Today Eileen gave us an introduction to the college Bernina sewing machines, asked us to make samples, and got us to practice taking measurements on the other people in our tutorial group. Patsy, Mathilda and I are in the yellow group.

In the last part of the afternoon Claire spoke more about the project briefs of the 2 modules we will be working on this term and must complete by the 11th of January.

1 Sewing machines:

  • Machine safety
  • Overview
  • Setting up the machines

2 Samples

The samples we did today will be used to demonstrate our skills and understanding for this and one of the other modules.

  • Seams
    • Plain seam
      Machine or hand stitch seam and press open.
    • Double top stitched seam
      Make a plain seam and press open. Stitch close to the seam on both sides on the right side of the fabric.
    • French seam
      On outside stitch a 3mm seam from seam line. On inside crease along stitched line and make a second seam which encases the edges.
    • Flat felled seam
      Stitch plain seam on outside, trim one edge to within 3mm from stitching. Turn in other edge and topstitch encasing the trimmed edge.
  • Gathers/Frills
    • Two thread method
      Machine stitch two rows of long loose running stitch.

      2 rows of machine stitch using a long stitch on a loose tention

      Two rows of long machine stitches on a loose tension setting

      Fasten threads on one side by wrapping round a pin in a figure of 8.
      On the other end, pull the top thread from each row carefully (so they do not break).

      Once you have secured one end, pull top threads from each row at the other end

      Ease the fabric up and even gathers out.

      You can gather the fabric tightly

      Tight gathering

      When I have gathered to the correct length or fullness, I run an awl up and down the gathers to help even them out.

      Gatherswith a ruler

      Or space out to the desired width. Try and get the gathers evenly spaced all along.

    • Cord method (for when fabrics are to heavy or thick to use the two thread method).
      Using piping cord, use a loose zigzag stitch over the cord. Be careful not to catch the cord with the needle.
      You should be able to slide the fabric and threads over the cord to gather.
  • Pleats
    • box pleats
    • inverted box pleats
    • knife pleats
      Measuring 1" pleats

      Measuring 1" pleats. Remember to finish hem before pleating.

      Pinning pleats in to place

      Pinning pleats in to place.

      Once the desired number of pleats have been made, machine stitch along the top to hold in place, and then press.

    • pin tucks
  • Placket
  • Hems
    • Slip Stitch Hem
      Turn hem under and stitch raw edge, pin and edge tack. Slip stitch in place.
    • French dressmaker hem
      Overcast hem edge, drawing up any fullness. Press hem, Turn overcast edge back 6mm (1/4”), slip stitch loosely to folded over edge catching only one thread of the base layer and only one or two of the hem.
    • Machine top stitched hem
      Best used when only a small hem is required. Press up hem and turn under 1cm, baste then machine stitch close to edge.

3 Taking measurements

We were using the instructions from Jean Hunnisett’s book ‘Period Costume for Stage and Screen‘, but too be honest there was a little confusion when it came to taking the ‘Nape to ..’ measurements – should the tape measure lay against the body when doing nape to waist front?; and J to K is only from the shoulder to the elbow, not from the nape to elbow, but it is not all that clear from the chart below – I guess I should have looked more closely at the diagram.
Page 10 of Jean Hunnisett's Period costume making for stage and screen - 1500 to 1800

Taking measurements from Jean Hunnisetts period costume for stage and screen 1500 to 1800

4 Project Briefs:

Separate folders can be kept for each term.

Technical and practical application

Show that we have a good understanding of:

  • Tools
  • Fabrics
  • Sewing
  • layplans

Developing pattern construction skills module

The brief is to make the polonaise undergarments referencing Jean Hunnisett book.

We will have to present:

  • one finished corset
  • one petticoat with bum pad
  • learning log (link/relate/review)

The undergarments, if made well will be a good foundation for the rest of the polonaise costume. Design references should be cited.

Hand outs:

  • Project Brief: Unit 7: Developing pattern cutting skills – Foundation Garments for the Polonaise 1770-1785.
  • Material list for term 1
  • Petticoats with bum-pads (4 pages)
  • pages 11/12 Period Costume for Stage and Screen – Taking measurements