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Clothing patterns based on rectangles

 
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If you are making clothing from home woven/hand loom woven fabric, the realization of how wasteful most patterns are of fabric will quickly make you want to figure out how they used to do things!

I was given some narrow (just less than 20" after washing and shrinking) cotton purchased years ago (1980's by the colour is my guess). I figured there's just barely enough to make myself a farm shirt. I wear long-sleeved cotton shirts all summer as I react to too much sun. I'm petite, so I figured 20" around the sleeves, and 20" across the front would be loose enough.

I had watched this video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ql9r8UKIvZs - and the pattern was all rectangles. Unfortunately, the instructions were a bit vague in spots, particularly for someone who'd never done period patterns.

So I figured I'd start this thread so that other people might post patterns they'd found (I did find an old thread which mentioned similar patterns, but the link no longer worked.) I will post the rough pattern from the above video and later post the precise measurements I used (I'm still determining some of them!)

Pirate-shirt-pattern.JPG
This was quite difficult to read, but I think I figured it out.
This was quite difficult to read, but I think I figured it out.
 
Jay Angler
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I'm ~5' 4" tall, but long in the legs and narrow through the shoulders. However, I thought I'd post what size I made the pieces as an example.

Size of pieces based on my body: SA = seem allowance

Body: 26" + 26" = 52" long for front and back. Fabric is narrow, so I used salvage to salvage (20"). Cut one.

Sleeve: 20" + 2" +1" SA = 23" long. Used full width of fabric 20". Cut two.  

Collar: 2 1/2" + 1" SA = 3 1/2 inches wide. 14" + 1" give + 1" SA = 16" long. Cut two.

Gusset: 5" square + 1" SA = 6" square. Cut two. This is *really* guessing - need more info!

Cuff: 4" + 1" SA = 5" deep (folds in half). 7 1/2" long + 1" SA = 8 1/2 " long. Cut two. Too tight for me - I would do it 8 1/4 long + 1" SA if I were to make a second shirt.

Reinforcement patches:  1 1/2" x 1 1/2" squares (to include seam allowance.  Cut 7+ if an amateur especially.

I also cut two strips to bind the edges of the slit in the front of the shirt. The video above just used a thin "hem", but I needed this shirt for sun protection so I wanted better coverage.

Distance from edge of shoulder fabric to opening for head: 6 1/2" - this was tricky as I was using much narrower fabric than Bernadette's video called for. I marked 1/2" down from the back center neck opening and curved gently up to the shoulder so it wouldn't push on my neck.
Distance cut down the front of shirt - BD said 6", but I wasn't convinced it would go over my head so I started with 6 3/4.

Distance from shoulder point to start of gusset: 3"

I used the "pull a thread" method to make sure my rectangles had right angles (I was about to type "square", but that was just too oxymoronic!)
marking-straight-of-grain.JPG
marking-straight-of-grain
 
Jay Angler
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As in the video, the "gusset" sounded scary, so I started by "practicing" the back-stitch on the collars and cuffs. I'm using silk thread from a Great Great Aunt in England, but it was too thick so I had to split the thread into 3 sections for the hand stitched seams.

My one nod to modern systems was to use my machine to make a double row of gathering stitches at the top and bottoms of the sleeves. The next picture shows the first arm installed.

Step 1 was the gusset to the sleeve.

Step 2 was the sleeve seem from gusset to about 3 inches above the cuff (you need that gap to easily get the sleeve over your hand, +/- rolling up the sleeve to do stuff). At that point I flat felled the seams carefully paying attention to how the fabric needed to sit. Any spot where fabric joined or separated, I used at least 1 of the small squares to reinforce the stress point, unless my flat felled seams did the job. Bernadette's video actually mentioned using a square on both the inside and outside, but my fabric was too heavy a weight to want to add that bulk.

Step 3 was to do a narrow hem on the open side seam.

Step 4 was to install the cuff. Note that "modern" shirts usually have the "underarm seam" separate from the location of the cuff opening, and make a separate slit to go with the opening. I suspect that's to get the bulk of the "cuff opening" to a more functional location. I'm not an historian, so I don't know when that change became the norm.

