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!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mid April: Surcoat Neck Facing

Before I begin my description of how I have done the neck facing for the red surcoat I will review the choices of materials used.

As I had said in the beginning, I believe the outfit would have been made from wool, but since I could not find colours or weights of wool that would be suitable for the outfit I decided to go with 100% linen, which is a fabric found in period. For the neck facing on the surcoat I am using the same 100% gold silk as I used for the cuffs on the sleeves of the kirtle. As for the thread used, for the surcoat I have done the same as I did for the kirtle...I am using 100% cotton, both for availability and financial reasons.

For the construction of the neck facing I began by running a loose basting stitch on the area of the neck I wanted to gather on both the front and back of the surcoat.

I also used a basting stitch on the edge of the neck facing to ease in the curve for turning under.
I then laid the neck facing on the bodice, right sides up for both the bodice and the facing. I pulled up the basting stitch on the bodice and adjusted the gathers before pinning and then basting into place.
The facing was then sewn into place with a tight and even running stitch.

In the Codex Manesse image of the surcoat I believe I see a narrow red trim edging the neck facing, so I have constructed a small band with some of the leftover red linen to create that. It was folded in half leaving one raw edge and one folded edge.

The raw edge of the facing was laid down along the raw edge of the neck facing and basted into place.

Finally another neck facing piece was laid on top of the first neck facing piece, right sides together and pinned into place. A tight and even running stitch was used to sew the facing pieces together along the pinned edge.

The same steps were done on the back bodice piece.
The facing was turned right sides out and pressed into place, revealing the red edging. A running stitch was then used to stitch the edge of the turned in piece to the inside of the bodice neck.
With both back and front neck facings in place, the back and front surcoat bodices were then sewn together at the shoulders using a whip stitch.

Here is a view of the seam inside:

To finish the edges of the inside seam, the raw edges were then turned under and whip stitched to the garment, continuing around the outside neck edge to create a nice finish.

Here is a view of the final product, pressed and finished!

I'm feeling rather accomplished after this!

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