My in-laws got me a copy of the new Janet Arnold book Patterns of Fashion 4: The Cut and Construction of Linen Shirts, Smocks, Neckwear, Headwear and Accessories for Men and Women c.1540-1660. SQUEEEEE!
It's really fabulous, and includes some amazing things, like a smock embroidered with polychromatic clouds and rainbows (can you imagine if I showed up for costume approval with that one?)!
There are detail shots of a couple of the high-necked smocks that show the construction. The individual pieces are finished separately, then whip-stitched together. One in particular appealed to me. The edges of the pieces are finished with what look like alternating open and closed blanket stitches. The whip stitches are done through the blanket stitches for a kind of openwork seam.
I decided to do a simplified version of this smock (not so much other decorative embroidery). The side gores and the "skirts" of the smock are finished with a plain narrow hem and will be whip stitched together. The sleeves are two pieces edged in black blanket stitches the stitched together with white thread.
Here's a picture of the top seam of the sleeve:The stitching isn't quite even on the two edges, but hey, it's my first attempt at this!
Here's a shot of the stitching along the edge. This edge will be whipped to the underarm gussets that will be finished the same way.
The fabric is a fairly fine white linen and the edges are embroidered with black cotton floss. I considered using silk, like the original, but let's be honest--I'm gonna be wearing this a faire. It's hot. It's dusty. I'm gonna need to machine wash this sucker on a regular basis. I think silk floss probably wouldn't be color fast.
So far, I've put about 25 hours into this smock. I have to:
- edge and sew together the two pieces of the other sleeve
- edge the underarm gussets
- sew together the side gores and the main body
- embroider the neck slit
- embroider the neck and wrist bands
- edge the neck and wrist ruffles
- attach the sleeves
- attach the neck and wrist bands and ruffles