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Author Topic: Machine - can it still be h/a?  (Read 4623 times)

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Offline ADraeger

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Machine - can it still be h/a?
« on: October 02, 2008, 03:11:37 PM »
I've been lurking about these boards, read various posts about h/a garb (I don't think I'm very h/a.. see profile picture).... my question is this:  Can machine sewed still be considered h/a?  Thoughts, facts, anyone? :) 

Offline gem

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2008, 04:04:27 PM »
Different garbers go to different degrees of historical accuracy--and they're all OK.

Frankly, I don't believe we can ever get fully H/A because we aren't growing our sheep or flax or dyestuffs in the exact same environmental conditions, to start.  Anything from there is just an approximation and an educated guess.

I would say that a machine-sewn garment is no less H/A than one made from fabric woven on a modern power loom and dyed with modern dyes and finished with modern methods.

That said, I know that one standard *many* historical costumers try to achieve is having no VISIBLE machine stitching on their garments.

Offline Kate XXXXXX

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2008, 04:12:46 PM »
Gem, that's pretty much what I aim for with the customers.  Some of the machine finishes have to be inspected REALLY closely before you see the difference from the visible side, too.  I've had to show some folk the machine at work on the 'Heirloom' buttonholes before they believed THOSE were machine sewn!   ;D  Really, no-one can afford to pay me the hours to hand stitch something...

It is possible to start with a sheep and end up with a garment, hand or machine sewn.  It's hard work...  http://schmidling.com/fiber.htm

Offline Cilean

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #3 on: October 03, 2008, 09:21:45 PM »


In the 16th Century Gentry and above would not make their own clothing, perhaps some underthings,  the Tailors Guilds were very strong. A person would come into the shop be shown fabrics, and then the tailor would send out the pieces to be embroidered by women in embroidery guilds.  When that was completed it was brought back to the Tailor who would then complete the outfit.

I am a Wealthy Gentry woman, I have a Tailor who is my personal Tailor so I have Myst a Viking and she also does embroidery for me.  I am lucky in that respect.  I am able to create the clothing in my home without paying for an outside tailor to do my bidding.

So yes you can achieve seams that are exactly from 16th Century techniques.

You can be H/A, and still use a sewing machine.


I hope this helps!
Cilean




 
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Offline ADraeger

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2008, 04:28:28 PM »
Wonderful!  I feel much better. :)  I understand exactly what y'all mean by no visible machine stitching... I'm going to do my best to accomplish this.   As for the link... yikes.  That would be amazing..but.. I'd have to be 80 years old, retired, and bored before I could devote such time. lol :) 

Offline Kate XXXXXX

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2008, 06:09:59 PM »
Well, since this was done by hand, I think that anything that resembles that even a stitch done by machine will pass muster!   ;D ;D


Offline LadyElizabeth

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2008, 01:38:18 PM »
I totally agree with the "to what degree do you want to take your h/a?" 

As some women mentioned, there are a few seamstresses on here who do hand embroidery of certain garb, or who set up their machines to do embroidery on their garb.  Then there are those who buy already embroidered fabrics from the stores. 

And honestly, I'd consider myself a moderate H/Aer and I buy my embroidered fabrics, attempt for no visible machine lines (though I'm not strict with it), do all my beadwork by hand, and still use metal eyelets instead of by hand (I don't have a fancy machine and I also don't have the time). My focus on H/A is more the actual patterning and finished project look for my character than the nitty gritty details since I truly believe it's not remotely possible to be 100% accurate. 
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Offline ADraeger

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2008, 03:34:26 PM »
Well, since this was done by hand, I think that anything that resembles that even a stitch done by machine will pass muster!   ;D ;D



Wow, that is beautiful! Did you make that yourself? 

Offline ADraeger

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #8 on: October 07, 2008, 03:35:41 PM »
I totally agree with the "to what degree do you want to take your h/a?" 

As some women mentioned, there are a few seamstresses on here who do hand embroidery of certain garb, or who set up their machines to do embroidery on their garb.  Then there are those who buy already embroidered fabrics from the stores. 

And honestly, I'd consider myself a moderate H/Aer and I buy my embroidered fabrics, attempt for no visible machine lines (though I'm not strict with it), do all my beadwork by hand, and still use metal eyelets instead of by hand (I don't have a fancy machine and I also don't have the time). My focus on H/A is more the actual patterning and finished project look for my character than the nitty gritty details since I truly believe it's not remotely possible to be 100% accurate. 

