Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hello again!  I apologize for being out so long.  I've been training for an evening job as a tour leader and spending the last bit of time on wedding plans.  I'm going to try to get back to posting on here again, as well as starting to post the construction of the wedding on my other blog (screams silently about patterning a morning coat).  So, for now, here is an explanation of the construction techniques used in a riding habit shirt (also applicable to a shift or men's shirt):

The front is split all the way down and only fastens at the collar.

The back ends just above the waist and gathers into a tape which ties around the front.
Right side of collar.  The first step is to split open the neck "T" and insert the triangle gussets you see.  These can be whipped onto the shirt or back-stitched.  I noticed extants had a line of back-stitches just off of the edge on most of the shirt.  The gussets have a top and bottom piece, so the raw edges of the shirt are hidden.  On top of this is the shoulder reinforcement strip, back-stitched on.  Finish the front edge or slit with a small roll (and a bride if slit).

Left-side of collar.  At this point you gather the neckline up.  I attached it to the collar by whipping on each individual gather (inside and outside grab different parts, think corregated cardboard).  I did the back-stitch line about 1/4" above seam.  The collar is a folded piece with back-stitched, then flipped right side out, ends.  You can see the inside of the ruffle which is detachable.
Exterior view of sleeve and gusset.  The gathering is attached just like the collar.

Interior of gusset; left side is body, right is sleeve.  The side seam is felted (back stitched, one side graded, and folded over twice then stitched down).  It transitions into the gusset by use of a fabric strip reinforcement that goes all the way around the armscye and hides the unfolding of the felting.  It's whipped down.  The sleeve portion of the felted seam transitions differently.  Back-stitch the seams first.  Then the side that the seam folds too (up in this case) is actually clipped right at the gusset point.  The sleeve and gusset piece on the other side fold over the raw edges left.  So, one side felts to the sleeve piece and the other felts to the gusset.

You can see the stitching for the fabric strip on the inside.
Moving into the cuff is weird as well.  The interior folded piece just stays folded after the split, but the other side (bottom of pic) is technically rolled to the outside of the shirt.  The cuff is attached just like the collar.

I used thread dorset buttons (no metal ring) and my button holes were about 1/2".  The lace was gathered onto a bleached linen tape (just like the collar).  That way I can just whip the tape to the shirt and easily remove it if I need to wash the shirt.

I know there are a lot of areas of the shirt I didn't mention, but it's generally all rolled shirt-tail hems or felted seams.  I just wanted to talk about the problem areas I had to do some research into.  If you have any questions or want me to post about an area I forgot please ask!