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Medieval Linen Undertunic

Discussion in 'DIY and Traditional crafts' started by Nomad, Aug 9, 2019.

  1. TinkyPete

    TinkyPete Full Member

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    Looks great. I am afraid I cheated when I got some stuff for when I work with Dave Budd and need to dress up like at TORM and the Tewkesbury Medieval fair and the such. which I mixed in with some of my other stuff that I had, but in the heat of early July I realised that I needed lighter weight and cooler stuff instead of my winter wool trousers :)
     
  2. Nomad

    Nomad Nomad - Maker & FM

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    The wool has arrived from Herts. Here it is next to my Swanndri Bush Shirt, which is on the right...

    Herts Highland + Swanndri Bush.jpg

    The bits of paper are to adjust white balance and make the camera expose more accurately - this looks like a pretty accurate representation of the colours and light/dark on my monitor. The colour I ordered is called Sage.

    It's not very windproof - quite easy to blow through compared to the Swanndri Bush Shirt (it's about the same as my Swanndri Ranger). Weight works out to 350gsm, or 10oz. Width of this colour is 1.68m, which is very good - quite a bit of extra fabric for your linear meter (Herts indicate that the Highland Wools come in a range of widths, but don't specify which width each colour is).

    Very little stretch along the warp and weft, and no more than moderate on the bias. Handle is quite soft and flexible, and it doesn't feel especially scratchy. I'll probably cut a strip off and try it round my neck for a while to see if it gets uncomfortable - it has the potential to not need lining at the cuffs and neck, but needs to be checked.

    Overall, very pleased so far.
     
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  3. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    Looks sound :)

    Try really hot washing with a bar of soap on a scrap. Measure it first and see if it fulls up much. It doesn't need much to greatly improve wind resistance, and a lanolin wash really will improve the rain shedding.

    M
     
  4. Nomad

    Nomad Nomad - Maker & FM

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    A wee update...

    The itchy & scratchy test was borderline. Slightly scratchy while sitting indoors and not moving, but only just. I suspect this would translate into being a bit uncomfortable when moving about, especially if a slight sweat builds up and/or there's a satchel strap passing over it. On balance, I think a bit of lining will be added to the over tunic around the neck (assuming I don't decide to line the whole thing). I don't think it will be needed for the cuffs, though (the undertunic has long sleeves, and the scratchiness is marginal). For stuff with a modern shirt under it, I don't think lining would be needed.

    Did a bit more stretching - the stretch on the bias differs depending on which diagonal is stretched. One way, it's still pretty low (a bit more than on the warp and weft), while the other way has the moderate stretch I already mentioned. So, it basically hardly stretches at all apart from moderate stretch in one direction on the bias.

    (I'm thinking about the hot washing malarkey...)
     
  5. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    If it fits a five year old the first time you finally wash it, you'll feel such an idiot if you didn't check first :oops:
     
  6. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    Mind you can face or bind the edge where it might chafe, with linen, it doesn't need a whole piece lining, and contrasting colours are looked on as very 'right' in many periods.
     
  7. Nomad

    Nomad Nomad - Maker & FM

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    If it can shrink that much, does that mean I have plan for a radically different size of material if I wash it before making something?

    Yes, I was thinking of something like this...



    ...and maybe add contrasting trim to the outside afterwards.
     
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  8. Nomad

    Nomad Nomad - Maker & FM

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    The discounted brown linen from Maggie has arrived.

    This is a lighter and thinner fabric than the stuff I used for the undertunic. A weight and area calculation indicates that it's about 125gsm, or 3.7oz. It has a much finer weave. Here are the two linens side by side...

    Linens Compared.jpg

    It still has an open weave that's easy to blow through, and I'd say it has a slightly stiffer handle - I get the feeling it will need a bit of washing to get it to soften and drape better (it lacks the weight to drape well with the handle as it is). I'd say it's too light for something like a cloak, but seems fine for linings, and maybe lighter garments..
     
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  9. Toddy

    Toddy Mod
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    If I can't actually get my hands on the wool before I buy, I'll buy just a metre and I'll make up something like hooded capelet with it, but, before I sew anything from it, I'll try washing some of it first.

