Monday, June 29, 2015

Better by Hand

Sometimes, hand sewing is better. Both my husband and I wear coifs with our SCA garb.  now, I can buy coifs -- there are several sources for nicely made ones -- but that can get pricey, especially for something that is basically a simple item. A number of years ago I picked up a pattern for a three piece coif -- two side panels and a middle gusset.  It's a pretty simple pattern. 

The one drawback of this pattern is that it requires a very long seam attaching a straight piece to a curved piece.  Curved sewing on the sewing machine is ... well, lets just say it is not my strong suit.  For this reason, the whole wardrobe of coifs I envisioned did not come about.  

Fast forward to late last year.  I was packing up to attend an event, and realized that I was without a portable piece of hand work.  As I stood in my work room contemplating this problem, I spied a piece of white linen just about the right size to cut into pieces for a coif (it takes 6 -- four sides and two gussets -- to make the lined coif we both prefer).  I quickly cut out the pieces and made sure that needles and linen thread were in my basket and we headed out. 

During that event, I pinned the pieces together (two sides to each gusset -- and even managed to get them all pointing in the correct direction) and started sewing.  After completing the first seam with a simple running stitch, I decided that I wanted finished seams.  With no iron at the event, I carefully finger pressed the seam I had just completed open.  I was particularly pleased at how well it opened, with almost none of the puckering such a curved seam generally has on the machine.  Since the coif was to be lined, I did not fold under the seam edges, but simply tacked them down with a running stitch.  Since the thread matches the fabric, that stitch barely shows on the right side.

Over the next few weeks whenever I wanted something to do with my hands I picked up this coif, gradually stitching and finishing all four side piece to gusset seams.  I think pinned the two pieces right sides together and sewed them all around -- remembering to leave an opening to turn.  Once I turned the coif right side out I carefully stitched closed that opening, then topstitched all around the edge. 
Top stitching resulting from seam finishing

My husband is pretty happy with this coif.  I never did put tie cords on it, and there are some changes I'll make on the next one, but this certainly proved to me that sometimes hand sewing is the better choice. 

Side view

Back view