November 24, 2020 1 Comment
The smock is a traditional garment that has long been a favorite for its easy comfort and romantic billowy styling. In this blog you will learn how to make size adjustments to two of Folkwear's favorite smock patterns, the 102 French Cheesemaker's Smock and the 148 Black Forest Smock.
The Folkwear 102 French Cheesemaker’s Smock pattern was taken from an original smock worn by cheesemakers in Roquefort, France. The Folkwear 148 Black Forest Smock, or Kittel, as it is also called, was an over-garment worn by workers in Germany, Switzerland, and France. Smock wearing goes as far back as the medieval period, worn by laborers and craftsmen who needed easy to wear clothing that allowed for a full range of movement for all kinds of work. For this reason the smock became an enduring wardrobe stable for centuries. Because of its practically and comfort, the smock became an iconic look for cheese maker’s, agricultural workers, artists, gardeners, pirates, school children and others. Medieval and Renaissance reenactors also love these smocks designs. And, they make beautiful and simple everyday dresses, tunics, or shirts.
Traditional smocks are made of simple-to-construct rectangles, which means they can easily be made to fit anyone. They are easy to size up or down and anyone with a needle and thread can make a one.
These are two of Folkwear's oldest patterns, and the sizing is not typical of most sewing patterns. There are basic sizes for large and small and/or men and women. There is a lot of flexibility in the pattern design, because there is a LOT of ease built which can accommodate many different sized bodies (~10-12 inches of ease at chest and hip). However, if your fall out of the range of these sizes, or want to add more ease to the garment, it is fairly easy to make these patterns larger, and that is what we are going to show today. The finished measurements for both smocks are below. You can use them as a starting point to decide if you need to add more width or length to your garment.
You can see that there is a lot of ease in the patterns and while your measurements may be larger than the sizing, the pattern may still fit you well, with 6 inches of ease.
Keep in mind that the "Men's" size is just the largest size, and the "Women's" sizes are just the smaller sizes. They can be used by any gender, of course (and at some point, we will probably change the size "names").
Also, keep in mind that both of these patterns utilize an under-arm gusset to attach the sleeve to the body of the garment. This was originally a way to save fabric - it provides room in the arm/chest for working, while allowing the sleeves and body pieces to be cut as rectangles. When you are using your own hand-woven fabric, as they were when these patterns were originally used, you did not waste fabric by cutting curves for sleeves and armholes. Geometric shaping also helped with finishing edges and preventing fraying. These gussets actually add a little bit more room in the chest - an inch or two. And, the gusset for the French Cheesemaker's Smock can be eliminated for very small people who do not need or want extra room.
Because the 102 French Cheesemaker's Smock and the 148 Black Forest Smock are constructed in much the same way, making size adjustments for each design is the same. The French Cheesemaker's Smock can be made longer to make a tunic, dress, or night gown. The Black Forest Smock already comes in a shirt and dress length.
In this blog you will learn to make the same easy sizing adjustments that have been passed down through history, using the French Cheesemaker's Smock as an example.
Comfort, practicality, and romantic styling make smocks a great choice for any wardrobe and can be made of any number of fabrics. Cotton flannel, light and medium weight linens, cottons batiste, lawn, flannel, faille, fine wale corduroy, silks habotai, silk de chine, knits, and any fabric that allows for a nice drape and is not too stiff. Also, be sure to to see Making the Black Forest Smock with Knits featured on our blog.
Adjust the 102 French Cheesemaker's Smock
This blog will concentrate on adding width and the length to the men's 102 French Cheesemaker's Smock made from muslin. The neck opening and placket are already generous and will remain unchanged for this blog. Sizing adjustments are made to the pattern pieces Front A, Back B, Sleeve C, Shoulder Yoke & Facing F, and Wristband H.
Note: The measurements added for the purpose of this demonstration are not significant, but simply used to illustrate how to make the adjustments. When making adjustments of any consequence, be sure to make a test muslin.
The largest size of the pattern finishes at 58 inches (147cm) at the chest. For the purpose of this demonstration, 1 inch (25mm) has been added to the chest width to give a bit more ease to fit a 48-50 inch (127cm) chest. The final measurement will be 59 inches (150cm) in circumference, and gives the smock a good drape and plenty of ease.
