This is yet another old tutorial that I'm making available to the public, because sharing is caring, right? These were created specifically with the Renaissance Faire in mind, so they're meant to mimic the look of proper historical garments, with some easy cheats thrown in. Because, in this case, cheating is fun! And also because I freaking hate losing my laces every time garments come back from the cleaners. Happy lacing!
In this tutorial, we will cover a historically accurate method of lacing a garment shut: spiral lacing! New lacing techniques always seem a bit daunting, but the spiral lace is very easy, once you get the concept down. The standard "shoelace" method is fine, but spiral lacing is perfectly period and reduces the gap in the closure that shoe lacing creates. You also need half the length you would normally need to lace your clothing, assuming your usual method is the "shoe lace" technique. Add this to a garment with hand-bound eyelets, and you’re well on your way to wearing historically accurate clothing!
Eyelet placement for spiral lacing is similar to normal placement, in that you want your eyelets spaced about 1” apart (keep in mind that spacing is really a personal preference sort of thing). However, on one side of your garment, you’ll want to place your second eyelet ½” from your first, then space the rest of the eyelets 1” away from each other. On the other side of your garment closure, you will want to have your last eyelet to be ½” away from the second to last. Check out the diagram to the left, for reference.
Your other option is to place your eyelets in the standard parallel pattern. The only thing to keep in mind is that if you go this route, your garment will sit slightly unevenly once you’re laced in. Of course, this look is absolutely period, too, so historically speaking, you’re good either way.
Lacing Your Garment
On to lacing your garment shut! Let’s start at the beginning. You have two options for beginning your spiral lacing adventure: If your lacing cord is thick enough, you can simply tie a knot and lace it through the first hole. Your other option is to sew your cord to the underside of your garment. This has the advantage of keeping your lace permanently attached to your clothing, and greatly reducing the risk of losing it, which you eventually will.
Assuming you set up your eyelets just like in the diagram, pull the cord first through Eyelet #1 and down into #2, then just keep following the numbers on the diagram. While lacing, remember that on the right side of the garment, the cord is always threaded out away from the body, and that on the left, the cord always goes in towards the body. Out one side, in the other. Out, in, out, in. This will help keep you from getting confused, which can easily happen when you’re getting ready in the morning.
Once you reach the bottom, you can tie off your cord a couple of different ways: You can simply tie it in a knot that is big enough to keep the cord from slipping through the eyelet, or you can sew a short section of cord to the inside of your garment, giving you a nice firm anchor point to tie a bow.
And that’s spiral lacing!