Monday, 22 September 2008

Timeline of construction of a pair of Hose

Months ago in February, (I admit, I've been slack about posting) I decided I wanted lots of pairs of hose for Rowany festival, since that part of my wardrobe was lacking (only 2 pairs for 4 days! and one of those thick wool.) I'm getting pretty good at hose by now, given that I've been using the same pattern each time. So I decided to time how long it took to construct a pair. Or to be more precise I constructed one first to check the fit in the particular fabric (it changes slightly each time), and the exact way I was doing the hose, and then timed the second one of the pair.

Construction, Pattern, stitching technique
I've been making copies of the 14th Century Hose from MOL because I think they are the same pattern as 12thC ones for reasons I'll describe in a post soon.

I decide to experiment with a couple of things on this pair. Firstly, I've found the rear seam to be quite weak (running stitch as described on the London hose snapped on the second wear in linen on linen on another pair), and the transition around the seam at the heel difficult. I wondered why the seam used on the foot didn't simply extend up the back of the leg. I guess it would be inelegant in wool with raw edges showing, but in linen all my edges were contained anyway. I tried this method (see pictures to left), and in linen it works just as well, maybe slightly better than the other method. The transition at the heel is slightly tricky, but it's even trickier in linen with double folds changing from this seam to flat felled apart seams.

I chose to make a decorative hem using herringbone stitch on this pair of hose. The pictures to the right show the inside (decorative so it will look prettiest when turned over) and outside (plain) top hems. I have no evidence for this type of hem for this period, or on hose. It just is used on hems elsewhere and when and was pretty.

The last is a shot of how I handle the top of the vamp (top of the arch of the foot). This is a slight adaption for the linen versus a wool that doesn't need hemming. The picture is mostly there to show how I do this.

These hose were constructed on my way to work, sitting at the bus stop, on the train, at the train station, and so there was a lot of stopping and starting and a little unpicking. I probably could have made these slightly quicker under optimum conditions.

So here is my construction progress in pictorial form:

I think the decorative hem took longer than a simple line of backstitching as seem in the London hose would have. But the white linen thread on purple linen fabric is pretty.

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