After winning the war over my huge starching and ironing pile (the only negative to reenactment and historical costuming) I was left with a huge mending pile. My husband loves his period shirts and has worn many of them to death. He says that the wear and tear make them more period correct, but no self respecting housewife would let her husband out in those shirts (in my opinion). Nic has 5 shirts and every one of them required repairs. These repairs included button replacements, holes, tears, slits, worn cuffs.
I find that there are many different ways that I mend shirts. I am not sure how historically accurate they are.
Cuffs - Nic wears out cuffs a lot due to wear and washing (black powder colours the fabric and requires bleaching and scrubbing at times). On the first repair I slit the seam and turn it under. On the second repair I completely replace the cuff. By turning it under it extends the life with a lot less waste and work.
Under Arm - this shirt was made for Nic by his dressmaker before we began dating. The gussets did not line up and had no reinforcing. As a result of age and use it ended up with a huge hole in the undersleeve. It was too big for me to darn, so I whipped the edges to the sleeve under-flaps to prevent further tearing and fraying.
I also used this technique on a hole on one of the shoulders where the gap was too big for me to darn (I know that some people can probably do this, but I honestly find darning hard and tedious).
While I do cheat on some holes, I will darn when it comes to slits that are easier to close. This is a nice little "L" shape tear on one shoulder that is about 1" (2.5cms long).
I have yet to touch on my own mending pile yet and I still have one shirt that I am continuing to darn against my own wishes. Maybe I should let you decide if its worth it. So far Nic has outvoted me and wants it repaired for use as a Napoleonic Private. I have currently only finished just over an inch of the darning. Its a big job.
The Challenge: #1 Make Do and Mend
Pattern: - Year: Various - Napoleonic, 1830s, 1850s and 1860s
Notions: Cotton and Linen Thread, various buttons (bone, pewter and porcelain)
How historically accurate is it? Not sure
Hours to complete: Continuing, a little every evening
First worn: -
Total cost: thread and buttons from stash