A Ladies’ Neckerchief


Image 5


This linen kerchief is based on one in the Platt Galleries on the Manchester City Galleries. Luckily for us the pattern is reproduced in Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 4 (page 102 to be exact) with a description of the construction of the neckerchief. In the book it is dated 1640-1650, so bang in period for the 1642 Tailor. The idea to make this came as a germ when discussing fine linen fabric and having secured a lovely piece of almost see-through cloth we decided that we ought to have a go at making something really nice.


Image 1The original kerchief is made in an approximate circle and edged around with buttonhole stitches that pick out a scalloped edge. It looked pretty simple, though probably a lot of work to finish as the seam edge was thick with sewing. The linen we were given was top quality, but as it turned out it was far too fine to take the kind of buttonhole stitches needed without disintegrating, so we decided to use a different linen for the edging, rather like added lace. We should have looked more closely at Janet Arnold’s pattern, because as it turns out, the maker of the original had used the same technique! The close up shows the pattern of the scalloping we used and the flat fell seam joining the edge.





So, just to crunch through the sewing of the edge. It took best part of twelve hours to finish the 110 inches needed in two Image 2sections. This is also detailed in the pattern of the original, which has two breaks in the edge. This makes it easier to fold the kerchief double for wearing without creasing the edge.







ImageOnce the edge was finished, it was sewn to the main body of the linen using a run and fell seam. As Janet Arnold says, a few tiny tucks are necessary around the piece to help the straight strip fit the curve.











The kerchief is then folded double and placed around the neck, pinned in place and you are ready to go, like Hester Tradescant in this image from the time.

Screen Shot 2014-06-08 at 13.43.01 Image 4


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