Friday, October 31, 2014

Distractions II

Winter sucks, particularly in the faux-past and when pretending to be poor. Eighteenth-century working class types had to be creative about staying alive. With toes cut off, old stockings are a great addition to a waistcoat. Mark quarter measurements with pins and use a pressing ham to stretch the stocking to the arm hole. This is not meant to be pretty. Runaway descriptions in the period call this "with stockings to the coat."

Another good item to have is a pair of spatterdashes. Made with linen (often painted) or black wool they protect the stockings and keep crap out of your shoes. Both sides wore them in the War for Independence, before overalls became popular.

 Patterning is the hard part. This kit is from Carl Johnson, and nicely oversized. The toe has been back-stitched into the front. A row of black horn buttons will close these, and needs to be centered on the outside of the leg. Best to steal measurements from overalls if you have them. Otherwise, turn under the short side of the front piece so it's centered on the ankle bone, with the toe pulled tightly over the shoe and stocking.

Here is a cool trick. The kettle bag uses a rectangle of osnaburg, slightly taller than the kettle for sides. After washing and pressing, tug on the corners of the fabric to straighten the weave. Measure and make small snips, try and use selvage on one side if possible. With a pin, tease out one of the threads from the snip and start pulling.

Careful tugging should free a nice long thread parallel to the length or width. When it breaks, cut along the gap and start over. After the two threads meet you are left with a nice rectangle or square, ready to sew.

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