Step 5 was the scary part of pinning and sewing the gusset to the body, and the body side seam. Installing a gusset video - https://youtu.be/t0e1BqjWq7Y  This is from Morgan Donner and she left the top seam allowance on the sleeve side unstitched  to attach to the body section. Bernadette Banner's video (above) shows stitching to the top of the arm section. On the premise that it would be easier to add stitches than unpick, I followed Morgan's tutorial. In fact, since I needed to trim the fabric on the arm side to flat fell the seams, stopping at the point of length trimmed would have been ideal.

If you look closely at the above picture, the seams on the sleeve are already finished by flat-felling them, but the seams between the sleeve and the shirt are not. You can see the little square of fabric reinforcing where the sleeve's side seam ends and the opening for the cuff begins.
 
Jay Angler
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Once one scary sleeve was done, the second went much better. However, then I had to face the even scarier neckline.
Due to the width of the fabric I was using (it was free from a friend, so no choice there), I had to be very careful that I would be able to get the shirt over my head and arms. If this had become impossible, I would have had to open the whole front and install a facing and buttons, but I had so little extra fabric to work with, that would have required creative piecing! As was, I had chosen to put facings on the edges of the slit as shown in the next two photos.


Here the photo is out of sequence as it shows the button-hole which happened after the collar went on:


Note the "antique" silk thread! Despite the nuisance of having to split it, it was great to sew with - the slipperiness of it made the stitches easy, although it doesn't knot well, so I had to do little running stitches back and forth in the seam allowances to secure the beginning and end.

Now we get the picture with the collar on. I put a little pleat in the center back, rather than gathering as I didn't have enough extra fabric. I was trying to judge it so the shoulder wasn't too "dropped" but alas, I failed. I don't know how to correct for that, but would have to make a mock-up and do some tests.
Getting the collar around the tight curve of at the shoulder line was very tricky and required some pleats there as well. Modern patterns round the neck instead of just a "slit", but nothing bad shows, so that's a win in my book!
 
Jay Angler
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Finally I was down to the finishing details. My button jar just happened to have 3 matching yellow buttons from who knows where. I for the front and one for each sleeve. However, as mentioned a couple of posts back, the cuff was tighter than I was comfortable with. To help with that, I made "loops" for the cuff buttons, rather than a regular button hole. First I ran a "string" in a circle large enough to generously fit the button through, but not too generous, through the fabric at the edge of the seam 3 times, then I used the silk thread in its original thickness to do 1/2 hitches to cover over the string. It was important not to tighten the 1/2 hitches too much or they would have tried to spiral around the string, which I didn't want. I was *really* pleased with how they turned out!

Somewhere in there, I took the time to finish the hem at the bottom - just a simple fold-over-twice secured with felling stitches.

So now the big reveal! The shirt from the front:



And just to prove it really fits, the shirt from the back with me inside:



If you look carefully, you can see that cute little button loop holding the cuff closed!

This was *not* a quick project. I did not even try to keep track of the hours I spent sewing. Years ago I did weaving, and I hesitated to weave fabric for clothing as so much of the fabric for modern patterns goes to waste. Now I know that if I choose the right width of warp, I can weave shirt fabric that wasted almost nothing. I had about a square foot left, and that will be good in case I get attacked by brambles etc and need a patch. If I was prepared to machine sew, it would go faster, but I would have had to buy proper thread as my antique silk was not designed for a sewing machine and that would have taken from the meaning - my ancestor's silk and my friend's fabric.

So the challenge to anyone reading this - can you find me measurements for pants to go with??? I know they exist, but it may be a while before I go hunting for them myself, as I've got other projects in the queue.
 
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Hi Jay,
Your post caught my eye.  I've been thinking about work clothing, and your garment is a bit like English agricultural smocks, which were made from rectangles and a few triangles.  They were the original 'wax cotton jackets' being water resistant over garments for agricultural workers, rather than the ladies frocks of latter years.  They fell out of use with increased use of machines I gather.
See Lincs to the past, or Poppys cottage blog
 for example.
The smocking stitches as well as being decorative gave elasticity to the garment: no need for elastic.  I've got too many projects (and enough clothes just now) but quite fancy making a modern take on these.  Particularly the lack of elastic is what appeals to me.
 