I think what I'm aiming for is what you're accomplishing..  moderate h/a with the silhouette/style being h/a, details being whatever I can afford (or locate).  :)

Offline Kate XXXXXX

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #9 on: October 07, 2008, 05:19:04 PM »
Wow, that is beautiful! Did you make that yourself? 

Lord, no!  That's an actual historical garment, constructed in approximately 1660!  It's quite a famous pair of stays, and is featured in  this V&A book by Avril Hart and Susan North, and is part of the V&A collection. 


The point is that the stitches are so even and so beautifully parallel in the boning channels, that without getting so close as to be inhaling the damned thing, you can hardly tell that it is hand rather than machine stitched!  Yes, I've been that close to it (as part of an exhibition at the museum).  It remains one of my seven wonders of the sewing world.  Fabulous thing.

Offline ADraeger

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #10 on: October 07, 2008, 05:33:32 PM »
Wow, that is beautiful! Did you make that yourself? 

Lord, no!  That's an actual historical garment, constructed in approximately 1660!  It's quite a famous pair of stays, and is featured in  this V&A book by Avril Hart and Susan North, and is part of the V&A collection. 


The point is that the stitches are so even and so beautifully parallel in the boning channels, that without getting so close as to be inhaling the damned thing, you can hardly tell that it is hand rather than machine stitched!  Yes, I've been that close to it (as part of an exhibition at the museum).  It remains one of my seven wonders of the sewing world.  Fabulous thing.

This is supposed to be the point where you say, "Why, of course I did! Thank you!" ;) hahaha :)  Point taken and noted.... that piece is amazing.  I'm jealous you got to see it so close! :)  Wow... it's very..humbling..considering I'd be lucky to do even half as good with a machine. lol

Offline Kate XXXXXX

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2008, 03:25:32 AM »
Same here, but it makes a point to aim for, and I smile every time I look at it.

Offline operafantomet

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2008, 04:15:22 AM »
I agree with others. As long as no machine seams are visible, garbs look more historical. I usually do long seams on machine (especially longs seams in the bodice which will get a lot of pressure), but I do all binding and visible seams by hand (also trim attachment). It gives a nice finish.

I often play with the thought of making a garb as historical correct as possible - that means buying especially made natural fiber fabrics with a thread and weave similar to what was used in the Renaissance, natural dyed, whale bones for the bodice, hand braided trims etc. I love the thought. But I doubt I'll ever do it. First, the costs. Second, I don't think it would give me more pleasure than the quasi-historical dresses I'm already making. Third, I could never get it a 100% historical correct anyway. So... I do the stuff necessary to make it fairly historical (natural fibres, good colour shades, historical constructions etc), but as of now I'm not willing to "go all the way". And that includes not sewing everything by hand....

Offline RenRobin

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2008, 07:54:11 AM »
Wow, that is beautiful! Did you make that yourself? 

Lord, no!  That's an actual historical garment, constructed in approximately 1660!  It's quite a famous pair of stays, and is featured in  this V&A book by Avril Hart and Susan North, and is part of the V&A collection. 


The point is that the stitches are so even and so beautifully parallel in the boning channels, that without getting so close as to be inhaling the damned thing, you can hardly tell that it is hand rather than machine stitched!  Yes, I've been that close to it (as part of an exhibition at the museum).  It remains one of my seven wonders of the sewing world.  Fabulous thing.

OMG!  Can you imagine how that person's hand felt....ouch!!!  I bellyache with just putting in a danged ol hem.
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Offline LadyElizabeth

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2008, 09:30:55 AM »
So that corset is stunning, but looking at your pic of it, I'm wondering about the arm holes.  Is this a pic of the front or back?  Is it just an optical illusion, cause it seems the arms are not on the side per say...
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Offline operafantomet

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2008, 09:52:39 AM »
So that corset is stunning, but looking at your pic of it, I'm wondering about the arm holes.  Is this a pic of the front or back?  Is it just an optical illusion, cause it seems the arms are not on the side per say...
No, it's the backside. The front is actually even more beautiful:
http://www.staylace.com/gallery/gallery07/1662_ancosta_front.jpg

The silhouette of the mid/late 1600's required a "pushed-back" shoulder area, but I think the narrow cut of the back and the broadness of the upper sleeves are a bit deceiving in the photo. It is a bit extreme, but not as extreme as it comes off (or would come off on a human being), as far as I can tell.

