I made this little shift (or smock) for my daughter for the upcoming local Renaissance festival.
It's made of white cotton lawn. Why cotton lawn and not linen? I have no idea. Not sure what I was thinking. I guess maybe I wanted something very fine and sheer? But we do have a very nice fine handkerchief linen at work I could have used. Oh well, next time!
I cut this following the diagram in the book The Tudor Child. The book advises not adding seam allowances and just sewing them very narrow, 1/4" or less, but I wanted a wider allowance so I could make French and flat-felled seams more easily. I am very picky about a totally clean interior finish!
I started sewing it on the machine, and decided I would just hand-sew on the lace at the end. But I figured if I am handsewing the lace I may as well hand sew the neckband as well, and then I thought about maybe just handsewing everything that shows, and the idea of doing a little handsewing was appealing, so I went with it.
I could have done the whole thing by hand, but I just wasn't in the mood. For one thing, kids grow out of stuff so fast, and for another, this is going to be worn at the Renaissance festival, so hardcore accuracy is definitely not required!
So: the French seams at the shoulders and sides are machine-sewn. The flat-felled seams are machined for the first pass and then the edges are stitched down by hand. The neckband and cuffs were machined on the RS and the inside edge was hand stitched down. The neck slit is hand-hemmed. I actually did not hem the bottom, I just cut the body on the cross-grain and the lower edge is a selvage.
The sleeve seams are felled to each side so the sleeve end could open into a slit. As soon as I finished felling one sleeve seam, I realized I could have made the seam allowances MUCH tinier. (The Tudor Tailor was right.) They look huge! Alas. Another thing for next time!
The underarm gusset is felled all around, and the armscye seam allowance is pressed toward the body and felled.
This lace is synthetic, but I would never have guessed if I hadn't done a burn test. I thought it looked like a cotton bobbin lace and gave a historic enough feel.
The buttons are Dorset thread buttons I made using the directions in the book 50 Heirloom Buttons To Make. They are sz 50 linen thread over a metal ring. The button loops are also made in linen thread, and I stitched over the loops with a buttonhole stitch.
Next up: petticoat bodies and a gown! Little clothes are fun!