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I just had to embed the video Jay linked to, because I just love that this style of shirt is one that a pirate would wear! Yar matey!

 
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Greetings Jay,
What stunningly gorgeous work on your shirt! It turned out beautifully!
Here is a gusseted pants pattern: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/0c/52/b0/0c52b0d22f73da290accff2ddcba03cc.gif
Hopefully the link works. If not, try googling “salwar” pants.
I’m hopping to get caught up enough to spend some time at my loom... oh, wait...it’s planting season in 10 minutes!
 
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Thank you Jane for the pattern. I'm a little worried it will be bulky for field work once made out of fabric that's tough enough to stand up, but I will try it for something for sure.

So it doesn't get lost, I will show the picture here:


On this site: https://sca.berkeley.edu/how-to-make-a-turkish-salwar/  they give some of the history and state that the image may be used if accredited (it's on the image, but I will state here also - A big thank you for the image to Charles Mellor!)

However, I'm still looking for more clothing patterns that are designed for both efficient use of home-woven fabric, and yet functional for farming in, so if anyone else has suggestions, please post them.
 
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Greetings Jay!

I was thinking mostly of these pants for minimum waste hand woven fabrics. But a tightly woven heavy weight linen with a doubled front panel might hold up pretty well. It bears repeating that your shirt is gorgeous!

Jane
 
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I do medieval recreation, focusing mainly on 14th century England, and the clothing in the earlier half of that century and before is most all rectangles and triangles. I can make a long-sleeved knee-length tunic with about 2 1/2 yards of ordinary 48-50" linen or wool fabric, with just a modest rectangle left over. Making two identical I could probably do with zero waste aside from the shallow half-oval neck hole. The sleeve gussets and set-in skirt triangles give comfort and free movement, which is important in clothing I wear to throw pottery and fire a kiln. The gussets are intimidating at first, but it doesn't take long to get used to sewing them.
 
Jay Angler
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Glenn Herbert wrote:I do medieval recreation, focusing mainly on 14th century England, and the clothing in the earlier half of that century and before is most all rectangles and triangles.

Do you have measurements and basic instructions for some pants I saw a vague picture of today, which seemed to have 2 rectangular "tubes" for the legs, 2 square patches one for the center front and one for the center back, and then an odd shaped gusset like a long diamond, but with the two short corners cut off? It looked to me as if it would use fabric efficiently, such as you commented on for your tunic, but still be sufficiently "fitted" such as the shirt I made, so as to be practical for our current lifestyles.

I will do some more research focusing on the 14th century - I don't have a problem with doing some shaping, but I do have a problem with fabric waste that I've found with most modern patterns. I gather that the skirt triangles are from the hemline to about the waist to allow for the hips?
 
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This reminds me of a shirt I had. It was store-bought, but it was made in that way, only rectangles (and small squares for arm gussets). It was made in India, of hand-printed cotton. It lasted for many years: I bought it in my late teenage years (1970s) and as far as I remember it was still there when I moved to the street I now live in, which was a little before 2000.

It had more parts than you show. Both front and back were made of three rectangles, one wide and two narrow ones at the sides, under the arms. So the sleeve started higher up the shoulder. But the sleeve still was a rectangle and there were small gussets in the armpits. The sleeves were not long (about 3/4 length) and didn't have cuffs. There was no collar, the neck and the button-strip mid-front were finished with a long strip of the same fabric ( I don't remember, maybe it was cut on the biais).

Because sewing is one of my hobbies I was interested in that pattern, that was why I 'studied' how that shirt was made. To be able to make a shirt like that myself. And I tried it. But I found out it needed that soft, light Indian cotton. Made of 'ordinary' cotton fabric (like bed sheets) it didn't fit right.
 
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I haven't made pants like the ones you describe - pants were not in use in that area and period - but I have seen patterns of similar description from the Middle East.

