, my little droogies!
You’ve seen my forays into linen – okay, and one in wool – from which I’ve learned quite a lot indeed. I like to think I’ve learnt from my mistakes, enough to take a stab at something significant.
That’s why today I’m going to show you the main outer garment in the RH004 Peasant Project – the Tunic!
The picture at left is the wool cut out and ready to begin. It’s a lovely wool gabardine I pinched without guilt from Kass’s Secret Fabric Stash. Okay, okay; she said I could use it, but I still feel like a thief.
It started life white; Kass some years ago dyed it with modern dye to exactly match the color made by madder. Yeah, it’s orange. Really, really bright orange. Not exactly International Safety Orange – I’m not going to hunt deer in it or anything – but still bright enough to concuss the unwary. Yeah.
The pieces clockwise from lower left: The Body; three Gores; one Gore in two pieces, which will be sewn into one cone shape; under the scissors two Underarm Gussets; and two Sleeves.
The thing I’m most proud of is that I cunningly used almost all the fabric. That’s why one of the Gores is in two pieces. Well, three, actually; I had to piece in a small patch at the top of one of the Gore halves in order to make up the entire piece. The waste fabric is a very small amount indeed.
One might say I’m a little smug about that. Sue me. I like being smug. In fact, here’s an image of my favoritest smug git. I feel as smug as Rimmer after he successfully fixes something.
(I only hope my Peasant Project doen’t turn out to be, metaphorically, my Drive Plate Disaster.)
The gabardine after washing fulled up enough that I thought it was wool flannel. It’s thick enough to be nice and warm when worn with layers, yet light enough to breathe in warm weather.
And being fulled means I don’t have to flat-fell seventeen thousand different seams, for which I ceaselessly thank Divine Providence.
The neck started as a simple keyhole large enough to get my swollen head through. I then trimmed down the corners on either side of the vertical slit before finishing the neck hole with a small rolled seam.
The Gores are set into the side seams and two long slits in the center front and center back; the Gores go from the hem – around knee length – to just below my sternum. This makes a very full skirt which looks smashing when Kass spins me around like Ginger Rogers. I put the pieced-together Gore into the slit at center back.
I chose tube-shaped Sleeves over the tapered Sleeves option I chose for the Shirt. No real reason; I just wanted to do something different. In the photo at left of the nearly-finished piece, the Sleeves look like they’re way too long. Don’t worry; when Kass took the picture, I hadn’t finished the hems on the end of the Sleeves.
I know, I know; in the photo, the thing looks like a mu’umu’u – it’s an unfitted bag in the body. That a-purpose! This is a worker’s garment, after all, something a hard worker wears in the fields under a blazing sun all day. A fella needs room in a garment like that. Besides, after I belt it up, it’ll look different.
Speaking of needing room, the thing I’m looking forward to most is the living history aspect of wearing the Tunic. I’m gonna beat the crap out of it in the shop at events, setting up the tent, tearing down the camp; I’m gonna roll around in the dirt, inadvertently knock holes in it, put patches over the holes, the whole nine yards. It’ll look a lot different after some significant use.
Astoundingly, there are no horror stories to tell. As I type this, I have about fourteen inches of hem to finish, and then I’m done.
Tomorrow, I cut the Hosen. I’ve a sinking feeling something is bound to go pear-shaped. Nothing I can put my finger on, but a nagging doubt, a sort of nameless dread.
Well, the feeling will eventually go away after I rawk da hizzy with some brown twill wool.
I leave you with what I have to deal with anytime I try to accomplish anything around here: Inspection by The Overseer. Swear to Gawd, he’s like the lord o’ the manor’s bailiff coming round to ensure I’m doing my feudal duty or something.