Pirate Shirt by Anne

Posted on March 18th, 2015 at 3:54 AM

Pirate Shirt

So the shirt for Tom is done, finally. Midweight white linen with lacing at the throat, and hand gathered flat lace on the cuffs. The sleeves on these shirts are always monstrously poufy, which is great if they are being made of habotai or batiste, but this linen is heavy enough that I would make a suit out of it (hey there's an idea...no, not yet, focus on the Pirate). The coat is from Reconstructing History but the rest of the costume is from the Simplicity pattern that is so obviously Pirates of the Carribean and it is historically accurate. You wouldn't necessarily think that being a mainstream costume pattern, and there are so many of that type that take shortcuts, but not this. The only difference between the Reconstructing History coat and the coat in the Simplicity pattern is that the RH one has the full coat skirts as one piece (on the jacket front you wind up cutting almost a full circle, and the back is a 3/4 circle), and the Simplicity uses pie wedges, (which because of the directional pattern I drafted anyway to preserve my ocd and sanity).

So the shirt.

In order to make the sleeves not so poufy, I cut them down so that the sleeve head was not gathered to the shoulder at all, thus making the gathering into the cuff less so and a much smoother line all the way around. Construction is mostly straight lines, with the neck being a gentle curve that gets gathered into the collar.

First I did a traditional gather, sew two lines with the top tension loose, gather, gather gather. I didn't like it.

Then I did hand gathering, again evenly distributed around the neck, still didn't like it.

Finally I did hand gathering only by the front placket and the center back, again by hand. That I liked.

I pinned the collar to the shirt matching shoulder seams and center back, pinned the front placket at center and the side to keep it flat, then gathered and pinned and settled things until I was happy, then tied off the thread and pinned the daylights out of it. The back was a bit more finagling as I had to judge how much I could gather in from the center and make sure it was even on both sides of center back.

After I got everything gathered neatly and pinned into submission, I basted, and then sewed it down. Of course while doing this I got a good look at the cuffs and lace, which I had already gathered by machine and attached and was getting ready to sew them closed, but the more I looked the more I didn't like. So they got the same treatment. I carefully un-gathered the lace, and re-gathered it by hand. It lay much nicer, and stitched it all together. Gathered the sleeves into the cuffs by hand, just like the collar.

Over all I am pleased with the effect, but the person whose opinion matters most after mine is Tom, and he hasn't seen the shirt yet.