An additional 2 inches (51mm) has been added to the length of the smock for a final measurement of 29.5 inches (749cm). The smocks may need to be lengthened or shortened to adjust for personal preference or for height of the wearer.
I also widened the sleeve by 1 inch (25mm) to accommodate a 14 inch (36cm) bicep. Again, there is lot of ease in the sleeve, but if you want more or need a larger size, this is an easy way to do it. The sleeve has also been lengthened 2 inches (51mm) to fit a 24 inch (61cm) arm length. The final shoulder/sleeve/arm measurement is 31.5 from the neck edge to the wristband edge.
Add width and/or length to pattern piece Front A, Back B, and Sleeve C.
Determine the width you desire, adding half the width measurement to either side of pattern pieces Front A. In this case, I added 1/2 inch (13mm) to each side of Front A for a total of 1 inch (25mm) of added width.
An additional 2 inches (51mm) has been added to the length of Front A.
Because pattern pieces B is cut on the fold, add half the width requirement to the non-fold edge of the pattern. In this case 1/2 inch (13mm) I added to the non-fold edge of Back B for a total of 1 inch (2.5cm) of added width when cut on the fold.
I also added 2 inches (51mm) has been added to the length of Back B, as well.
Be sure any width or length adjustments made on pieces Front A and Back B are the same.
I added the same 1/2" (13mm) measurement adjustment to the outer, or sleeve edge, of the Shoulder Yoke & Facing F.
Both Shoulder Yoke & Facing F and Front A with width adjustment and aligned matching notches.
Both Shoulder Yoke & Facing F and Front B with width adjustment and aligned matching notches.
Pattern piece Sleeve C is also cut on the fold, so I added half the width requirement to the non-fold edge of the pattern. In this case 1/2 inch (13mm) is added to the non-fold edge of Sleeve C for a total of 1 inch (2.5cm) of added width when cut on the fold.
Adjust the sleeve length to the measurement you require. In this case, I added 2 inches (51mm) to the bottom of the sleeve. .
Once the pattern sizing adjustments are made, I used the adjusted pattern pieces to cut out my new pattern. Use the sewing instructions to construct the smock.
Front view with Gusset added under the sleeve for extra room.
A Back View. Notice the soft gathering at the back neck.
A Quick and Easy Adjustment for the 148 Black Forest Smock
The adjustments for 148 Black Forest Smock are the same as the 102 French Cheesemaker's Smock, with the exception of Side Panel C. This panel should not receive any added extra width to it's sides. If you adjust the length of the smock, then the length of Side Panel C should be adjusted to the same length. When getting started, have a look at the pattern instructions to see how this portion of the smock is constructed.
The idea is to add additional width to the Front, Back, and Shoulder Yokes. To do this, add half the width needed to the non-fold side of Front A and Back B. In this case I/2 inch (13mm) is added to the non-fold edge of Front A and Back B for a total of 1 inch (2.5cm) of added width when cut on the fold. Widening the Front and Back will allow for more fullness to both the shirt-length or the dress-length versions of the smock.
Add the same adjustment to the outside of the Shoulder Yoke pieces as you did to the front/back pieces (here I added 1/2"/13mm).
And, that's all there is to it.
Note: If you add width measurement adjustments to the sleeves, then, the gusset notches on the front and back (where you attach the gusset) may move slightly. That is normal and fine. You should be able to easily see where the side panel, gusset, and sleeve connect.
Once the measurement adjustments are made, construct the smock according to the pattern instructions.
You can use these typical adjustments to size up many of Folkwear's oldest patterns, the traditionally constructed garments with rectangular pattern pieces.
Both the 102 French Cheesemaker's Smock and the 148 Black Forest Smock are perfect for adding layering warmth to any winter wardrobe. When the weather turns warm, shorten the sleeves and enjoy the comfort of a smock made of a billowy cool fabric. Either way, add a touch of romantic comfort to your wardrobe and enjoy wearing an easy to make Folkwear smock.
There is so much to love about both of these easy to make smock patterns and the 148 Black Forest Smock pattern is on sale this month... so there is no excuse not to try making a great smock for yourself or as a holiday gift for someone special! As always, we love seeing what your have been inspired to make using Folkwear Patterns!
January 17, 2023