The tunic I and many others make is from a bog body in Sweden in the mid 14th century, known as the Bocksten Man. A search will bring up many images and patterns.
bockstenkirtle.jpg
the Bocksten tunic
the Bocksten tunic
 
Jay Angler
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I did some searching today and found the following pattern for pants. It isn't exactly the same as the picture I found the other day, as the gusset is a different shape and it goes from the crotch up towards the waist band, but I thought it was worth posting. I suspect this pattern will be a little bulkier in the crotch area than the one I'm still hoping to find a pattern for.
14th-century-pants-based-on-rectangles.JPG
[Thumbnail for 14th-century-pants-based-on-rectangles.JPG]
 
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I'm pretty sure I've posted this one somewhere else, but it's another rectangle based pattern: https://ofdreamsandseams.blogspot.com/2011/09/traditional-chinese-pants-pattern.html
 
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One book that might be of interest is Elizabeth Haywood's 'Zero Waste Sewing,' which includes a number of projects--mostly women's clothes, but a few unisex garments as well. She's on Instagram as @lizhaywood3754, and posts readers' finished projects, if you want to get an idea of what to expect.
 
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Melissa Bee wrote:One book that might be of interest is Elizabeth Haywood's 'Zero Waste Sewing,' which includes a number of projects--mostly women's clothes, but a few unisex garments as well. She's on Instagram as @lizhaywood3754, and posts readers' finished projects, if you want to get an idea of what to expect.

Thanks Melissa! I don't have instagram, but the key words "zero waste" did get some hits on things I hadn't seen.

For example, the pattern below isn't based on rectangles, but it does use fabric efficiently and can be drawn to one's own measurements easily, which is another plus. My future goal is that I could weave fabric the width needed based on my measurements and know that hard work would be worth it.  However, since people keep giving me their hand-me-downs, I may never get that far, but by posting these patterns here, others will at least benefit from my explorations.

Zero-waste-trousers.JPG
[Thumbnail for Zero-waste-trousers.JPG]
 
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John Marshall’s ‘Make Your Own Japanese Clothes’ has patterns based on the very narrow strips of cloth that once were common in Japan. I think it is out of print, maybe check your library.
 
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This is my rectangle jacket.  



This shape is awesome for farm work, but this time I wanted something nicer for wearing in town.

The sleeves are half-length but wide, so we don't need to do any armhole shaping or gussets.

Here's an example of putting the bits of cloth together to make something big enough for the rectangle



Since the pattern is repetitive but not too obvious, the eyes fill in the blanks so the piecing isn't too obvious.  
 
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@r ranson: Do you have a picture of the pattern you used?
Lovely jacket and definitely dressy enough for town!
 
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Jay Angler wrote:@r ranson: Do you have a picture of the pattern you used?
Lovely jacket and definitely dressy enough for town!



Not exactly a pattern.  It was trial and error.  This is sort of my recipe.

4 rectangles, 14" wide, plus another for the trim around the neck.

Body (two rectangles): 14" x (twice desired length plus hem).  I often do the body in four rectangles with a shoulder seam.  Sew them together for half the long edge, leaving the other half for the neck.

Hem the bottom edges.

Sleeve (two rectangles): 14" x 24" (or the desired circumfrence.  Find the centre of the body (where the shoulder will be) and the centre of the sleeve.  Match and sew the sleeves to the body.  Hem the sleeves.  

Sew up the sides of the body and along the sleeves.

Then decide how open the neck wants to be and if you want a V-neck.  Trial and error (I try it on a few times and pin and trim a bit at a time until I'm happy).  I'm sure there's a formula for this somewhere.

When the neck is happy, measure the opening and make a rectangle that length and 3" wide.  I make it about 2 inches longer than the opening so I can trim and fold under the extra.

I iron the rectangle so that it is in half longways and then on one edge, I iron down 1/2".  Sew onto right side of the opening.  Iron so the seam allowance is towards the trim, then sew the backside down by hand with invisible stitches or by stitching in the ditch.  

