I decided that I needed a pair of split drawers to add to my little collection of undergarments. I used Elizabeth Stewart Clark’s pattern here. Since I am on the more ample side regarding my hips, I am using 44” batiste rather than 36”. I took my measurements and was horrified at some of them. It would seem that I have put on 3” in my waist since I measured to make my first corset attempt in November. I knew I haven’t been eating well lately, but that is ridiculous. So I made up my pattern according to the instructions and cut out my fabric. The pattern is huge, but such is the case when the garment is meant to be roomy. I decided to add three tucks to the calf for some decoration. The instructions said to keep one inch per tuck straight in the calf for easiest stitching. I see now that I misunderstood how to measure tucks. I wanted three half-inch tucks, so I measured an inch for each tuck, but then realized that that wouldn’t leave any space between the tucks. From what I have seen in photos online, it looks like tucks should be spaced about one tuck-width apart. So I added ½” to each tuck allotment. Then I added another ½” just to be on the safe side.
I stitched up the inseam, cut out the facings and stitched those on following the instructions, then I hand-stitched down the free edge of the facings. I took shorter stitches in the outer fabric and longer stitches in the facing. It was then time to do up my tucks. I understand now that a ½” tuck seems to mean that is the amount taken up in the tuck, not the width of the finished tuck, which would then be ¼”. Thus, 1” per tuck would have provided ½” to take up into the tuck, the ¼” that would sit behind/under it, and ¼” for spacing before the next tuck. So my tucks have no spacing between them. I also wonder if I added too much ease to the cuffs.
The waistband was the next part. The instructions said to take your waist measurement plus 12” for a back opening. Due to my recently expanded girth, I needed to piece together my waistband. I staggered the seams for added strength, so the seam on the waistband was on the opposite end from the seam on the facing. I gathered the top edge of each leg excepting the portion that overlaps on each end. I overlapped the front edges by 1½” and stitched the waistband on. I stitched the facing down inside with a hand stitch. I found a couple of ½” buttons that I thought would look good, and handstitched some buttonholes for them in the rear overlap section. I also made sure to overlap the back in the same direction as I overlapped the front.
I tried them on, and was horrified to discover that they didn’t fit. The waist was too big and too low. If I got the back to the right altitude, the front was waaaayyy too low, and vice versa. It then dawned on me that when I took my rise measurement, I sat on the chair, and measured from waist to floor, as I use for other pattern drafting techniques. What I should have done is measure from waist to center crotch instead. Then the two rise measurements, front and back, will total the distance from waist, between legs, and back up to waist. For the waistband, I realize that 12” additional is more than is needed. The two sides overlap by 5.5” so you only need to add one amount of overlap, not both. I need to reduce the waist by 6”.
I am going to redraft my pattern with these new insights. I am hoping to be able to just recut the fabric I already have made up instead of having to cut new fabric and have this pair go to waste. Here are pictures of the places I went wrong with them.
Photography courtesy of DBGraphics, except for the one on the ironing board.
Today I completed the side seams while watching the 1983 BBC production of Mansfield Park. Having the armscye seams extend only to the stitching line was a great boon. It was much easier to flat fell them. Once both sides were done, I made two rows of gathering stitches along the neckline. I made my stitches rather longer than usual to make it easier to match up the two rows of stitching. Following the instructions, I started and stopped the gathering rows at the armscye seams. Do remember that I added 5/8” seam allowance rather than the pattern’s ½” and that I stitched the armscye seams from the raw neckline edge. This later came to trouble me. I stitched the neck binding to the gathering, but found the large stitches a bit unwieldy. Still I got it together and folded the binding over to secure on the inside. At this point, I discovered that ½” x 4 (seam allowance, back up to top of edge, down to other side and a second seam allowance) equals the 2” I cut for the binding according to the pattern, but 5/8” does not. Therefore I removed the binding and pressed the binding into fourths so I had a proper line to follow when stitching. I was mildly discouraged by this, but it is really only a small setback. I apologize for not taking any photos today. I spent about 6.5 hours working on it today.
I found the Historical Sew Monthly Challenge and decided to jump right in on the first challenge, which is foundation garments. Interestingly, I found the blog hosting the challenge after seeing it advertised on several other blogs as I searched for a period chemise pattern. I decided to take up the challenge and began right away.
The pattern I am using is from The Sewing Academy (http://www.thesewingacademy.com/compendium/, scroll down to find the free pattern). I have a bolt of muslin that I got for pattern development and making mockups of outfits, so I dove right in. I was so excited to start that I didn’t notice what time it was when I started. Using other clues (last read email time stamp, the time my daughter left for work, etc.) I figure I probably started around 9 am. Also, I decided I am going to handstitch the entire garment.
I began with 2 yards (measured very roughly as being twice the length of my arm from hand to the opposite shoulder) of unbleached muslin, washed, dried and ironed. The pattern called for 16” across the half-pattern, so I trimmed the fabric down the edge from the original 48” to 32”. In retrospect, I should have cut it down to 34” for the seam allowance. I did have the room to spare. I used the edge I cut off for the sleeves, thus making very efficient use of the length. Following the instructions, I drew my pattern directly on the muslin. Wait, that is a bit misleading. The instructions did not say to do that. Rather, I measured down 5/8” from the top edge and in from the side edge for seam allowance, then drafted the pattern directly onto the muslin instead of a piece of paper. I then added the seam allowances, except that being the kind of person I am, I didn’t wait to see how much seam allowance the pattern called for and I just used the 5/8” I am accustomed to. Next time, I need to remember to use the washable pen. I hope the pencil will wash out. I drew the stitching lines on each piece and began flat-felling the armscye seams. I stitched from the edge at the neckline down to the raw edge at the armpit following the felling instructions in the pattern, but when it came time to do the underarm seam, I realized that might not work so well. I unpicked the armscye end of each seam just to the stitching line for the underarm seam to better accommodate those seams. Also, for some reason, one of the side seams isn’t perfect. The armscye seams don’t quite line up, and I’m not quite sure why. I set it down at 5:30 to make dinner. Counting out time spent helping my 12-year-old work on an outfit for her doll, and basic parenting (the kids are all home from school until Monday), I probably spent about 6 to 7 hours on this today.
I'm sorry the pictures aren't more elaborate. I just wanted to show the stitching. I'm not sure how else to photograph an otherwise big blob of fabric.