1. Zombocalypse

    Zombocalypse Member

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    How long to weave a set of clothes?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Zombocalypse, Oct 22, 2016.

    I'm writing a fantasy novel set in a medieval European setting.

    I need to know how long it takes for the average weaver to weave a set of clothes (tunic and trousers).

    Any information is much appreciated.
     
  2. Necronox

    Necronox Contributor Contributor

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    Here you go. found this oout:

    https://jacobsenrugs.com/blog/how-long-does-it-take-to-weave-a-rug

    mind you that's oriental rugs. I once weaved a 3'x3' sheet in about an hour. But that was rough and I didn't really know what I was doing. if it's just one colour, no patterns, and roughly done on a loom i'd say it'd be pretty fast to do some trousers (in the hours), especially if it is someone that is experienced.
     
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  3. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    Am I wrong, or would a weaver only create the fabric? I think it would be a separate job to do the sewing, hemming, etc.
     
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  4. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, that was my thought as well. Nobody weaves a garment. They weave the cloth to make a garment. So there are two different things you need to research. First, how much cloth will you need for a shirt and pants and how long would it take to weave it. And second, how long would it take to cut and sew the cloth into wearable garments?

    This is an interesting site that should point you in some directions that might help.

    http://rosaliegilbert.com/sewingtools.html
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2016
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  5. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    I sew renaissance garb on occasion. Usually takes me about 3 to 4 yards of fabric to make a long sleeved tunic. With a sewing machine, trying to get everything nice and proper, it still takes me hours. Imagine trying to do that with a copper or bone needle, and you're looking at an all day endeavor--even then it might rip and tear at the seams.

    Medieval is such a wide term for most people, though (regardless of historical accuracy). What kind of tools are your tailors using? Details are the absolute time vampire of clothes. If they're trying to put in accents and flourishes, and make them look good (like if they're tailoring for a prince and they'll get murder-hobo'd if they do it wrong) I'd expect months on a garment.
     
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  6. Necronox

    Necronox Contributor Contributor

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    Most people at least use some king of loom, even if it is a extremely basic one (comb and net), but still, as Infel said. Details are needed here to give a better estimation of time needed.

    I'm just wondering now that I come to think about it. what is the past tense of weaving? Weaved or wove, woved? mhmm.
     
  7. Lyrical

    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    There is a fascinating book I love called "How to be a Tudor: A Dawn to Dusk Guide to Tudor Life" by Ruth Goodman. She is an expert in English history and has, for the last several years, focused her research on something that is very hard to come by: the every day life of the average person in the Tudor period. I know that isn't the period you're looking for, but it's not too far off and I imagine most of the technology and sewing methods would be the same. She goes very, very in depth into what was appropriate clothing for the day what each class could be expected to wear based on cost and ease of aquiring and/or making said garment. She also goes into how the houses of the day were, how they were arranged (no hallways!) and what the beds were like. Everything you could possibly wonder about what the average non-royal person experienced back then from the first cry of the cockrel to the evening prayers. It's really good stuff. It's informed my fantasy writing and deepend my understanding of the way things worked back then.

    On clothing cost and making, she says this:

    "As with shirts, all clothing was fearfully expensive by modern standards. The costs involved in making a gament, particularly in processing raw materials, were enormous. [...] A tudor sheep, while not miniature, was considerably smaller than those that graze in modern fields. [...] The resultant fleeces were both smaller and lighter. "

    "Cloth production began with the combing or carding of wool to clean out any grass, twigs and other filth and to untangle any knots or matted locks. This was all done by hand, keeping many women and children busy. Next it was spun on simple drop spindles, or increasingly, as the era progressed, with a spinning wheel, work again carried out by mostly women or children. It took twelve skilled spinsters working at full pelt to supply enough yarn to keep one weaver in business. Few women totally escaped the job of spinning; indeed the work became synonymous with the unmarried woman (hence the change in meaning of the word). Like the baking of bread or the brewing of beer, spinning was a regular female task, whether for yarn used in the home or for the few pennies it earned.

    "Weaving itself was mostly men's work, requiring careful wrapping of the loom (threading each of the long threads that run the full length of the finished bolt of cloth through the various parts of the loom and carefully winding up the length onto the back beam) before cloth could be woven. Lengths of twenty-two yards were generally worked at a time [...] This single length of piece could take a man six weeks to produce. Once woven, the majority of cloth needed some form of "finishing." [She elaborates on this finishing process] Dyers got inolved either in dyeing the wool before it was spun, dyeing the yarn or dyeing the piece once woven. The wet webs were stretched out on tenterhooks to dry and regain their legal dimensions."

    She doesn't specifically say how long it takes to go from the single cloth to a full garment, but given that it can take 6 weeks to produce the cloth without the formation of the clothing, I imagine a long time indeed.

    I can't say enough about the book. I heard her interviewed and she's hilarious. It comes out in her voice a bit in the book, making it much more entertaining than your average history book. I found the portion about the beds and what the typical beds of the day were stuffed with particularly interesting. She experimented with almost everything she learned by doing it herself (including going 6 months without showering) so she can give pretty accurate commentary.
     
  8. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    This sounds really interesting! And there's an audio book version... hmmm...
     
  9. Lyrical

    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    It's fascinating at every turn! For example, we mistakenly believe that the people of the tudor era were stinky because they rarely bathed. But that simply isn't true, because the medical science of the day said that diseases were caused by bad air and bad smells. It was extremely important for them to smell nice to avoid plagues. They didn't bath every day, but they washed down with a cloth and they always changed their underclothes every single day. When Goodman did this, none of her collegues or friends could even tell that she wasn't showering. She didn't smell.

    Also, the order in which we eat our meals (soups/salads, meats, sweet dessert) has all to do with the tudor way of life. They believed the stomach was a cauldron with a fire beneath it, and it was important which foods you put in for proper "cooking." Otherwise you'd get indigestion. You have to "line the stomach" or else your meat and sweets will burn.

    And did you know garment colors were class-specific? A member of the gentry could wear colors that the working-class could not.

    I could go on and on. I'll make myself stop so as not to derail the thread. I'd definitely recommend the audio book! I got the print copy but I may get the audio as well for on-the-go reference at some point. Maybe. Is it Goodman herself narrating? I'd definitely listen to her read it :-D
     
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  10. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    As others have said, the sewing is separate from the weaving. Are you assuming that the fabric is woven specifically for him? If not, then the fabric could (I think) be purchased and then the clothing cut and sewn in a few days. (Or, with urgency and enough money for more than one person to be stitching, maybe just hours.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2016
  11. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Returning to add that a shirt and trousers nowadays would consume very very roughly four yards of 45 inch fabric. That could easily double for a larger person or a fuller style; I don't think that it would get much smaller, assuming full length sleeves and trouser legs.
     
  12. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    No, it's someone else narrating - reviews called her a bit "dry", but I listened to a sample and she sounded... fine. I generally prefer it when non-fiction authors read their own stuff, as long as their voices are remotely suited to the task, but... can't have everything!
     
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