Childs 16th c. Honeycomb Smocked Pleated Hemd

Honeycomb smocked hemd
Front view of honeycomb smocked hemd.

I created this hemdwith the remaining fabric from the adults honeycomb smocked pleated hemd. This design is based on woodcuts from 16th c. Landsknechts ( “Landsknecht Woodcuts: Kriegsvolker im Zeitalter der Landsknechte” and woodcut / drawing examples on my Pinterest board below). Visit my article “Was it Honeycomb Smocking on 16th c. German Clothing, or something else…” for a discussion on the appropriateness of honeycomb smocking.

 I started with some washed lightweight 4 oz. Linen and used the rectangle cut patters similar to those in tutorials, like Kataflak’s and Casa de Kissa. However, mine is a slight variation since I had continuous yardage of fabric.

Once cut I the fabric I stitched the seams in the back and roll hemmed the raw edge of the neck and sleeves using the sewing machine. I left the rest raw while completing the smocked pleating on the mid sleeve and neck and sleeve collars. I used a pleating method and honeycomb smocking technique as described in my honeycomb smocking demo and apron posts. The honeycomb smocking and pleats stopped short 1/2 inch from the edge to allow the cuff seam and collar opening. I did the neck in a 1 cm honeycomb pattern and the sleeves in a 2 cm pattern. I had a lot less fabric in the sleeves than the other shirt, so I had to improvise by using a wide pattern. I added a honeycomb pleated section to the sleeve similar to those seen in The Seamstress, Date: ca. 1535 ( “Landsknecht Woodcuts: Kriegsvolker im Zeitalter der Landsknechte”) Came out well!

Lines for the running stitch
Running stitch pleat guides using water erasable ink.

The seams and gusset seams were sewn with the machine, leaving the points of the gussets, cuff slits, and collar neck slits raw. I measured out linen bias tape the width of the final neck and wrists. I did not attach tape to the middle of the arm section. I attached the bias tape backing by hand with a stitch grabbing each pleat in a relaxed and evenly spread out pattern. I visually corrected as I stitched to keep a nice uniform look all the way around.

Hemd before linen tape backing
Once the smocking stitches were completed I shape it using a mannequin and add the linen tape backing.
Close up of linen tape
Adding the linen tape backing to the inside of the pleats and the hooks and eyes onto cuff and neck.
Close up of finished cuff
Close up of the finished cuff honeycomb smocking.
Side view of completed hemd
Side view of completed hemd.

I hand stitched the edge of the cuff and collar /neck seams double folding the raw 3/4 inch edge, finishing the edges under of the linen bias tape. Using a pin prick running stitch I flat felled the seams and the gussets (enforcing the points). Then I added hooks and eyes for closures. For an extra touch I added a finger braided cord using white cotton embroidered thread sewn through the collar and doubled up.

Front vie of the completed hemd
Front vie of the completed hemd.
Close up of smocking on neck
Close up of the neck smocking and finger braided cord closure.
Side view of hemd in natural light
Side view of the hemd in natural light.

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