Introduction to the Challenge

This challenge is specifically set towards those that have not had the opportunity to sew a garment/object by hand. This challenge is NOT a competion, merely a place for new handsewers to document their progress and seek feedback and help, and to challenge themselves. Sewers that are experienced in hand stitching items will not be excluded, but this is meant as a chance for those with no experience in this realm to get a start.The Challenge I propose is that all persons joining the challenge pick a garment or object of textile nature, no matter how small or large, i.e. a pilgrim bag, a Coif or any type of hat, socks, flag, gloves etc., and have at least one form of documentation for its existence during the SCA time period. Acceptable forms of documentation for this project will be paintings/woodcuts/drawings with the desired object in it or a picture of the desired object.The challenge starts first of June and will end one year later. People can join the challenge at any time during this year. Those of you with handsewing experience are invited to follow the blog, and leave comments and feedback as the challenge progresses. The challenge is based in Drachenwald, but is open to all kingdoms.
If you would like to join the challenge (and the blog) please email me at to be added!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

All Caught Up!

End of September 2009: Revisiting the Surcoat Pattern and Formally Entering the Challenge!

Yes, it actually took me this long to actually get around to contacting the person who was in charge of the First Time Hand Sewing Challenge! But as of September 29th I joined and after this particular post I will be all caught up on my progress.

The end of September was the time I decided to revisit my pattern for the surcoat. As you know, I had developed a pattern previously which I thought was good enough, but looking at it after having left it for a couple of months I felt it needed more work.

I think the shape of the neckline was fairly decent in comparison to the picture in the Codex Manesse plate. The armholes, however, seemed perhaps slightly too open. And my biggest problem was the lack of fullness in the skirt.

Although the Reconstructing History pattern for the surcoat was not the design I wanted due to the openness of the armholes I thought I would take a look at it anyway to see if there was anything that could be of help to me. I was happy to find that there was something I hadn’t thought of when making the surcoat in August. Gores! In the Reconstructing History pattern there are two gores inset at the side seams of the surcoat. Of course this would create more fullness!

I then took the mock up result of the surcoat I had made back in August and took it apart. I adjusted the armholes and then compared its shape to the Reconstructing History surcoat pattern to determine where I would place the gores. At this point I was starting to run out of scrap material to use for making mock ups so I ended up having to use different colours and even then the length of some of the pieces were going to be a little off. You’ll notice some of the gores in the photos will be white as opposed to a wine colour for the rest of the surcoat...which is actually kind of helpful to see where the fullness is added. The first attempt included gores at the side seams only. After trying the result on I was still disappointed with the fullness. At this point I decided to cut up the front and back to inset gores there as well. Once I did this and tried on the result I was much happier. I then created some armhole facing to see how the armholes would fit as well. The result of that is what you see in the photos. I did not put a neck facing on since that will be something I can play with when I do the real thing, considering that the neckline has a different colour trim on it in the plate picture.

And as I did with the kirtle pattern I have done with the surcoat pattern, making it into a paper pattern.

Now all I have to do is wait for my fabric to arrive and I can begin on the actual garments! I can’t wait!

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