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newbie with question - re: sewing threads

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  • Margaret Testa
    Hi all, I m very new to all this (haven t yet actually been to an event) but I m very interested in getting involved. I did go to a garb workshop last spring
    Message 1 of 6 , Apr 26, 2004
      Hi all,

      I'm very new to all this (haven't yet actually been to
      an event) but I'm very interested in getting involved.
      I did go to a garb workshop last spring and I started
      making a linen T-tunic though I haven't finished it
      yet.

      I was wondering, I'm a hand spinner and considering
      making thread to use in the finishing of my tunic, for
      the hems and visible places at least. Does anyone
      have any documentation handy on what period thread
      would have been like? Can I use silk thread (from
      hankies or my own coccoons, not reeled) for a Peasant
      outfit or would they have been unlikely to even be
      able to obtain "waste" silk? Or would wool thread be
      more accurate? I plan to learn to spin linen but
      haven't been able to produce anything finer than
      kitchen twine so far.

      Any info to point me in the right direction would be
      great!

      thanks,

      Martheme


      =====
      Margaret Testamartheme@... my blog @ http://martheme.blogspot.com/




      __________________________________
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    • Pandora Nic 'Ille Phadraig
      Greetings unto Marthene, Have you checked Cynthia du Pre Argent s page http://www.virtue.to/articles/extant.html on extant clothing? I don t remember for
      Message 2 of 6 , Apr 26, 2004
        Greetings unto Marthene,

        Have you checked Cynthia du Pre Argent's page
        http://www.virtue.to/articles/extant.html on extant clothing? I don't
        remember for certain, but there might be info on the fabric of the extant
        items, in which case you'd get a thread description! or if not there, you'd
        have info on extant clothing that you could then search for greater detail
        about.

        also Marc Carlson's page of some of the bog & grave finds:
        http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/cloth/bockhome.html

        and www.reconstructinghistory.com - I don't recall if Kass McGann says
        anything about linen, but she might. she has pretty detailed info about some
        extant wool items.

        and if all else fails, try joining/posting one of the spinning or textile
        lists - or h-costume.

        happy hunting!

        is mise le meas,
        Pandora Fitzpatrick
        Barony of Aquaterra

        -----Original Message-----
        From: Margaret Testa [mailto:martheme@...]
        Sent: Monday, April 26, 2004 6:31 AM
        To: Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [Authentic_SCA] newbie with question - re: sewing threads


        Hi all,

        I'm very new to all this (haven't yet actually been to
        an event) but I'm very interested in getting involved.
        I did go to a garb workshop last spring and I started
        making a linen T-tunic though I haven't finished it
        yet.

        I was wondering, I'm a hand spinner and considering
        making thread to use in the finishing of my tunic, for
        the hems and visible places at least. Does anyone
        have any documentation handy on what period thread
        would have been like? Can I use silk thread (from
        hankies or my own coccoons, not reeled) for a Peasant
        outfit or would they have been unlikely to even be
        able to obtain "waste" silk? Or would wool thread be
        more accurate? I plan to learn to spin linen but
        haven't been able to produce anything finer than
        kitchen twine so far.

        Any info to point me in the right direction would be
        great!

        thanks,

        Martheme


        =====
        Margaret Testamartheme@... my blog @
        http://martheme.blogspot.com/




        __________________________________
        Do you Yahoo!?
        Yahoo! Photos: High-quality 4x6 digital prints for 25"
        http://photos.yahoo.com/ph/print_splash




        ----------------------------------------------------
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      • ranvaig@columbus.rr.com
        ... I think using your own thread for your garb is a wonderful thing, even if it is perhaps not 100% the right kind of thread. Its still much more authentic
        Message 3 of 6 , Apr 26, 2004
          >I was wondering, I'm a hand spinner and considering
          >making thread to use in the finishing of my tunic, for
          >the hems and visible places at least. Does anyone
          >have any documentation handy on what period thread
          >would have been like? Can I use silk thread (from
          >hankies or my own coccoons, not reeled) for a Peasant
          >outfit or would they have been unlikely to even be
          >able to obtain "waste" silk? Or would wool thread be
          >more accurate? I plan to learn to spin linen but
          >haven't been able to produce anything finer than
          >kitchen twine so far.

          I think using your own thread for your garb is a wonderful thing,
          even if it is perhaps not 100% the right kind of thread. Its still
          much more authentic than polyester sewing thread.

          The type of thread for sewing would depend on the time and place.
          Linen is probably most likely for sewing linen, but there are
          examples of wool thread, especially for a decorative seam finish that
          is meant to show on the outside.

          Silk may have been used for embroidery, but it is almost certain to
          be reeled silk, not waste silk. They valued the sheen of reeled
          silk. Early period silk was imported all the way from China, and
          they wouldn't bother to import anything but the highest priced silk.
          In later period, silk was raised in the middle east, and (I think)
          Italy, but I still would only expect the reeled silk to be exported
          to other places.

          (For non-spinners, reeled silk is the smooth shiny stuff, spun silk
          is short lengths of fiber and looks more like cotton or wool... not
          very shiny, but soft and very strong.)

