Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Bog Blouse, Complete

New bog blouse--Front
Offered for your examination; my (rather) late Bog Blouse for HSF Challenge #5.  Once I finally nerved myself to start it, the Bog Blouse didn't take that long to complete (though it took longer than I'd hoped; see below).  During a less busy month, I might actually have managed to complete it close to on time.  So why did I hesitate?  Because I was afraid I would not be able to remember where to place the necessary cuts and would ruin my fabric to no avail.

In an attempt to avoid this fate, I dug out the original bog blouse I had made years ago from polyester imitation linen. Surprisingly, it still fits me quite well. Because the original blouse was long enough to tuck into my bog skirt as I wished, I decided to use it as my pattern in placing the cuts for this version. Photographs of my old, poly "bog blouse" (which was also hand-sewn) and the finished product for this Challenge appear below.

My fears, it turns out, were not groundless.  As I tried on the blouse-in-progress, I could tell that it was more snug through the body than the original. Worse still, the arms appeared to be too tight around the bicep and through the armpit, as I had feared, knowing that my biceps are now larger than they once were.  Yet I couldn't risk not making fully enclosed seams, in light of the fact that the raw edges of the fabric were already very frayed, particularly along portions of the main horizontal seam across the back and under the sleeves.  (I improvised by cutting small strips from the leftover linen pieces and stitching them over the areas where the seam allowance was closest to non-existent.)
New bog blouse--Back

Careful trying on of the blouse while I was finishing the seams has convinced me that the new blouse fits adequately, though it's more snug than the poly-linen version I made years ago. I'm a bit puzzled about the difference in fit, but the fact that the 100% linen I'm using frays so badly (forcing me to use more fabric width in sewing the seams) may have had something to do with it.  Or maybe it's just the fact that I can't measure by "eye" very well--and that's what I tried to do in making the cuts for the sleeves.

The Challenge:  #5  Bodice.

Fabric:   One yard of tabby-woven 100% linen in "natural", a grayish brown, from

Pattern:   Deduced (by others) from actual Scandinavian finds.  I used my last version of this kind of garment to place the cuts for this one.

Year1350 B.C.E., more or less.

Notions:  Londonderry 100% linen thread, in white, 80/3 thickness.  As always when I sew with linen thread, I run the thread over a cake of beeswax a few times each time I rethread my needle, before beginning to sew.  A bit of plied cord (in red or blue wool, perhaps, though I haven't found a supplier for such stuff since Wooded Hamlet stopped selling it) stitched around the neckline would have looked marvelous, but no such ornamentation appears in the archaeological finds, so (with regret) I did not attempt to add any.

My original, poly-cotton bog blouse
How historically accurate is it?  The basic pattern is from the Borum Eshøj find (other bog blouses are a bit different in cut if not in principle).  As far as I am aware, all of the bog blouses that have been found have been made from wool, not linen, but there is increasing evidence that more linen was worn in Scandinavia, and worn earlier, than was previously supposed.  Also, I do not know what types of stitches were used to make the Borum Eshøj blouse or other blouses of this type, so I finished my seams in much the same manner I used for my Byzantine himation. The originals might not have been finished in that manner because they are wool which has less tendency to ravel, but linen blouses of the same type (if any existed) might well have used a flat-felled or other seam treatment that encloses all raw edges.  So maybe 60-70%.

Hours to complete:   Roughly 4 hours, done in bits and pieces whenever I had a few minutes to spare over most of the last two weeks.

First worn:  Not yet.   I've only tried it on to check the fit.  I will try it on with the wool skirt originally made for the poly-cotton version of the blouse, and post some pictures of the outfit soon.

Total cost$0.  The fabric I got for accumulated store credit only, and the thread was originally purchased long ago for other projects.

1 comment:

  1. Great to see it finished. It looks very good, and I look forward to seeing it on.

    I'm always amazed at the difference in fit I get just by using different fabrics.