Dress Like a Pirate – Part 2

Earlier this year Bernadette Banner made a Pirate Shirt. Since then there has been a tidal wave of people making similar shirts of their own. I had already thought about making myself an 18th Century Men’s shirt, but Bernadette’s video sealed my resolve to make this garment for myself. Around the same time I ordered 5 yards of handkerchief weight linen from Fabrics-Store.com. I found some inspiration photos, but my interests diverged: on the one hand I wanted to make a classic, plain shirt. On the other hand I wanted RUFFLES.

After much consideration I decided to make 2 shirts: one would be a plain 18th century shirt, the other would be a modern shirt with a neck ruffle. I made the ruffled shirt first using the Juliette Blouse pattern from Sew Over It.

Since the ruffled shirt was made with a modern pattern and a sewing machine, I decided to go full 18th century with the construction of my pirate shirt, meaning that I sewed every single stitch by hand. Sewing by hand can be extremely rewarding, but it is also quite slow when compared to machine sewing. At several points I longed to pull out my sewing machine and make some quick progress. Instead I toted my project around with me and worked on bits and pieces here and there.

I started with the sleeves: I sewed up the seams, felled down the seam allowances, seamed in the gores, gathered the sleeves down, and applied the cuffs.

Then I moved on to the body: I added in small gores at the neck, finished the front slit, gathered the neck, and applied the collar.

Finally, I gathered the sleeve heads, sewed them onto the body of the shirt, sewed the side seams, felled all the seam allowances down, and finished the hem.

The finishing touches were closures: 2 off-white buttons for the sleeve cuffs, and braided elastic closures. The sleeve closures were my one main departure from historical practice. I had cut the cuffs long enough to go around my wrists with a little ease, but not long enough to button close and still have ease. The solution was to create a thread loop for the button closure. Buttons are hard enough to wrangle when you have a decent buttonhole, so I braided some elastic thread to make dressing myself easier.

The photos speak for themselves: this shirt is marvelous!

Now that I have my authentic pirate shirt I need some pants, a vest, and a hat.

Drink up, me hearties, yo ho!

The Joy of Finishing

Ah, the joy of (finally) finishing something! Starting new things is always fun, but I tend to start lots of big projects and the middle always becomes a bit of a joyless slog (well, as joyless as crafting can be). I always forget how quickly sewing goes compared to knitting!

On Thursday I printed (and taped) the pattern for the Wiksten tank. Due to a problem with the printing size I had to do some math to make sure my shirt would fit. After mathing it was time to lay out fabric and cut. Scary! Eeek! Cutting was accomplished, I pinned, matched thread, and began sewing. The pattern is very clearly written with excellent photo instructions, and it has french seams. I adore french seams for the tidiness inside the garment. Thursday night I finished the basic construction of the garment.

shirt

Friday and Saturday I worked on all the edges and bindings. I think the finishing actually took longer than the construction, though all in all the shirt took me about 6 hours – and that is hand sewing. This thing is seriously fast, people!

I love it. Go buy the pattern and make your own, because this one is mine and I’m not sharing. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go make 20 more.