          I think the waste silk was only used for padding, but if you have
          spun silk yarn, call it "faux wool" and use it anyway. *S* Perhaps
          not for an A&S entry, but it should be fine for ordinary garb.

          I would definitely do a test sample and launder it as you intend to
          wash the garb, to be sure that your hard work wont be spoiled the
          first time you wash it.

          You might join http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SCA-Spinning/ for help
          with your spinning.

          Try splitting your spinning into two parts, first you draw out the
          fiber with minimal twist, then let the twist enter it. The hand
          closest to the fiber supply controls the amount of fiber entering the
          thread. Make sure you have your thread as thin as you want it before
          you let more twist enter. If you are using a wheel, try treadling
          slower until you can control the size.

          Wet spinning will really help with linen. Keep a small bowl of water
          at hand while you spin. Dampen the fingers of the hand nearest the
          wheel/spindle and smooth the thread as you spin it. Are you spinning
          line flax (fibers a foot or so long), or tow (fibers around four
          inches)? Line flax really needs a distaff.

          Good luck, I'd love to hear how this turns out.
          Ranvaig
        • Lady_Lark_Azure
          One thing to always think about in your thread choice. The fiber of the fabric should be stronger than the fiber of the thread--it s much easier to fix a
          Message 4 of 6 , Apr 27, 2004
            One thing to always think about in your thread choice. The fiber of
            the fabric should be stronger than the fiber of the thread--it's much
            easier to fix a garment if the thread gives out than the fabric.

            Isabeau
          • bronwynmgn@aol.com
            In a message dated 4/27/2004 4:31:05 AM Eastern Standard Time, Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com writes:
            Message 5 of 6 , Apr 27, 2004
              In a message dated 4/27/2004 4:31:05 AM Eastern Standard Time,
              Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com writes:

              <<Does anyone
              have any documentation handy on what period thread
              would have been like?>>

              How detailed are you looking for? I can probably get you thread diameters
              from the Museum of London Textiles and Clothing book if you need it. As far as
              what threads were used, woolen clothes were constructed with either wool
              pulled from the fabric or silk, usually, although there is also evidence for
              linen; visible finishing stitches were more often silk. Linen clothing seems to
              have been sewn primarily with linen, if I remember correctly, although again it
              might be finished with silk.

              << Can I use silk thread (from
              hankies or my own coccoons, not reeled) for a Peasant
              outfit or would they have been unlikely to even be
              able to obtain "waste" silk? Or would wool thread be
              more accurate? I plan to learn to spin linen but
              haven't been able to produce anything finer than
              kitchen twine so far.>>

              It is highly unlikely that a peasant would have been able to get sufficient
              quantity of waste silk to be able to sew a garment. I could see perhaps one of
              the manor sewing women being able to do this, but these probably wouldn't be
              peasant women, but lesser nobility or merchant's daughters. The most likely
              threads for peasant wear would be linen in most cases, or wool pulled from the
              fabric - or possibly spun wool if the peasant kept sheep.

              There are places where linen thread can be bought. My favorite brand is
              Londonderry Linen Threads - they come in a variety of colors, on large spools, and
              they take a long time to use up. They also come in a variety of thicknesses.
              You should be able to google on "Londonderry Linen Threads" and find a
              distributor, or check a high-end embroidery store. You won't find it in a general
              craft store or notions area of a fabric store. For silk, I use "Splendor"
              12-strand embroidery silks.

              Brangwayna
            • Elizabeth Walpole
              ... From: Margaret Testa To: Sent: Monday, April 26, 2004 11:30 PM Subject: [Authentic_SCA] newbie with
              Message 6 of 6 , Apr 28, 2004
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Margaret Testa" <martheme@...>
                To: <Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Monday, April 26, 2004 11:30 PM
                Subject: [Authentic_SCA] newbie with question - re: sewing threads


                > Hi all,
                >
                ><snip> I was wondering, I'm a hand spinner and considering
                > making thread to use in the finishing of my tunic, for
                > the hems and visible places at least. Does anyone
                > have any documentation handy on what period thread
                > would have been like? Can I use silk thread (from
                > hankies or my own coccoons, not reeled) for a Peasant
                > outfit or would they have been unlikely to even be
                > able to obtain "waste" silk? Or would wool thread be
                > more accurate? I plan to learn to spin linen but
                > haven't been able to produce anything finer than
                > kitchen twine so far.
                > Any info to point me in the right direction would be
                > great!
                > thanks,
                > Martheme

                I haven't really looked at this issue so I'm just passing on what I've
                heard. That said I've heard silk is not a good choice for sewing linen as
                silk is stronger than linen and therefore when you sew linen with silk
                thread the silk will eventually cut its way through the linen fibres
                (especially if the seam is under stress) The same thing happens with
                polyester thread, (either that or it melts when you use a hot iron on your
                linen) I have one linen cotton blend where the hem has been stepped on (It
                was too long in the back and when I stepped backwards I stepped on my hem)
                and instead of the thread breaking it cut through the fabric fortunately
                it's only small and it can be fairly easily fixed but if something is going
                to give you want it to be the thread not the fabric.
                And as Brangwayna pointed out according to archaeological records they
                tended to use the same fibre type for the fabric and the thread.
                HTH
                Elizabeth
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