Saturday, January 7, 2012

Documentation-Linen Over Tunic

April 2, Update
Trying to get a better photo of the reconstructed over tunic...

Mar 3, Update
I have the tunic ready except the final seams of the bottom side gores...but I do not have pictures of it yet.  I plan to finish by tomorrow!!!
Here is a picture of how I cut the arm curve to add the sleeves...

A completed sleeve

Feb 11, Update
I have gotten the side gores ready to add back to the main tunic and the sleeves are ready too.  I still need to cut some more off the upper area of the tunic and make curved arm holes to set the sleeve into...
The 'New' sleeves...since they now lay closer to the body and are farther up on my flabby upper arms...I needed to add some width and a little length.  I haven't sewn the under seam from gusset to wrist yet..waiting to see how it looks after attached to the tunic. I slid this piece onto the arm of the under tunic and the gusset angle fits just right...yippeee!

I added strips I have cut from the main body piece to the main part of the sleeve and then to get the extra width to the upper arm, I used part of the upper side gores to make underarm gussets. I am feeling very period in my remodeling efforts...waste not, want not?  I am so liking the color of this tunic so I do not mind going to all this trouble to make it fit will be worth it!!

Feb 4, 2012 Update
Well, the farthest I have gotten is to cut the tunic apart...
Tunic body after both side pieces with sleeves cut off.
Sleeves (will probably need an underarm gusset added?)
 Lower side gores...these will be added back to tunic.
Upper side gores...these are scrapped.

This layer is also called the over-dress or over-tunic.  It is considered the outer layer of the basic garb and was made of linen or wool. (I imagine that depended on the time of year it was to be worn.)  This layer was meant to be seen and admired so the fabric is generally a finer weave and embellished and decorated more than the under garment.  Linen could not be dyed in too many colors and the natural colors that came from different processing are tans, grays, and off-whites.  Wool however came in the natural animal shades but could be bleached and dyed in a variety of brighter colors.  The dyes of the time were from plant materials and insects in some cases.   And fabric could be over-dyed to get different color combinations.  This garment was probably still made from woven fabric even though some of the wool finds have been fulled /felted and could have been made directly from fleece.  It is unsure whether the materials were felted on purpose or if it happened during the years of exposure to the elements and/or during wear.  Remnants found attached to metal pins show very distinctive threads, colors, and weaving patterns.  There are also remnants of decorative elements such as silk fabrics and embroidery stitching.  The decorative trims that have survived have metallic threads and wires woven into them.  That does not mean that all embellishment was ‘shiny’ but the metal threads preserved the fabric they are connected to, the same as the pins and other metallic elements found such as belts, pouches, etc. 
My recreation:
I have used a natural taupe colored linen with a finer thread count than the under smock.  I do not have the actually count as this fabric was in my stash and had been purchased awhile ago.  I used rectangular layouts for drafting my pattern pieces again but I did a different type of insert/gore under the arms that were like the cutting layout of the Birka coat/caftan.    I can’t remember why I decided this for sure except I was concerned if the gores were in the same place on both pieces, they would ‘glob’ up too much under the apron dress???  That theory did not work as the coat pattern was larger and that made this dress bulky under the tighter apron.  I may do some restructuring if I am to use this under an apron dress or just plan to wear it as a belted overtunic.  The taupe color is not particularly exciting but I like the natural look and I enjoy the combination created between the colors of the other pieces of clothing in my entry.  I did need to embellish a little more to step up the impress quotient of this garment.  I decided to do card weaving for trim but unfortunately I was not able to complete it at this time.  I feel it will spice up the neck area and the sleeve hem area nicely.  I also received a commercial made trim for a gift that goes with this tunic very nicely but did not go with the colors of the rest of the pieces.  However I may chose to use that trim and go a different direction with this tunic now that the challenge is over.

My pattern...
I have sewn the tunic by hand except the first stage of the flat felled seams I did on the machine to speed up the process.  I used linen thread to sew and silk and wool threads to embellish the seams, hems and facing. I have used decorative seam treatments both for support and to check the fraying and for esthetic purposes. 
I chose a slit neckline and a simple placket facing that can be embellish if I do not use the card woven trim.  I rolled and overcast stitch the neckline and that can also be embellish more if I do not use the card woven trim.  The neck slit can be closed with a decorative pin or left open if desired.

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