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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cas City Historical Society  |  The Old Fashioned Way (Moderators: St. George, Delmonico)  |  Topic: How many of you build your own shirts? 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: How many of you build your own shirts?  (Read 22538 times)
Tommy tornado
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« on: January 18, 2006, 09:59:05 pm »


Been thinking about trying to learn to use my mother-in-law's sewing machine.  Wondering how difficult or easy it is to make cowboy shirts.  Recently bought a two shirt patterns off ebay, and was wondering if there are any major pitfalls.  One pattern is a three button one pocket shirt and the other is a bid front shirt.  Also looked at but did not buy a Folkswear (might have the company name right) Missouri Riverboat shirt.  Thanks in advance for any advice, tips, and replies.
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Silver Creek Slim
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« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2006, 10:18:29 am »

What pattern is it (Simplicity, McCall's, etc.)? Any other distinguishing traits? Some of us have done this, particularly Delmonico.

Slim
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Delmonico
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« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2006, 10:39:20 am »

They are not hard to make, if you can make things out of wood or steel, you can make them out of cloth.  I would first get some scraps and learn to run the machine, practice with it till you can make it work for you, that will save a lot of flustration.

Second see if someone like your mother-in-law can help you through the first one.  My wife helped me through my first one and I've made maybe 2 dozen since then.  I'd have made more, but I got off on quilts, I only make one now and then when I want something I can't buy and get tired of quilts.

Hollor if we can help.
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Mongrel Historian


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Tommy tornado
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« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2006, 08:49:41 pm »

The pattern I bought was made by Simplicity.  It is their casual Civil War shirt pattern.  The other one I am looking at buying is the Missouri River boat shirt from Folkwear (i think).  Currently I do make my own leather gear, so hand sewing I am not worried about.  Never used a sewing machine before.  Curious as to about how long it took you to sew a typical 1800's pattern shirt?  Also are there any particular pieces that have given experienced shirt makers trouble?  Button-holes, collar (if needed), etc.  I was planning on machine stitching my first and hand-sewing button holes.  Still searching for a good picture of a properly stitched button hole.
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Delmonico
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2006, 08:53:21 pm »

You'll do fine then jump right in.  I'm headed home from work in a few minutes but I'll see if I can do a post on how to make one.  I ain't figured out how to use the digital camera yet and not sure how to post one but I'll see what I can do in the next few days.
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Mongrel Historian


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Brigid Tanner
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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2006, 02:06:15 am »

The good thing about Simplicity (also McCall's and Butterick) patterns are the directions. They're usually very clear and easy to follow.  I've done one dress from a pattern by Period Impressions, and it may be very historically accurate, but it was a pain cause the directions assumed a greater sewing knowledge that I had, and were rather vague about how som epeices were supposed to go together.  I'd love to see that buttonhole picture if you can post it, Delmonico. 
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Delmonico
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2006, 02:25:15 am »

If the pattern has a type of fold down collar you can make it a banded collar by just using the collar band piece and not the rest.  Also when I make one with a fold down collar I usually trave the upper piece and then modify that by rounding the collar more.

I use a discontinued McCalls pattern, I sent an extra one I had to Slim.  It was for a bib shirt and a gathered shirt.  I've made them with out the bib and used the gathered back on the ungathered front and sleeves.  I also often make a different bib and posted here on how.  I also often make a pattern for a different cuff. 

If you can embroider, an embroidered bib is really a neat thing.  I have one I did Purple Cone Flowers on. 

My wife does rubber stamping and you can get an ink that washes out to stamp embroidery patterns on.  Some day I'm going to find a really nice large rose stamp and buy it for her and borrow it to embroider on a bib. 
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Mongrel Historian


Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

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The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.
Silver Creek Slim
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2006, 11:52:48 am »

The first shirt pattern for CAS we tried was the Simplicity 5023 "The Fashion Historian - Martha McCain". It is very historically correct. It is for the civilian during the Civil War. The problem is the shirt has gusseted arm pits. A real pain in the posterior. My mother sewed it and had a real hard time with it. She has be sewing for 50+ years.

The pattern Del sent me is much easier.

Slim
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2006, 12:02:23 pm »

 

If you can embroider, an embroidered bib is really a neat thing.  I have one I did Purple Cone Flowers on. 

My wife does rubber stamping and you can get an ink that washes out to stamp embroidery patterns on.  Some day I'm going to find a really nice large rose stamp and buy it for her and borrow it to embroider on a bib. 


