Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Two linen shirts (and some Halloween photos)

I have two new linen shirts that I have not posted yet, my goodness!

I finished this first shirt months ago, and have not posted it yet because I've been meaning to add lace ruffles to it, but since I haven't done that yet I may as well post it now. (I also realized that my old off-white lace might lighten up with some careful washing, and so may be better suited to a white shirt than an off-white one.)

I started it about 3 years ago, so it's another item off the Unfinished Things pile!
I only found one construction photo, but that's ok
because the construction is the same as usual.
It's made of a cream coloured linen, and it's somewhat heavier than both my other linen shirts.
It's completely hand sewn, making it the second hand sewn linen shirt I've done.
The thread buttons are ones I made around the time I started the shirt, and they're a bit smaller than I'd make them today. Two on the collar and two on each cuff.
It fits pretty well, but the collar was cut a bit too tight, and the cuff pieces are perhaps a bit too long.
The second shirt I finished a week ago, and it was also an unfinished thing from about 3 years ago. So unfinished, in fact, that I had been keeping it in my linen drawer instead of in my Unfinished Things box.

It started off as a pale purple linen, which for some reason I cut out and decided to make a shirt out of. After sewing the shoulder seams and one side of one neck gusset I realized that it was a terrible colour for a shirt, and it would not suit me at all.

Mama offered to take it to school and dunk it in the Indigo vat that happened to be set up at the time (They do them once a year for the natural dye class) and I agreed. After it was dyed, I put it in a bag and put the bag in my linen stash, and there it remained until two weeks ago when I dug it out and finished it.
 Most of the smaller pieces got lost somewhere along the way (probably frayed too much from all the dyeing and rinsing) but thankfully Mama also dyed the remaining bit of linen, so I was able to re-cut them.
 It's mostly machine sewed, with hand finishing on the insides of the cuffs & collar, as well as the underarm gusset and shoulder seam finishes. All the sewing is with silk thread.
This bit is rather awkward to fit under a sewing machine,
so it's easier to finish these little seams by hand.

As with the other shirt, they are rather smaller than I'd prefer to make them today.
 My buttonholes are done by hand as well, and the buttons are ones I made several years ago. I think the linen thread I used for them was dyed indigo at the same time, but I'm not sure.
 I used three buttons on the collar, and two on each cuff, and I have one left over because apparently I thought I needed 8 buttons when I made them.
It's a nice soft shirt and I am pleased with it! The dye job is mottled, but in a nice and even sort of way, and you can't see any of the original purple.
 I am rather less pleased with Indigo's tendency to rub off and turn everything blue. After a day of wearing it I discovered that my torso and arms were slightly blue tinted, and that the waistband of my pants, my underwear, and the lining around the armhole of my grey waistcoat were even more so!
I'm sure it'll improve after some more washings though.

A shitty dinosaur to illustrate what happened.

 Update: After a thorough washing during which it turned 3 sinkfulls of water very blue, the shirt does not leave any visible blue spots on me! It still rubs off a bit though. I did some hand sewing with white thread and it became pale blue thread.

And here are some pictures of me on Halloween!
This was my second attempt at doing 18th century hair, and I think it turned out okay. I definitely need more practice. I'm not at all sure how to do the side curls while still having the front look so swept back like it is in the portraits.
I also wore some excellent 18th century makeup from LBCC Historical. I shall have to make some more earlier garments to better go with it, as it's just doesn't fit well with the 1780's - 90's.

Here is a picture of me at a post-Halloween party on November 3rd, with slightly disheveled hair.

 And some photos from the same day when I tried on a different waistcoat.

And here's my first attempt at 18th century hair & makeup from some weeks earlier. The pictures turned out rather good!

I still don't know what I'm supposed to do with the top front section,
and there are some stray wisps of hair, but I am pleased with the curls!
 I have some other photos from this summer of me wearing historical clothes, so perhaps I should post those here sometime too.
And that's all for now! Hopefully I'll finish more shirts soon. I have recently made HUGE improvements to my sleep schedule, so I am getting more done now!


  1. Wow, those curls sure put you in a different time zone than I've been living in. You look amazingly from another era.

    Good job on the transformation of the purple shirt to indigo. I wonder if washing it wit a cup of salt would help set the dye. I know Years ago, I was washing a knit geyser with indigo blue and it ask to add some salt to rinse water to set the dye. I'm sure your mom has has some knowledge of this practice. It wouldn't hurt to ask .

    You're doing great on getting that extra sleep in.
    Good luck. Hugs, Mamoo

    1. Thank you Mamoo!

      A couple of sources I read say that washing with vinegar helps it a bit, so I think I will try that.

  2. The hair looks great, in many instances that top section gets turned under so that it creates a bit of a "pouf" in the front, the style is called an Adonis.

    1. Yes, my hairstyling has improved since those photos! I do have a bit at the top turned under in my most recent post.