I then run a stitch about 1mm from the edge, around the outside edge of the opening, and the bottom of the hem and sleeve hem.  That way when I wash it, it sort of settles into where it should be while it dries.

It's not a very good recipe.  I bet someone who understands sewing could figure out a better way to say this.  

I am thinking for the future, I might make the sleeves a few inches less wide, and add dimonds in the underarms.  But with the wide sleeves, it doesn't really need it.  
 
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Jay Angler wrote:I had watched this video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ql9r8UKIvZs - and the pattern was all rectangles. Unfortunately, the instructions were a bit vague in spots, particularly for someone who'd never done period patterns.

screenshot of Bernadette Banner pirate shirt pattern


Halloween is coming, and we've been pirates for 4 (?) years. But my husband's costume is sorely lacking. And, anyway, the kids are learning about the 17-19th centuries this year, so making a pirate shirt seems like a good history lesson!

I had a hard time reading the pattern, too (note, I can read cursive. But her's was a bit small and thick and it compounded with me still trying to understand what the pieces are for). Thankfully, someone in the comments transcribed it!

For those who may have difficulty reading cursive handwriting, the notes on the diagram are:

Shirt body:
-width of fabric IF c. 40-44 in, or roughly double width from shoulder to shoulder
-x1 (x2 if split at shoulder seam)
-this space measures the length between base of neck to tip of shoulder +2-3". All space in between is left for neck hole opening.
-neck slit—usually ~10" on men's shirts but mine is c. 5"
-length from shoulder to mid-thigh

Sleeve:
-25" (top of shoulder to wrist, +2")

Cuff:
-4" (to be folded in half)
-circumference of wrist +1 1/2" for ease and closure overlap)

Collar:
-3 1/2" or—height of neck from base of neck to about 1" under chin
-circumference around base of neck + about 1" for ease

Gusset:
-I ended up cutting these down to 5x5 to fit my armscye

Reinforcement Patches, x5, 1"x1"

General:
-(sorry about the state of this, electronic tablets are real weird, it turns out)
-*pieces not to scale lol
-*seam allowance NOT included


Hope this helps anyone who might need it!

 
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Okay! I went ahead and copied the screenshot into photoshop and replaced the cursive words with print. I used a fancy-ish font for the titles of the pieces, to make those words stand out a little more.

Note: the Shirt Body measurement is from front thigh up over the shoulder and down to back thigh. The little line in the middle of the rectangle is where the neck goes. It took me a while to figure that out!

So, the measurements seem to be

Shirt Body:
    Width = roughly double width from shoulder to shoulder (+ seam allowance)
    Length = length from shoulder to mid-thigh (+ seam allowance)

Sleeves:
    Width = 20 inches (maybe a bit more for big/muscular arms)  (+ seam allowance)
    Length = (top of shoulder to wrist, +2" (+ seam allowance)

Cuff:
    Width =  Cuff: -4" (to be folded in half) (+ seam allowance)
    Length = circumference of wrist +1 1/2" for ease and closure overlap) (+ seam allowance)

Collar:
    Width = 3 1/2" or—height of neck from base of neck to about 1" under chin  (+ seam allowance)
    Length = circumference around base of neck + about 1" for ease (+ seam allowance)

Gusset:
    Width = 6 inches (maybe an inch more for big arms or an inch less for small arms. Bernadette did 5 inches) (+ seam allowance)
    Length = 6 inches (maybe an inch more for big arms or an inch less for small arms. Bernadette did 5 inches) (+ seam allowance)

Reinforcement Patches (to go at base of neck slit):
    Width = 1 inch (+ seam allowance)
    Length = 1 inch (+ seam allowance)
pirate-shirt-transcribed.png
Bernadette Banner's pirate shirt pattern in print
Click the image to see it larger with higher resolution!
 
Jay Angler
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Thank you Nicole for that great work on making the pattern more legible!

Remember that the measurements are without seam allowance. That means those little 1" x 1" reinforcement patches are actually cut more like 1 3/4"  square so you can fold under a thin seam allowance.  I found them pretty small, so in some circumstances, I'd happily make them a bit larger than the 1x1 finished size.

