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Making a Holgate Miller’s Smock

Would you like to make a smock like the one Holgate millers wear? Here it is. The design is basically an 18th century man’s shirt (think Poldark). A 5/8” seam allowance is included in these dimensions. It’s assumed you have experience of sewing. Everything is cut from rectangles. Fabric pieces Cut from white cotton or cotton/polyester such as a sheet:
  • One rectangle for front, 26” wide by 30” long (or your preferred length plus 2” for hem).
  • One rectangle for back, same size.
  • Two rectangles for sleeves, 23” wide and as long as the distance from your shoulder to knuckles.
  • Two x collar band 16 1/4” long by 2 1/4” wide.
  • Two x underarm gusset 5” square.
  • Two x neck ties about 2” wide, length to suit you tied in a bow.
  • Set aside fabric for 1 1/4” wide strips to bind neck edge and sleeve openings. Total length needed about 40”.
  • (You may want to make a paper pattern first.) Cut a piece 18 1/2” long x 9” wide. Mark the centre of the length and the centre of the width. Plot a 5” diameter circle centred on this point then move the circle 1/2” toward either long edge. Draw in the circle. Cut out the hole for a neck opening. Cut two yokes in fabric (yoke and facing).
  • Make a paper pattern first: cut a rectangle 19” long x 4” wide. Fold it in half crosswise and pin together. Piece is now 9 1/2” long. Mark one edge at 7 3/4” from fold. To make a point on the collar, cut a diagonal line across unfolded end, from corner on one side to 7 3/4” mark on the other. Open out pattern piece and cut two in fabric (collar and facing).
Assembly Body Gather tops of back and front to match widths of yoke back and front. Figure 1 Attach yoke to front and back. Attach yoke facing to fronts and backs. Find the body front. This is the piece with the lower neck opening. Fold front in half, press the fold, and mark centre front line on the fold. Cut 9” long slash down centre front from neck edge. Staystitch 1/4” from edge round whole slash opening. Figure 2 Snip tiny notches inside staystitching at bottom of slash to make it easier to attach binding. Attach binding down one side, across the bottom and up the other side of the neck slash with seam 1/4” from edge. Trim the seam close, press. Fold the other binding edge in and topstitch it round the neck slash. Figure 3 Collar Sew collar pieces together around the short ends and the longest side. Turn, trim and press. Baste the open side closed along the seam allowance line. Figure 4 Make the neck ties: fold each strip lengthwise, right sides together. Stitch entire length and across one end, trim seam allowance close to stitching, turn to get a tube. Press. Pin collar band pieces right sides together. Tuck neck ties between the layers with raw ends inside collar band seam allowance, rest dangling. Stitch across collar band ends. Turn the collar band right side out. Fold in the seam allowances on one long edge. Press, checking that the band forms a tidy rectangle. The long ties should now be sticking out of its ends. Figure 5 Push the basted edge of the collar into the folded-in side of the collar band, leaving an equal gap at both ends (the collar is slightly shorter than the collar band). Top stitch to secure the collar inside the collar band. Figure 6 On the body, staystitch around the neck edge just within the seam allowance, then snip a 1/4” notch every inch or so from edge toward staystitching. Attach one side of the collar band to neck edge.  Figure 7 Press the seam allowance into the collar band and trim. Fold in the seam allowance on the other side of the collar band. Sew this side of the collar band to the neck edge either by hand or by top stitching through all the layers. Sleeves Lay the sleeves flat, side by side, right side up. Figure 8 Along the bottom of the sleeve on the left mark the place 5” from the left edge. Along the bottom of the sleeve on the right mark the place 5” from the right edge. You now have a right and a left sleeve. At each 5” mark cut a slash 4” long, straight up from the bottom edge. Stitch binding round each slash as you did on the smock front. These openings will be at the back of your wrists so keep track of which sleeve is right and left from now on. Figure 9 At the top of each sleeve mark the centre with a safety pin, a bit below the seam allowance. Sew two rows of gathering stitches along the top of each sleeve. Pull gathering to make each sleeve 18” wide at the top. Secure ends of stitches so width is fixed. Figure 10 Sew the side seams on the sleeves to make them into tubes, but leave the last five inches, minus seam allowance, open at the top for the gusset. Figure 11 Fold each gusset in half diagonally. Sew adjacent sides of a gusset to the open top of a sleeve seam. When done you should have a triangle sticking out of the side of the sleeve top. Do the same on the other sleeve. Figure 12 Gather lower edge of each sleeve with two rows of basting stitches, starting and ending at the slash opening. Leave threads long for adjustment later. Figure 13 Cuffs For each cuff: Fold cuff in half lengthwise, right sides together, press fold. Fold back one long edge on seam allowance and press. Stitch across ends. Trim and turn, press. Cuff now has one raw edge and one folded-in edge. Figure 14 Pull in gathers on lower edge of sleeve until it fits cuff. Pin raw edge of cuff to ...
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Santa at the Mill

Our very popular Santa at the Mill event is returning this year. Come and visit Santa, indulge in mince pies and hot mulled apple juice and see our mill beautifully decked out for the festive season. £5 per child including a present from Santa, adults free but donations welcome for mince pies and juice. There is no need to book but you may have to wait at busy times. We are open on Saturday 1st, Sunday 2nd and Saturday 8th December from 2pm to 4pm and Sunday 9th December from 10am - 12pm and 2pm - 4pm ...
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September Open Days

Come to Holgate and visit the oldest five-sailed windmill. Built it 1770 it worked continuously to 1933 when it fell into disrepair. It is now fully restored and producing delicious stone-ground flour once again. You can explore all four floors of the mill on Saturday 1st, Sunday 2nd, Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th September. Adults £3, children £1. Under 5s and HWPS members have free entry. We are open from 11am – 4pm. Don’t forget the mill shop is open every Saturday morning from 10am – 12pm for flour, exclusive wooden bread boards, spatulas and coasters, plus aprons, tea towels and of course our own stone-ground flour. NEW JUST IN - exclusive Holgate Windmill Christmas cards only £3 per pack ...
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August Open Days

Enjoy a sunny day in our historic windmill. This weekend we are fully open so you can explore all four floors of the mill. Join us on Saturday 4th or Sunday 5th August. Adults £3, children £1. Under 5s and HWPS members have free entry. We are open from 11am - 4pm. The mill is also open on Saturday 19th, Sunday 20th and Bank Holiday Monday 27th August. Come and see our fascinating new exhibition on the unique multi-sailed mills across the country. Don't forget the mill shop is open every Saturday morning from 10am - 12pm for flour, exclusive wooden bread boards, spatulas and coasters, plus aprons, tea towels and of course our own stone-ground flour ...
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Join us at the mill on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th July as we take part in York's first horticultural festival. Bloom! celebrates the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Ancient Society of York Florists, the world's oldest horticultural society. There are events for all ages taking part across the city. Visit their website at At the mill you can join in with craft activities, search for and identify the wild flowers, grasses and minibeasts surrounding the mill, and learning about bees from Steve Gray, a local beekeeper and the mill's honey supplier. Usual admission fees apply ...
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