    Virtually all wool will be fine with a cold overnight soak, then a gentle wash through with shampoo (it's meant for hair, it meant not to destroy hair, wool is just funny hair, it'll do fine, and cheap 99p a bottle supermarket stuff is fine for washing clothing) and lots of rinsing. Do not thermal shock it, by going from hot water to cold or cold to hot. Let it drain, lay it on the garden bench, or on the bottom of the bath or shower, and when as much water as possible has drained out, drape it over the biggest towel you can find and roll it up, wring it and that'll take out enough water to let you lay it out and dry flat. It ought not shrink.
    If you wash it hot and soapy with lots of moving around, if it's going to shrink, that'll do it. Machine washed on something just like 40 ˚ should do it for you too, especially if it spins afterwards.

    On the whole bushshirts rarely really need washing anyway, maybe if you can't thole the smell of woodsmoke permeating other coats and jackets in the press though, or if you get it bloody. Mud and the like generally brush out fine.

    So, the answer to your question is that it depends on the wool and the use you'll give the garment you intend to make.
    Sorry, but that's the best reply I can make on this.

    M
     
  10. Dreadhead

    Dreadhead Bushcrafter through and through

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    excellent work bud, quite a bit of sewing in tunics!
     
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Nomad - Maker & FM

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    That's worth keeping in mind, although postage can make a meter quite expensive. (More so if buying from Herts, who seem to have a minimum order of 2m and a flat rate for postage of £10. Not so bad with places that sell 1m with cheaper postage.)

    I'm doing the brown linen in a 40° wash at the moment, with a gentle spin, and put a bit of the wool in with it to see what happens. I also had a play with a bit last night, hand washing in 32° water and cheapie shampoo. With that, I worked some of the fabric gently against itself (rolling it between my knuckles), and it seems to have fulled up a little.The end I worked was 8cm wide, and went down to 7cm. It's still not very wind resistant, but has improved - if a Swanndri Bush Shirt is the standard to reach, then this bit is maybe 10-15% of the way there. It also stiffened the handle a bit, is maybe a wee bit thicker, and it feels less susceptible to being compressed between the fingers.

    The stuff I make is unlikely to have a hard time. Certainly, the planned overtunic would be very occasional wear in mild conditions, and something akin to a Smanndri Ranger is really just a light jumper for day to day wear in colder weather.


    I'm somewhat cautious, so will do some experiments on small bits with a view to trying to work out a method that's doable for larger bits of fabric. If it starts looking onerous, the overtunic and Ranger-esque garments can be made without treatment and considered stuff that does't get washed (or very careful cool washing), and I'll seek out some other wool for stuff that needs to have better wind protection.
     
  12. Nomad

    Nomad Nomad - Maker & FM

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    It certainly can be if sewing by hand, but a machine makes a huge difference in comparison. I spent much more time on researching the design, working out the sizing and how I was going to do the details, and generally getting bits arranged in preparation for sewing, than I did on the actual sewing itself (including the overlocking). I didn't time it, but I reckon the sewing took somewhere been half an hour and an hour.

    I guess it depends on how historically accurate one wants to be. I'm not looking to do the full experimental archaeology thing - my interest is in trying out the fabrics and garment styles - so machine sewing is fine by me.When I got the linen from the shop, the sales lady recommended cotton thread, which was probably a good idea given that the stuff is ironed damp with a very hot iron - I'd imagine polyester thread might melt if the heat was on it for a bit too long.
     
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Nomad - Maker & FM

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    Results of the wash mentioned above...

    The brown linen has become a lot softer. The almost crispy feel has gone and I'd say it feels more like brand new lightweight cotton - not quite as drapey as the washed heavier linen used for the undertunic, but easily good enough for linings and things like lighter shirts.

    The wool test piece shrunk a little in one direction. I had cut a bit 10x15cm, with the 10cm ends parallel to the selvedge. This dimension reduced to 9cm, while the 15cm length didn't change at all - it shrunk along the warp only. It's still a bit damp, but there doesn't seem to be any significant increase in wind resistance. So, that wash cycle (40°, gentle spin) didn't do much of any use. For lower temperature, it looks like this wool will need a fair bit of physical agitation or rubbing.
     

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