When I first learned to sew, seam allowances on patterns were always 5/8" wide and the brand of pattern we bought included them. Now it's hit and miss with modern patterns. However, when I'm building the pattern myself, I tend to use a 1/2" seam allowance because that's easier to measure and add with the rulers I have and my aging eyesight!

However, this pattern is intended to have some sort of seam finishing as this would have been an undergarment that would get a lot of washing. I did flat fell and the 1/2" was enough.
 
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Thank you, Jay! As you were typing, I was editing the post to have the measurements in a list. But, I hadn't thought to put +Seam Allowance on the little reinforcement patches. That's really good to know!

I also hadn't know quite how BIG to make the seams, especially for felling them. Thank you!
 
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There's a part I miss in that pattern. I think it needs a strip of fabric for the slit under the neck-opening. Maybe they think of simply rolling it in like a very small hem. I would prefer a better finish
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:I also hadn't know quite how BIG to make the seams, especially for felling them. Thank you!

There are different ways of doing seams and they have pros and cons and are dependent on the effect you're looking for and the material you're using.

My shirt was made of heavier fabric than a men's dress shirt. I recently scored some dress shirts at the thrift shop for Hubby. They were quality brand name ones and the sleeves had flat felled seems with *both* salvages folded over and sewn down starting with just less than a 1/2 inch allowance and ending with less than a 1/4 inch felled seam. If I had to guess, it would have been done on a machine designed for that sort of work, by an employee who was highly skilled at doing it. The old "don't try this at home" comes to mind!

The best outcome with a flat felled seam is that both salvages would be folded together and stitched down. This folds the weft threads over the warp threads so to pull apart, they have to turn a 180 degree angle. I've seen plenty of clothing where a seam failure is from the fabric pulling apart, rather than the stitching failing, and most seam finishing methods don't prevent that if there's a lot of pressure over time.

Because the fabric for my shirt was heavier, I trimmed the one seam allowance and folded over the second one to cover it and stitched it down by hand. So the side that was going to be trimmed got pressed back on itself which is a 180 degree turn, and the one that stayed long was pressed over the short side which wasn't a turn at all, so then its edged got pressed that 180 and the folded edge got stitched. If I was good like Nicole with photoshop etc, I'd try to do a diagram - if this doesn't make sense, maybe I could do an old fashioned drawing and get Hubby to scan it.

The important take-away is that 180 degree turns make it harder for individual threads in a fabric to pull through and split at the seam, whereas just overstitching is more to protect it from fraying when washing.  Fabric types complicate the decision making process, so there is a place for trying options on scraps of the exact material or similar.
 
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:There's a part I miss in that pattern. I think it needs a strip of fabric for the slit under the neck-opening. Maybe they think of simply rolling it in like a very small hem. I would prefer a better finish

I agree and I did add fabric rather than doing the fine rolled seam.

I also think the directions for the cuffs are misleading. The original finished example seemed to have a cuff that is wider than 2" is which is what a 4" folded cuff turns into. The shit mentioned above is a smidge over 2" finished, but the example looked more generous.

I would also compare the length of the cuff to a garment you're comfortable in. Somehow when I did mine, the cuffs turned out tighter than I would have liked by at least a 1/2".  I may have misread the  chicken scratches on the original picture, or miss measured myself, but that's a fairly critical measure that's easier to correct if it's too large than if it's too small.
 
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Slightly off-topic, but I learned a cool new word today:

armscye -   noun [ahrm-sahy, -zahy ]

The armhole opening in a garment through which the hand, and then the arm, passes, and to which a sleeve may be attached.

Apparently, 'scye' is a Scottish term for an armhole.

The problem is that if I were to use the word, most people wouldn't understand it!

 
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Using that rectangle pattern, for the neck slit you want to offset it just a bit, maybe a couple inches  - our necks are not in the middle like this pattern implies, and beginners usually make that mistake when making midieval shirts then you see them tugging at the neck hole all day long.   the back should be the shorter distance.

