Sunday, 8 July 2012

The Elizabethan Smock, the hiatus is over

On my gravestone, they can write "She lived her life well, can someone now please do the ironing."  Never my most favourite of jobs (unless it is to press some sewing, then I'm a very happy ironer) it seems to have flourished since we came back from holiday, and the ironing pile had to be tackled so that I could get my dining room back, so that (more importantly) I could then turn it back into my sewing room... I have my priorities straight!

Finally today the ironing was done and I celebrated by getting the body of the smock sewn together.  It's interesting to make, with it's sleeve gussets and the flaired side panels but I didn't take photos.  I have to sew all the seams, so I may take some of it's construction then, but today I just wanted to see progress.  Instead I tried it on and the 11 yr old (who wants to be a photographer if the palaeontologist, make up artist, singer routes don't work out) took some photos.  The instructions say to check the fit of the neckline under the kirtle, and as I'd so drastically altered it (here), I was keen to see that I hadn't ruined it!

On it's own, it's not the most attractive thing!  The measurements are funny again and I'd argue, too small.  The side panels join at the base of the armholes and that width is very, very narrow.  I couldn't get the smock on my tailors dummy, it wouldn't go over Miss G's rigid shoulders, and even with the benefit of my more flexible shoulders, it's a squeeze to get in and out of it.

The sleeves are unfinished, they have a cuff and frill at the end.   They are long and very deep, the spare fabric will be pulled through slits in the over sleeves.

Although the shoulders will not stay on without the kirtle, it holds them in place nicely when on.  I'm also really pleased to have got the recommended 1" show above the kirtle bodice.  It also proves my thoughts about the original design, which would have left me with over 6" of smock showing above the kirtle.  I really must review the pattern and measurements at some point, if only for my own sanity!  I can't believe that it was meant to be as it was turning out before I made the amendments.

Which that brings me to the only problem with my adjustments... I cut the front and back panels to match, which was downright silly of me and I knew it at the time.  I was too impatient to wait for more fabric to be ordered/arrive and so uncertain about the whole thing that I wasn't sure I wouldn't be starting all over again anyway.  One day, I'll revisit the pattern again and see, with the benefit of a little experience, if I can't make the instructions work for me.  For now, I'm going to stick with this smock, as the back will be covered by the top gown... there's lots of seams to finish, cuffs and a hem to sew. 
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