Sunday, October 13, 2013

Mending an old shirt

This is one of my oldest medieval shirts. It dates back to my early years of living history, when I still sometimes used the machine for sewing (the hemming is done by hand though). Even though I don't really like wearing machine sewn clothes anymore, the linen of this shirt has become so soft because of the long use, that still love wearing it. Off course with wearing comes wear and tear, and my poor shirt ended up with two torn seems under the armpits.

So, something had to be done, bacause I can't possibly imagine parting with it just yet. So one evening not so long ago, I put myself to the task. What I did was weave a small piece of new fabric directly fixed on the base fabric of the garment. I'm not sure wether there is any proof of this method used in medieval times. I was inspired by 18th and 19th century darning samplers and this link.

The main reasons why I chose to try this technique are
1. that you do now need to take any fabric in for making a new seam. This way you do not have to compromise on shape and fit.
2. this technique doesn't add the extra bulk you would get with patching, since there are no raw edges you have to fold under. You do not want extra bulk in your armpits, especially whith tightfitting 14th century overgarments.

And well, of course also because

3. it simply looks pretty neat!


Sarah W said...

Love it!

Amanda said...

It certainly does look neat! I'd love to see a pic of the whole shirt. Is there one somewhere on your blog? I'm quite a new reader. :-)

Isis said...

Hi Amanda,
I don't think I even have a photo of the whole shirt. It dates back to before I started this blog. I'll see if I can take a photo this weekend :-)
And, welcome to the blog!

Unknown said...

I shall have to try that. I have a shift that needs some major patching... Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm putting together a class on how to fix sewing mistakes and other forms of clothing damage and your pictures are very clear on how to weave a patch over a hole. May I use your pictures (with credit) as part of my class handouts?

Isis said...

keri, please contact me at isis dot sturtewagen at telenet dot be about this! thanks!

kazhoney said...

Excuse my ignorance, I'm a novice sewer but I can't work out how the weaving is attached on to the shirt? It looks like you weave up and down through the pins and then perhaps attach a stitch on each horizontal row? Would be a great technique to use, I have many shirts and shifts to mend! Thanks.

Isis said...

No problem at all! The woven part is indeed attached by a horizontal stitch at the end of each row. You could do the same for the vertical rows and make a small stitch right above each pin. The reason why the pins are there is because I've experienced that otherwise it's very easy to pull the threads too hard. This will result in a wobbly and uneven weave. So the pins aren't really neccessary, but for me they do help achieve a tidy end result.

Margo said...

beautiful darn! I am intrigued by your use of pins to start off the weave. I usually stitch a circle around the hole first and then use that to anchor the weave - but my darns are not so symmetrical as yours, and I really love looking at yours. I might try to clean up my technique next time!

Blaze said...

Reweaving is a technique that people should attempt more often! I sued to give a class in stain removal and repair techniques for our alternate wardrobes! Glad to see people doing this.

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