Sandy
 
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S Smithsson wrote:Using that rectangle pattern, for the neck slit you want to offset it just a bit, maybe a couple inches  - our necks are not in the middle like this pattern implies, and beginners usually make that mistake when making midieval shirts then you see them tugging at the neck hole all day long.   the back should be the shorter distance.

Sandy


Hi Sandy, that depends. Some people have a higher back while others need more material at the front. When you want to make a shirt that really fits you, you'll have to measure.
 
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Eleanor Froelich wrote:John Marshall’s ‘Make Your Own Japanese Clothes’ has patterns based on the very narrow strips of cloth that once were common in Japan. I think it is out of print, maybe check your library.



Curiousweaver website has free pattern for Japanese field pants or mompei pants, based on narrow woven fabric. https://curiousweaver.id.au/curiousweaverprojects

Liz Haywood also made one pair and shared on her blog:
https://lizhaywood.com.au/making-mompei-trousers/


Melissa Bee wrote:One book that might be of interest is Elizabeth Haywood's 'Zero Waste Sewing,' which includes a number of projects--mostly women's clothes, but a few unisex garments as well.



Liz Haywood does have lots of ingenious designs, they look contemporary and quite wearable. I have yet to make any but highly interested in the zero waste backpack.

Also I followed her blog to the swedish site of zero waste wardrobe. The knit underwear and leggings are high on my list too. https://www.zww.fi/vaatteet

 
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May Lotito wrote:...
Curiousweaver website has free pattern for Japanese field pants or mompei pants, based on narrow woven fabric. https://curiousweaver.id.au/curiousweaverprojects

Liz Haywood also made one pair and shared on her blog:
https://lizhaywood.com.au/making-mompei-trousers/
...


Thank you, May, for the link to that interesting website (curiousweaver) and the Japanese pants. I just needed such a pattern. Now I only have to find the fabric (probably second hand bed sheet or something like that)
 
May Lotito
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I made a pair of mompei/monpe pants and it is comfortable and economical in fabric use.
For your convenience, here the diagram from curious weaver website


I didn't follow the dimensions but calculated to fit my own measurements. If you are interested in making one pair, here are the steps.

First, decide the triangle size, original pattern said 15cm by 30 cm. It is a good starting point and I keep the 1:2 ratio, i.e. the length of 3rd side will be square root of 5=2.2. Mine goes with 13cm by 26cm.

These parameters are sensitive and can affect the crotch seam length, the fit and the style. Choose a small number, the pants will look more like palazzo, but you may not have enough rise in the back and need a yoke and waistband or facing. Choosing a larger one, you have have big crotch gusset, wider legs and very high rise that can be folded over for waistband.



I would suggest wrapping a measuring tape around your body from center front to center back and see how you like it.

Next step would be deciding the inseam length. Shorter one with gathering is great for field work and longer one for lounging. So far the length of rectangle pattern is fixed.

Next would be the width of pattern. Minimum waist seam should be more than 1/2 of hip circumference. I put the formula here in this diagram.

Last step would be finishing the waist fastening. If you got longer rise, just fold it over. If rise is short, add separate waist band or waist facing. Insert elastics or ties.

For weavers, they can weave fabrics as needed. If you buy apparel fabrics, the most common width is 55 inches or 140cm. If your hip circumference is less than 104cm, you will be able to fit two rectangles in one length while most pattern company would call for over 2.5 yard to make similar wide legged pants.
Kimono panel also comes in similar size 36cm wide but usually 35cm when finished.


This is my mompei and I have more in person photos and construction details in my secret minion thread. Feel free to check it out. Happy sewing.

Staff note (Jay Angler) :

Post is here: https://permies.com/t/146934#1330470
for those with access to the Secret Minion area.

 
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May Lotito wrote:I...
This is my mompei and I have more in person photos and construction details in my secret minion thread. Feel free to check it out. Happy sewing.


Hi May, I saw it on your personal thread and copied the useful information. Thank you very much!
 
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In the original mompei pattern, the triangle is stitched to the back leg along the straight side (b), mine used the longest side (c).

In the first method,
Crotch seam length= 2b+2c-a
Front rise= b+c-a
Fabric length= front rise+inseam+hem.
It is much longer in the rise and the back side also look different.

