Viking Age

The Tale of a Tunic AKA: How I learned to do the Vandyke stitch

fearghus_in_brownOnce upon a time, at a Pennsic long long ago (2011) I made a tunic for my love. Somehow we’d gotten to site and my love had zero short sleeved tunics. To remedy this I dragged him off to Merchant’s Row where we purchased fabric and thread. Then I spent two-an-a-half days hand sewing it together so that he would have a short-sleeved tunic to wear at the Pennsic party. He loves the tunic. In fact, more than that, he loves being able to tell the story about how I started with a fist full of money and made him a tunic during Pennsic from stuff bought at Pennsic.

seamsThis tunic is the first completely hand-sewn tunic I’ve ever made for my love.

Directly after that Pennsic I wrote the following:

For this version I connected the pieces with a running stitch and then folded the seam allowances away from the first line of stitches and used a decorative running stitch to hold these down. I don’t love this. This method ends up taking 3 separate lines of running stitches along each seam line. Also, with only a single line of running holding the fabric pieces together it feels like the tunic will be very fragile. I plan to add another decorative stitch over the central running stitch.. but seriously.. at that point I will have put down four lines of stitches on every seam line.. that that seems needlessly complex. Now that I’m home I’ve decided to modify the sleeves to make them long sleeved instead of short sleeved. The linen is thin enough that I don’t think it -has- to be short sleeved and honestly I don’t think that sleeve length is accurate.

It’s now 3 years later. I never did replace the short sleeves with long sleeves and I never will. At this point the green has started fading (badly) so it’s moving from being a green tunic to being a yellow tunic. Regardless my love asked me to do the final seam treatment to strengthen the seam instead of making him a whole new tunic. So for the first time EVER I’m doing a decorative seam treatment.

vandyke-stitch1At the West Kingdom Town Fair I had the good fortune to have a class with Duchess Catherine Lorraine where she walked through several different seam treatments. One that she showed was a Vandyke stitch done with two different threads. That looked lovely to me and so it is now the stitch I’m using to reinforce the seam. Well.. sort of. I only mostly understood how the Vandyke stitch worked so I only of sort of did that on the tunic. I made the mistake of going straight across with the stitch where I should instead be going into the fabric at an angle. Now that I’ve figured out what I should be doing I’ll modify the stitch I’m using on the garment to be done the right way.

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Pennsic War XL post-mortem

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