Thursday, March 31, 2016

HSM March 2016: Protection

The HSM challenge for this month was protection, either something to protect yourself or your clothes.  I thought this would be a great opportunity to make an apron to wear with my 16th Century Kampfrau outfits.

My inspiration for the apron is the Seamstress by Edward Schoen, dated 1535.  Her apron looks smocked so I decided to smock my apron as well.  Smocking on aprons does not seem to have been very common.  Looking at historical images, there are many plain white aprons, some colored aprons and a bunch that are embroidered, but only a few that are smocked. For historical references I recommend
This is a wonderful source for all kinds of clothing and accessories.

First, I hemmed the 3 edges that would not be smocked.  Then I did the smocking.

I have previously smocked things, but I have never done honeycomb smocking.  A look at my inspiration image suggested this is honeycomb smocking, so I decided to try it.  This is a really easy method of smocking, you basically mark your points (mine is a 1cm grid) and then stitch 2 dots together, alternating by rows to create the pattern.  For example, on the top row, I connected dots 1&2, 3&4 ect.  On the second row I connected dots 2&3 and 4&5 ext.  You stitch 2 rows at a time, so I did row 1 dots 1&2 then dove down to row 2 dots 2&3, then back up to row 1 dots 3&4 and so on.  I did not use a tutorial, but there are many available online if this description is confusing.

EDIT:  I could not remember where I read that 1cm marks made great smocking for garb, but I have now found it.  Many very cool tutorials and information are available on this page Katafalk, and the discussion on smocking is under her Hemd tutorial. 

Here is a close up of the smocking.
Once the smocking was done, I hand stitched the top of the apron to the fabric that would form the tie.  I then folded the tie fabric in half and stitched the tie together, hiding the raw edges as I went.  In the photo below you can see the tie at the top of the smocking.
Finally, here is a picture of the full apron!  I think it will be a great addition to my kit and provide me a nice apron for keeping my dresses clean.

The Challenge:Protection
Pattern: None, this is really just 2 scraps of linen.  The body of the apron is a rectangle twice as wide as I wanted the final apron to be and as long as was available.  The smocking decreases the width by about half.  The ties are a long strip of linen folded in half with the edges tucked while sewing.
Year: 1535
Notions: yellow silk thread for smocking and white poly-cotton thread for the rest of the sewing.
How historically accurate is it? 80% or so.  While this apron is based off of a woodcut of the time period, I do not know what it would have been made out of, linen is an educated guess.  I am also unsure what the smocking would have been stitched with, silk is known in the period but may not have been available to a woman of this class.  Also, the color yellow was chosen because I had yellow silk laying around, I have no evidence that yellow would have been used for this application.  Finally, the white thread used for the construction was poly-cotton because I had it on hand, obviously this is not an historically accurate thread for the 16th century.
Hours to complete: Around 10, this was my first time doing this type of smocking and I was a bit slow at it.
First worn: not yet, hopefully I will wear it April 9th
Total cost: None, every thing was out of my stash of scraps.