Thursday, 19 April 2007

Handsewing wool - stitches used?

I've been musing over what stitches would have been used to sew a 12th C women's fulled woolen dress.

*Heather Rose Jones "Archaeological Sewing"
*Jennifer L. Carlson "Sewing Stitches Used in Medieval Clothing"
*"Woven into the Earth"
*MOL "Textiles & Clothing"

My conclusion - I still can't decide what would be particularly 12th C. I think I need more examples that are 12th C woolen garments without lining. Well any examples really.

Since I made a cutting error resulting in extra piecing, and this is not a competition entry, I suppose ultra authenticity doesn't matter so much. So I've decided to use the seam finish that most intrigued me. (and to get it started before Rowany Festival, even if my hope of wearing it there was futile).

It's from Hedeby in Denmark, I'm not sure exactly when - "medieval era", I'm not sure of more than that (maybe 10th C?) - the original article is rather obscure and difficult to obtain.
The seams are turned over once or twice (only once on this garment as it's fulled) and hemmed, then overcast together. One example had additional (presumably decorative) running stitch. I've pulled out my bronze needle and linen thread and it's working nicely.

Here's pictures of a seam: (Front & Back)

You can't see most of the hemming stitches from the front even though the cloth is purple and the thread stark white. You can see the construction seam sometimes, and a line of dints alongside it. I think with a few washes the wool will full together over the join and make the thread less visible.

And here's pictures of a seam in progress for those of you having trouble working out what I was doing: (laid flat & how it actually sits as I stitch)

I'm happy with the speed of this technique. Strength I will test over time with wear. I still want to know what would be the best technique for 12th C woolen garments though!


Rebecca said...

You might want to see if Eleanora from Cairn Fell has any information, since I know she's a decorative seam-stitching nutter.

Can't help with the Haegg reference though, but if you ever find that book let me know! =)

Jac said...

Yes - Eleanora does use a very similar stitch, but sews right through the fabric so that the stitching shows on the outside. You may have noticed it on her garb, as she even goes so far as to use a contrasting thread colour, making the stitching a decorative feature. She has documentation, but I'm afraid that I don't recall the sources.

Teffania said...

I'll ask Elenora next time I see her.