In the second one:
Crotch seam length =2c+a
Front rise=c
So it requires less length in fabric and the crotch curve resembles more of the shape of contemporary pull on pants.

Or one can change the b:a ratio. Like the one of liz made, 10by 30 it is. Just do some calculation before cutting. It is simple geometry.
 
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Some thoughts on zero waste (ZW) patterns...

I came across the discussion on this topic on patterreview forum
webpage
Zero waste patterns strike me the same way as eating my toddler's leftovers

Some critics include: excess ease to get around fitting, using more fabric, unflattering, undo the knowledge of pattern drafting etc. I saw some bad examples but I also find some designs the other way. I prefer not to generalize but to look at each individual case.

The mompei pant pattern is an experiment to see what I can do with a traditional zw pattern combining some knowledge on contemporary pant drafting and fitting. There are wrinkles in the back but that's part of the tradeoff but I don't mind. I probably go too nerdy with all the numbers and formulas. So if you are not into that, don't let it take away the joy of sewing. Just use your TNT pants pattern, placing the gusset in a way that is unnoticeable to save lots of fabric.

There are fewer true ZW patterns and maybe hard to alter. Practically, I would go for low waste pattern and take measures to minimize waste in cutting. As Jay said at the beginning of this thread, commercial patterns for home sewing are so wasteful. The yardage suggested is way more than you actually need. Maybe they do that to simplify cutting diagrams for multiple sizes or they don't want to be liable if customers run short. A spin-off thread to share the tips on reducing fabric waste would be helpful.
 
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Thank you, Mary, for the mompei pants pattern. I've been wanting to make myself pajamas, but have been hesitating because I didn't know what to do for a pattern. This simplifies things a lot!

You also reminded me to post pictures of the pirate shirt I made for my husband. I used the Bernadette Banner pattern that Jay posted, and it's all handsewn. It took a while, but I'm really proud of making my first shirt!

Arg!
Pirate-bland.png
The face be blurred to protect the identity of me pirate husband!
The face be blurred to protect the identity of me pirate husband!
 
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May Lotito wrote:

There are fewer true ZW patterns and maybe hard to alter. Practically, I would go for low waste pattern and take measures to minimize waste in cutting.

This is why I started by looking for patterns based on rectangles - at least if there was left-over fabric, it wasn't a skinny weird shape that ended up in the trash!
The reason I haven't made any pants yet (other than I'm too busy outside in the summer) is that I'm still mulling over the problem of how to make the pants both efficient and comfortable. There's a reason why most pants patterns are larger in the back than in the front! I *really* don't want to end up with a ton of extra fabric in the center front, and I know that some sort of gusset is needed to compensate for the lack of the "integral gusset" of modern fitted pants. (I don't know what to call the shaped bit under the crotch?)

May's summary of the critics: "Some critics include: excess ease to get around fitting, using more fabric, unflattering, undo the knowledge of pattern drafting etc." is exactly what I want to avoid while still using fabric efficiently. So I totally agree with May's comment, " go for low waste pattern and take measures to minimize waste in cutting". However, if I got to the point of being able to weave fabric for clothing, I want to have already experimented with minimal waste patterns that both fit and look decent on me, so I know how wide to weave the fabric. The shirt in this thread might have been a little easier to fit with fabric an inch wider,  but I used what I was given.

Also, although the Society for Creative Anachronism is a reservoir of almost lost skills and abilities, they are usually *trying* to recreate for accuracy of the period. I want to use that reservoir, but feel like I can wear what I make to a friend's or the shops. I don't feel that way about the shirt I sewed - it's a little tooooo... retro 80's colouring, but if I were to sew another shirt like it with fabric that suited me, I feel the style would be acceptable to me. I've never been the trendy sort anyway!

Awesome shirt, Nicole - but on the practicality side, is he going to wear it to work? It's totally awesome for Hallowe'en, but this thread's about learning, experimenting, and from that, coming up with real clothes eventually! You've done part 1 and 2  - can you see yourself sewing him an efficient, low waste work shirt from what you learned?
 
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