Monthly Archives: December 2012

BFG: Hidden seams in lined garments

In today’s BFG, we are going to take a look at how to create a lined garment, with hidden seams.  This is one method for costume construction.  It is useful if you have easily irritated skin, as I do.  If the garment can be constructed with lining, this is my go to method for getting the smoothest lines against my body.

The easiest way to explain this is, you will making your garment twice. It does take 2x longer to do, but fortunately, most historical costumes are constructed using straight lines. And I rarely line the skirt. Since we are only talking about a bodice and maybe the sleeves, it’s not too bad. We will use the Bavarian as an example.

Step 1:
Cut out your material according to your pattern. You will cut the pattern once with pretty/external facing fabric and once for lining. I am fairly symmetrical from the natural waist up. The 2 sides are close enough to each other that I can use the same pattern for both. If you are using material with a pattern, make sure you have placed the pattern in the correct direction. I’ve been costuming for a long time, and i still check it 3x before cutting. And even then, I still occasionally cut a piece the wrong way. As this is a historical costume, I am not as concerned with lining up all the patterns together.

Step 2:
Heat up your iron*. Sew the lining. Sew the pretty fabric. For the Bavarian,the pretty is the blue silk brocade and the lining is a complementary blue linen. You will now have 2 identical garments. To round out step 2, go press your seams flat in both parts.

Step 3:
Line up your garment, finished seam, to finished seam. This means you will be working with the Wrong Side facing out, from both garments. Sew these together.

Inside Out

Step 4:
Clip and flip. Clipping allows you to get crisp edged corners without warping.** Once you have clipped , you can turn your garment right side out.
Flip and Clip

Step 5:
Press your seams. Once pressed, you can run a 1/4 inch seam around the new edge. This keeps all the seams nicely sealed.

If you are working with all linen, take the time to run a zig zag stitch over the raw edges, prior to step 4. This will help prevent fraying. The zig zag stitch is very useful if you do not own a serger (which I do not).
Seam Binding

*Note: The iron can make or break your outfits.  A well pressed seam helps your garment look crisp, clean, and it helps keep your lines clean while you are sewing. It will also help the garment sit better on your body. It is just as much of a work horse as your sewing machine.

**Note: This is a technique for machine sewing. If you are hand sewing, your technique around edges allow you to get the same effect without clipping. Clipping does cause a weakness in the fabric. However when used appropriately, you get wonderful results. The key is not to clip all the way down to the seam. You just need to nick V corners to get a clean line. With 90 corners, you snip a diagonal.

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Posted by on December 16, 2012 in BFG, Technique


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BFG- a new series of posts

I have been getting a lot of questions from people wanting to “step up” their costuming skills and general SCA wardrobe.  When I asked what would be useful, I got a resounding “show us from the ground up how to build a dress, kirtle, veil, smock, shift, socks, etc…”  And then I realized that I never blog the basic stuff.  I just kinda presumed that this kind of stuff is already out there for the learning. My resolution for the new year is to teach the basics to whomever wants to learn a little more about sewing, patterning and building nice, yet simple clothing.

Taking that a step further, maybe running some classes locally to help new folks learn to make quality clothes outside of the everyday t-tunic or elastic waist band skirts. I’ve also been asked to run a sewing machine 101 class, as many folks don’t know how to use what they already own.  We will also probable take a field trip to my fabric stash, to learn the different properties of synthetics vs natural fibers and how to tell the difference when you are in a fabric store.

But I digress. This is a post about the basics.  I will call them BFGs.  And hopefully making clothing will be less scarey.  I will post projects that I am working on, from the ground up.  You will see everything from design to process to finished product.  The first thing one I will be working on is a shift.  I need to make a new shift for the Bavarian, as I do not have anything that has a square neckline.

I hope these BFGs will be useful for folks.  And please let me know if there are things that you want to see done.  I am always working on foundation clothes.


Posted by on December 11, 2012 in BFG


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HRE tour: Bavaria- Dress design

Since the fabric did not arrive in time the Freisan dress is on  hold until the end of January.   So instead, we will be looking at Bavaria.  It is rare that I do a long dress for SCA events, but this is for 12th night. This event is all about standing around looking pretty.  I also have 2 other projects I am working on for the event, but they are super seekret elevation surprises. So you all will just have to wait for those.

But in the mean time, I give you Bavaria, in silk brocade, silk twill, velvet and dupioni.

Bavarian BavarianRoadmap

The inspiration is Anna Scheit, and was painted by Barthel Bruyn in the 1520s.


Posted by on December 7, 2012 in 16th Century, German, Sewing


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