When we were first dating I made him a shirt not unlike this one but the quality was vastly different. It was my best work until that point. I purchased some cream broadcloth from Joann's Fabrics and used a Butterick costume pattern. Commercial patterns (McCall's. Simplicity, Butterick, etc) are a great tool to learn from, but it is much more satisfying (and will have a more period cut) when you can draft it out yourself. The poor man was always fighting with those satin ribbon ties the pattern suggested at the cuffs. Satin ribbon just does not stay tied well.
This time around I purchased the correct fabric for the period and started from there.The completed shirt was made from white lightweight linen i purchased at fabric-store.com. As i mentioned earlier, it was based on the basic shirt pattern in The Tudor Tailor. I put as much detail as I could into his new shirt. One thing I have learned over the years is that all of the little things they did with their garments had a reason, we just have to learn it. Look close at the bottom of the neck slit and you will see what I knew as a bar stitch (has in hook and bar). While nothing is going to hook onto it, this small detail prevents excess stress from being put on the bottom of the slit, causing the shirt to rip.
I have even learned to make my own cording to use as ties at the neck and cuffs. An early medieval technique, called lucet, is easy to learn and the basic tools can be purchased inexpensively. This cord may have been braided from unimpressive crochet cotton (size10) but it holds its knots and bows all day. This also encouraged me to look into how the cuffs were done in period, and you might be surprised. In The Tudor Tailor you will find extent garments with an eyelet and toggle. In Janet Arnold's
Patterns of Fashion 4, There are other extent examples where they simply use two worked eyelets and a piece of cording to hold the cuffs closed. I never would have thought of doing cuff's this way on my own (silly modern sewing techniques) and wanted to give it a go.
|Eyelets being worked with a horn awl. Finished size is about 3/8 in.|
Instead of linen or even silk thread I bound these eyelets with DMC embroidery floss. The eyelets look beautiful, but we will see how often they come untied when he wears the shirt next month.
My final loving touch to make my husband feel really special was having him pick out a blackwork design for me to use on the collar. Next time I will work the embroidery before I assemble the whole garment. That's what happens when you are too focused on making sure it fits I suppose.
Sometimes I am amazed at how much my skills have developed in the last 4 1/2 years. Here is to another 4 1/2 years of honing my skills. Next time maybe I will stitch his shirt by hand.