Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Life and Hose From a Flat Pattern

Wow...what a crazy last few weeks (has it been a whole month?) it's been!  We decided to swap offices, which turned into a pretty major renovation on the garage/office (or groffice) which was become my sewing studio.  It was badly converted by the previous owner and the dogs and my former cat did some pretty major damage to the old carpet that had been glued (!!??!) with ever so much glue down.  So once all the stuff got moved out into various other parts of the house, including the dinning area and my loom room, the DH pulled out the stinky carpet and I went to work with stripper and a scraper.


Then I painted the walls, painted the floor (in the end, faster than putting down tiles or some sort and there are no cracks for any further doggie accidents, plus we can tile or linoleum over it) and moved in last weekend after a five day trip to Southern California to visit my grandmother for her 90th birthday, only no one had bothered to let me know she had been sick for all of March and was in a convalescent home until the week prior to the trip.  She's 90, so things starting to go is not that surprising but still it would be nice to know that she was *that* sick.

But I digress.

While out in CA, I visited one of my favorite wool shops, Village Spinning and Weaving, which is where I got my spinning wheel, and they placed a wholesale order for my knitting needle cases!  Hurray!  My very first wholesale account!  So in the midst of all this work space moving I've been trying to fill a wholesale order, stay current on the commission I have for later this month, and get the projects I have to do for events this month done.  All I  have to say about that is thank God my anxiety meds are working.  This is all very good stuff, but it's more than I have had on my plate at once time since the accident.

Anyhow, one of the commissions I have right now is for a pair of men's hose appropriate for a Norman persona.  The client is a member of my Viking living history group and lives in North Carolina, so the authenticity standard is high and the availability of his leg for fittings is low. I will see him next weekend, so that plan is have a mock up ready for him, and hopefully cut out and at least start assembling the hose (mostly by hand) at the reenactment event we will be at.  My usual method of draping a hose pattern clearly isn't going to work here, so I had to figure out how to flat pattern hose.  Luckily I found a hose drafting tutorial at the Medeival Tailor!  Hurray!  The only problem with it is that the foot shape isn't quite what I wanted for an early period set of hose, she's got a simplified version of the London hose with a flat, inset sole peice, which as it turns out is documentable, but the more typical shape for early period seems to the stirrup style you see in the original London hose, the Greenland finds, and even a pair of Roman hose.  There is a seam under the foot in this style of hose, which can be a little weird for modern feet to adjust to, but done in wool the seam would compact and not be a problem.

I decided to use my husband's linen hose and a set of wool hose for myself as a test to get the foot shaping right and what do you know but this is even easier than draping!  It helps that the pattern shaping is fundamentally simpler than the gore type hose I was making before, but I think you can see from the photo that it fits quite nicely.  This pair was made up after one fitting, after which the only modifications I had to make were to take in the toe area and adjust the curve of the heel.  I could have probably avoid the toe adjustment if I had taken more measurements of the foot, but I wanted to work with the measurements I had of my client.  Getting the heel curve right I suspect just takes some practice and a little adjustment, not a big deal.

I will have to write up how I did this, as TMT's directions are really only useful until you get to the bottom of the leg, once you get into the foot shaping things go a little funny if you want the seam under the foot sort of hose.  To give you some idea, I was able to get the pattern drafted, fit and a pair of hose constructed in less than 3 hours, as compared to the 6 it took when draping just to get a pattern.  I still need to hand finish the seams but that's a huge time-saver.

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