(12) Cut stripes from a sheer fabric for the ruffles, about 1 ½ to 2 times as long as the edges to be trimmed and about 2 ¾” (7cm) wide. Roll hem the two short and one long edge and gather the remaining raw edge.
Take the cotton tape, cut to the length of the edge to be trimmed, and fold in half lengthwise, turn in a narrow seam allowance along the short edges. Slide the gathered edge of the ruffle between the two layers of the tape and stitch in place through all layers. The ruffles are attached to the inside of the neck opening and cuffs with a running stitch and can be removed for washing easily.
(5) The sleeves are gathered between the marks (3) and lined up with the shirt, right sides together, matching all marks (3) and (4). On the picture you can see my back stitch, made from the sleeve side. In the end, it would have been better to sew from the shirt side, to hide the longer and uneven stitches on the back with the flat felled seam later. On the second sleeve I made my back stitch from the right side, but unfortunately I didn’t take a picture.
(6) Time to sew the side and sleeve seam. To get a nice result when making all seams flat felled seams later, I stitched all seams from the front side (front bodice + front sleeve), starting and stopping at marks for the vents and underarm gusset. After sewing, I used a ruler to check that my opening for the gusset was the right size.
I´m back in the 1790´s! No special occasion is coming up, just that I planned to finish the 1790´s men´s pattern series with a shirt which I have so far neglected.
Men´s shirts are quite simple garment´s, made from rectangular pieces of fabric and have changed less than other garments during the last centuries. Therefore, the shirt in this pattern can be used for costumes over several decades, from about 1750 to 1830.
Gussets at the underarm and shoulder slope gave the shape needed. The shoulders were reinforced with additional patches, attached to the inside of the shirt with a fell or slip stitch. There are several ways to insert gussets, attach shoulder patches or cast all the raw edges, especially at the armhole. My templates are three extant men´s shirts displayed at the “Germanisches Nationalmuseum” in Nürmberg, Germany.
Let´s start sewing, following the pattern instructions step by step.
(1) Of course, my step #1always is to cut and prepare the pieces from fabric, marking all the notches. I made the shirt from a fine linen. When sewing with linen, it´s important to pre-wash the fabric at least with the same temperature as you´re going to wash the shirt later. Cutting linen in the straight grain can be tricky as well, I prefer to pull out single threads. This can be boring and time consuming, but in the end it´s worth it.
(2) This is the shirt bodice, slashed horizontally for the neck opening, and slashed down the center front at the chest. Along slash at the center front, a narrow seam allowance is double-turned in and fell stitched in place. To hold the edge of the fabric straight when sewing, I used a plastic clamp from the hardware store (my third hand).
(3) When I first started sewing a 18th century men’s shirt, the most difficult thing I found was the shoulder patches and gussets. Because of this, I’m going to show it in great detail.
Take the shoulder gussets and turn in the seam allowances along two consecutive edges, or along all edges as shown in the pictures.
Slash the shoulder patch and turn in the seam allowances (except along the armhole edge) and insert the gusset as shown. It is shown and described a little differently in the instructions, only at the end the result will be the same.
(5) The fronts and backs are ready prepared to be stitched together. First seam will be the shoulder seam, stitched from the back with a backstitch. I recommend to sew this seam by hand. At point (1 – red arrow) just the back is notched V-shaped and the seam allowances of the shoulder trimmed back to ¼” (5mm).
The seam allowance along the back neckline is trimmed back too, just leaving the uppermost layer of the piping.
(9) Take the bodice and mark the stitching line around the armhole. Line up another length of piping and baste in place. Trim back the cord only at the start and stop (in the range of the armpit) to remove bulk and fold the ends of the bias tape crossing each other.
Insert the sleeve into the armhole, right sides together, matching the sleeve seam with the side seam of the bodice. Ease in the excess width of the sleeve by pulling the threads and spread evenly along the sleeve head. Sew the sleeve with a backstitch, right beside the piping cord (sew from the side of the bodice to get better controll of the piping cord). Trim back the seam allowances and neaten with an overcasting stitch.