ETA: bottom of this page: http://www.staylace.com/gallery/gallery07/index.html claims that people has made faithful replicas (V&A - or someone connected to them - has released a rather exact pattern), and that they found the corset both wearable and comfortable. The site above sais the sleeves are a (later?) addition, for winter wear. I dunno.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2008, 09:54:37 AM by operafantomet »

Offline Kate XXXXXX

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2008, 12:40:45 PM »
That's the back.  Here's the whole thing: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/objectid/O10446

And there's a pattern for it here: http://www.patternsoftime.com/proddetail.asp?prod=RC711

Offline gem

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2008, 03:11:03 PM »
The "set-backness" like that of sleeves (for lack of a better term! LOL) was very common in 17th/18th century garb--even my caraco looks close to that, with the armscye curved more toward the back than the side--and it has to do with how the corset shapes the posture.  You would be surprised how *amazingly* comfortable it is to have your shoulders drawn gently back like that--particularly in today's world of slumped-over computer posture!

Offline TiaLD77

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #18 on: October 09, 2008, 07:58:42 AM »
Somethign to keep in mind for pieces like this is for that era folks were not as Physical in the higher classes the arms were not usually Raised above shoulder level even whan dancing, Gestures were small an coantained, things moved at a much slower pace. so while I wouldnt wear it for playign tennis, I bet it is darn comfy for sitting through an afternoon tea or an opera.
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Offline LadyElizabeth

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2008, 09:24:03 AM »
How fascinating and informative.  I totally get how that could be comfortable now.  I do tend to slouch in my corsets sometimes just because that's how they are...  Thanks for clearing that up.
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Offline mollymishap

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2008, 06:14:23 PM »
Well, it may be that this is one of those "depends on the activity" situations...I made a similar boned bodice cut to a c. 1660's pattern in one of Janet Arnold's books for a part I played, and I found it most uncomfortable to wear...now it could well be that if I hadn't been in a very active and physical role that demanded free arm movement, I would have been fine.

So, maybe the moral of the story is not only to be concerned about whether the construction method and pattern is h/a, but to consider what activities the particular style of clothing would be most suited for. 

I made a Henrician Tudor gown with those great big furry sleeves about a year or so ago, and I tell you: unless I plan on attending a banquet where I'd be mostly sitting, I dont' think I could wear that gown to faire for a whole day without ending up needing some Alleve by the end of it. 

Some syles were just meant for pretty and are really rather impractical to wear--then and now, come to think of it!

Offline LadyElizabeth

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2008, 08:49:23 AM »
The only part of my garb that I find very physically uncomfortable would be my huge neck ruff and my big neck whisk.  It completely restricts head movement such that by the end of the day I'm just dying to move my head back or turn my head without turning my whole body!!  I can't imagine the Elizabethans wearing those ruffs on a daily basis, unless at court or at an official function...
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Offline Miranda

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #22 on: October 10, 2008, 04:50:53 PM »
Quote
I can't imagine the Elizabethans wearing those ruffs on a daily basis, unless at court or at an official function...
More than likely that's exactly when were worn.
I imagine going to Court then was rather like going to the Oscars today.
It's only on the rarest of occasions that we get the Elizabethan equivalent of People Magazines' "Star Tracks."  There are examples out there of what the upper class wore on a daily basis, it just takes some digging and knowing where to look.

As for the initial question.  I'm going to rehash what has been said already. 

When I decided that accuracy was a worthwhile endeavor for me I started with silhouette and worked out.  In the beginning everything was machine sewn, including trim.  I've gotten to the point where I much prefer hand sewing my bodices, because I find it is easier to manipulate my fabrics.  Trim and other accents are hand stitched.  I avoid visible machine stitching when and where ever possible.  I still use my machine on my skirt seams and undergarments, but that is only because no one sees those.
I have actually found that I save time by sewing some things by hand.  Because I have more control, things are only done once. Rather than having to take out the seam and redo it because the velvet on my bodice puckered, trim shifted, etc.

When all is said, it really depends on your goals, what is important to you as a costumer, and any particular sewing strengths or weaknesses, as to how far you take your accuracy.
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Offline nliedel

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Re: Machine - can it still be h/a?
« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2008, 09:23:53 AM »
I do my eyelets by hand and my armholes, along with anything else I have time for. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. I'm just trying to be more H/A right now and worry about perfect authenticity when the kids aren't so high maintenance. I will never make a hand stitched pair of bodies, though. I know my limits.
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