Have you seen the transfer pencils? You can trace the design you want with them, iron the pattern on to your fabric, and it washes out when you're done. The one I've got right now is red, but I've seen them in black and white. That doesn't help you find a rose stamp for your wife, but it might get you a rose on your bib  Wink
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Delmonico
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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2006, 01:49:24 pm »

I might try that sometime, but right now I've got 4 quilts that need done so I don't think I'm going to build any new shirts for a couple of months. Grin
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Mongrel Historian


Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

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The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.
Chantilly
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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2006, 09:23:10 pm »

Laughing Moon patterns are great also and historically correct.  The instructions are good.  I have not made the men's shirts, but I've used their pattern for ladies victorian underwear.  Others that use their patterns say how easy they are including the men's shirt pattern LM 107 that includes a couple types of shirts and several collar and cuff styles.  Here's their website - http://www.lafnmoon.com/patterns.html

Any ladies wanting great patterns, Truly Victorian's patterns are great and they have a sewing bulletin board so if you need help, just do a search of the threads or post your question.  There are also a lot of pictures of garments made using their patterns.  Their website - http://trulyvictorian.netfirms.com/

Tommy Tornado - don't worry about sewing with perfection.  No one will notice a mistake here or there.  Also, if you have a chance to look at original clothes, you would be surprised at some of the less than perfect sewing.  Victorians made over clothing a lot as hand me downs, to update for the newer fashion season, change the size for changing shape, or to make repairs.  They were clever and learned to "make it work".

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Tommy tornado
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2006, 09:28:27 pm »

Simplicity 5023 "
Slim

That is the one I purchased.
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Delmonico
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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2006, 11:35:54 am »

Maybe a write in campaign to McCalls would bring that pattern back.  I'll find the number and post it.
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Mongrel Historian


Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

Ab Ovo Usque ad Mala

The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.
Silver Creek Slim
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« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2006, 10:29:25 am »

That is the one I purchased.
I advise you to take it back to the store. It is not one to learn to sew with.
Sent ya a PM.

Slim
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« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2006, 10:54:55 am »

I'd save it in case you want one latter, they might just discontinue it and then you'd be out of luck. 

BTW: When I find a pattern I like I wait till the sewing stores have $0.99 pattern sales and then I buy extras in case they discontinue it.
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Mongrel Historian


Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

Ab Ovo Usque ad Mala

The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.
Delmonico
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« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2006, 01:07:00 pm »

That pattern number is 2451, I don't have an E-Mail or address for McCalls right handy.  I will see if I can find it.
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Mongrel Historian


Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

Ab Ovo Usque ad Mala

The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.
Russ T Chambers
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« Reply #16 on: January 24, 2006, 04:36:15 pm »

They have a web site at:


http://www.mccall.com/
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Russ T. Chambers
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Ottawa Creek Bill
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« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2006, 05:15:37 am »

Tommy,
I've been into the living history/reenacting life style since the early 1970's, in both 18th &19th century, I've always made my own clothes and also all my pow-wow clothing. Even though machine sewn clothing was the norm for the 19th century, I still hand sew all my clothing. It's a habit I got into when making clothes for the 18th century time period. I also make my own mocassins.
The type of mocassins I wear for my persona/impression (chiricahua apache) can't be bought so you have to make them yourself, they are the ones you see with the turned up front toe, molded rawhide sole, in a lot of historical photos and I've never seen a good pattern that illustrates how they were made. Fortunately there was an old mescalero apache woman who used to live about 40 miles north of me who taught me how to make them. Her family used to attend a lot of the same pow-wows that my family does and we became good friends and travelled a lot together (our families) on the pow-wow circuit.
In the past twenty years I have only bought two shirts off the rack and they were from River Junction Trading company. I like their pull over style shirts, they have extra long tails and are as close to the actual shirts of the period as you can get off the rack and the prices are right too. I've made two shirts using those two shirts as examples. After a while when you get used to doing your own sewing, you will find it easier to make your own patterns and will find that buying a pattern is not neccessary. If you've got good research material (a lot of it is incorrect) that shows good examples of the item you want to sew you can make your own patterns from that, thats what I do and its a lot of fun.

