Men’s shirt X: reinforcement

I’m closing in on the end of my men’s shirt project, based on the work of Bernadette Banner’s video, “how to sew a pirate shirt” and her guide to historical stitching methods. (Diagrams of the shirt’s construction are here).

In prior episodes, I cut the pieces, sewed front shirt body to back, made the sleeves, felled the hems, made gores, and sewed the sleeves to the shirt body. That was episodes I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, and IX. It’s possible that I skipped over an episode IXa, which consisted of felling all the internal seams; that part wasn’t very interesting. I had two gores under each sleeve, which made for two seams each; and four seams around each sleeve-attachment point where the sleeve met the shirt body. I measured one of those seams at 20″; there’s about 8-12 felling stitches per seam. That’s 2 (left side + right side) * 6 (seams per side) * 20 (inches) * 12 (felling stitches per inch) = 2,880 stitches. OK, not every seam was 20 inches long. It was still 2000+ of the same stitch in long straight lines. And not very interesting. At least it’s done now.

The next stage of my shirt’s development wasn’t very interesting, either, but I did document it. I attached two of these reinforcing squares (one inside, one outside) to every place there’s a split seam: where the shirt divides to form a gap before the cuff; where the shirt splits at the thigh to form a movement gap; at the bottom of the neck-cut. Each square is 1 1/2″ square, folded to form a square that’s approximately 1″ square, and then sewn in place. These seams are not going to come apart accidentally.

I have two buttonholes to cut and make on the cuffs, and then two buttons to install (or one each). And then the last step is going to be to decide if it needs a button at the throat. Traditionally such shirt do have such a button — but my shirt seems to gap weirdly if I do that. So I’m thinking about it, but I may leave it out.

“buttonhole twist”, a silk thread used to hand-make buttonholes, doesn’t seem to be in-stock right now, so I’ve ordered some perle cotton, a braided cotton used in embroidery; and I’ll use that instead.

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