Bill
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« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2006, 10:57:53 pm »

replying to lots of posts at one time....
Bill,  I'm envious of your ablitity to sew without a pattern! I've got a friend who can do that, and she's tried to teach me, but I just can't seem to do it.
Slim, Thanks for the warning on that Simplicity pattern. I've got it, cause I always buy anything period looking when the patterns are on sale,  Grin, but haven't tried making it yet.  I have done gussets for other time period costuming, and they were a pain.
Chantilly, Haven't tried the Laughing Moon patterns, but I'll go look. Have made a petticoat from a Truly Victorian pattern that came out so pretty I kept lifting my over skirt a bit to go "look at this!"  LOL!! Didn't know they had a forum...I'll have to go check it out!
Glad to know I'm not the only one who buys extras of patterns when they go on sale, Del  Wink
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Gold Canyon Kid
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« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2006, 11:11:42 pm »

Just don't do what a CAS tailor did for me.  I won a custom dress up CAS shirt at a state championship.  I gave the tailor my measurements.  I told him my arms were very long, 37 inches.  Now for mens shirts that is the measurement from the center of the neck to the tip of the sleeve I believe.  About 4 months later I got a beautiful shirt in the mail.  Couldn't wait to put it on, but when I did the sleeves came down below my knees.  He had made the measurement from where the sleeves attached to the shoulder instead.  I tried to contact him but had zero luck.
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Tommy tornado
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« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2006, 07:11:47 pm »

I advise you to take it back to the store. It is not one to learn to sew with.
Sent ya a PM.

Slim


Bought it via Ebay for about $7 total.  It will stay with me.
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Tommy tornado
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« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2006, 07:16:16 pm »

Ottowa Creek Bill,

When you hand-stitch cloth do you use a back-stitch or other?  I have been reading a couple of sewing books from the library, and have been debating between hand or machine sewing.  The shirts I have bought over the years are a mixture of both.
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Delmonico
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« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2006, 08:12:48 pm »

One advatage to hand sewing is you can take your sewing with you.  I always have something like that around.  I used to work security and sat for hours when there wasn't anything going on, I sewed.  Also have done it at kids softball games, waiting in the car and at doctors offices and even in the hospital, both as a patient and waiting for somebody having tests or surgery.

At home there are 5 sewing machines so I just use them.

I haven't tried making a shirt from scratch with out a pattern but mostly just use the front back and sleeves and do the rest to suit me.
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Mongrel Historian


Always get the water for the coffee upstream from the herd.

Ab Ovo Usque ad Mala

The time has passed so quick, the years all run together now.
Ottawa Creek Bill
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« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2006, 09:47:22 pm »

Tommy,
If you can get your hands on Beth Gilgun's book, "Tidings From the 18th Century", do so. I would reccomend this for any one that does hand sewing. Beth is highly regarded as a person who knows her craft and is used quite often by researchers as a resource looking for information on clothing and sewing techniques of both the 18th & 19th century, she has worked for the smithsonian on several projects in the past regarding clothing and it's construction. Hand sewing (technique) didn't change much from the 18th through the 19th century.

For me any seams I sew, I use a backstitch, usaully 12 to 20 stitches per inch depending on the material and what I am making. That was the most common stitch to use then for general sewing. To end my stitch, I use a back stitch lock stitch. They also used the running stitch, overcast stitch and whip stitch, yes, they were used for some sewing, but primarily for basting, hemming and finish work. Do stitches per inch matter? Well, if you are going to the trouble of sewing by hand and want to create something that existed during the era you represent, spent money for a pattern and material, yes they do matter, and more stitches per inch (close stitches are very stong) are hard to tell from machine sewing.

References
Bradfield, Nancy, Costume in Detail: Women's Dress 1730-1930
Kalm, Peter, Peter Kalm's Travels in North America
Martin, J.P., Private Yankee Doodle
Montgomery, Florence, Textiles in America, 1650-1879
Neumann, George C., and Frank Kravic, Collector's Illustrated Encyclopedia of the American Revolution

Most of the above reference materials/books can still be found on the internet, I think.....

Bill
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Ottawa Creek Bill
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« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2006, 09:54:01 pm »

What Delmoinco says is true. If you are working on a project, take it with you and work on it when the activites die down and you find yourself with some idle time, especially at the bigger functions.

Bill
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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  Special Interests - Groups & Societies  |  Cas City Historical Society  |  The Old Fashioned Way (Moderators: St. George, Delmonico)  |  Topic: How many of you build your own shirts? « previous next »
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